“Go to the ground floor, there will be an enquiry desk there, ask them, they’ll direct you to the third floor. Go there to the superintendent, give him the documents. He’ll check and sign, then give to the counter he’ll ask you to” said Siddha, as I was getting down from his auto near the Yeshwantpur RTO. We had agreed to go get the No Objection Certificate(NOC) done for my Sister-in-law’s scooty for the relocation of my brother’s family to Chennai.
As instructed I walked up to the enquiry desk, manned by a very bored man in a wheelchair with a host of forms in front of him, and as predicted he guided me to the 3rd floor. It beat me why I didn’t just go the 3rd floor as I had been instructed what the enquiry guy would tell me! I went up there and at the first counter I could see, I asked them where I had to go for this. “Two-wheelera?” he asked and guided me to the other wing of the building in the same floor. There, a man sat behind a counter marked superintendent, separated by a glass wall with holes in it to talk. A bearded man looking more like a journalist than a Govt officer, and unlike Govt people even greeting people in the line with a smile!
“This should be easy”, I was very hopeful now. By the time I got to the head of the 4 member queue, the mood had changed. For starters, I wasn’t strictly in Govt office visit attire. Usually jeans, or old formal pants with an old half-sleeves shirt or collared t-shirts of boring colour works great! I, was in shorts (yes, shorts!), a v-neck t-shirt and a hoodie jacket, and a proper beard to boot!! One look at me and I knew I had displeased him. To top that, there was a guy standing next to him asking a million questions which were clearly not making him any happier.
By the time I got to the head of the queue, he was bristling. He looked at the documents clearly annoyed. “Go down and get a plastic cover for the RC card, police verification sheets which will be in Kannada and a cover folder for the whole thing.” I put on a proper obedient look and left. The lift was now in the ground floor and after an eternity turned up and was promptly crowded as I made my way to the GF. The man in the enquiry gave me another bored look and waved me towards a nearby shop. Paying 3 bucks I went back to the lift, which was now back in the 3rd Floor.
There was no queue this time. “Cover folder?” he barked. I went back to the lift without a word. It was back in the ground floor, making me wait again. The enquiry guy waved me again to the shop nearby. Another 3 bucks and I was back up, after waiting for the lift which was, well, at the 3rd Floor. This time, he looked at the documents, signed the first one and turned the page. It hadn’t been pinned and flew to the left. He sniggered. “Tag it and give it to counter 6” he signed off.
The tagging done, I went to counter 6. The woman there took the file to another place, where she did some logging in a register before finally handing out an acknowledgement. “One month” she said on being asked when I’ll get it back. I was also supposed to pop in to that RTO just for that. “It will need police verification. Only after that you’ll get it. More details ask that Madame there” she pointed to her left at random and left me to it.
The first madame on her left was sitting right after the bearded journo superintendent. On asking her, she said it might take a few months as police verification will take forever. “I’ll fill out the police verification request form and you can get us the verification. That will be faster” she offered. Now this was new. Dealing with police stations was definitely not my forte. My brother had also mentioned that all he cared about was the acknowledgement and the actual NOC could take as long as possible. “That’s ok, am willing to wait.” I responded. “Everyone does that. Nothing new. If we send it or keep it for too long, we might lose the file or documents there.” she countered. “That’s a risk am OK with.” I shrugged. Somehow the tone came out wrong and she got the feeling I was trying to avoid something. She turned to the bearded man for advice. “Go take all your documents and ask the owner to come with it.” he barked. Not willing to lose the whole thing over it, I decided to get it done. After all, all that it would take would be a visit to the nearest police station. But just to be sure “Which police station do I get it from?” I asked. “Commissioner’s office, Infantry Road” she was helpful this time. But Yeshwanthpur to Infantry Road and back to Hebbal was not something I had bargained for! While thinking, she gave me the application form, signed and sealed asking the police commissioner to issue a verification form. I had the acknowledgement still and they hadn’t chucked the folder at me, so this was a task that could be put off for another day. I was more than happy to head back and get on with the rest of the weekend.
It was close to 11:15 as I headed back down after summoning the lift from the ground floor and waited for Siddha to come pick me up in front of the RTO complex. The road was narrow, extremely busy, noisy and raising dust as high as possible. The jacket seemed handy as a passing cloud decided to lose some weight as it went by. Siddha came by, and I recounted what had happened as soon as I got in. “Why wait for another day? Let’s get the police document done.” he suggested. “But Infantry road?!” I really wasn’t keen on another trip through the city in the gloomiest weather possible. “Let’s finish it off.” he declared. I knew he was making sense and putting it off for another day was not a good option. Thus began the second govt office trip for the day.