Continuation from here. Needing an NOC I was now off to the commissioner’s office to get a police verification letter from them.
So we headed out from Yeshwantpur to Infantry road, seeking the commissioner’s office. As we made our way through Bellary Road, and then Palace Road, which looked all swanky unlike most other roads in Bangalore, thanks to no metro work and completion of previous infrastructure works, the clouds started giving away. So it was murky weather through which we reached Cunningham Road and stopped at the backside of the Commissioner’s office.
“They probably won’t let you in, but just ask” said Siddha. It was easier to park and wait for him there, so asking was worth a shot. As I headed towards the gate, I could see a lone man in a raincoat standing there and guarding an opening in the wall next to a closed gate. The gate clearly said in no uncertain terms that no one was allowed that way. I still signaled the policeman, only for him to wave his hand around his head anti-clockwise, telling me how to enter the premises from the front.
We made our way in, stopping at the next gate, again just to check, only to be waved on further. One man was however helpful enough to suggest – “There is the commissioner’s office there, see if they do it, else go on further down the road and there is the traffic police commissioner’s office.”
At the front gate, there was a reception office on the left, which I entered to see an excited policeman explain something to a woman on my left and also talk on the phone at the same time! He signalled me towards a register of sorts, where I figured I had to enter my details as to purpose of visit etc. I asked a woman cop next to him, looking all prim and proper in a khaki sari if they do police verification stuff for NOCs. After receiving a nod, I wrote my details in and was guided “Go straight to the end and take a left”. At the end there was another guy loitering around, who waved me towards a corner office.
I looked in through the window and saw someone crouched over with a couple of folks standing by him looking very interested in whatever he was doing. I figured I’d have to go in and give him the sealed letter from the RTO. I entered, only to be asked to talk to a man sitting near a desk, looking absolutely bored.
Now this man was a proper Govt employee. The teeth had seen a lot of paan and the hair, a lot of dye. The printed shirt was unbuttoned at the top, showing chest hair that had had it’s share of summers. “What do you want?” he almost sang. I handed him the form, holding the yellow plastic cover around my knees, trying not to scandalise him (was still in shorts!). “What vehicle is this?” he asked, not bothering to look up. “Scooty” I answered in one word. “What’s your name?” he asked, sounding like a school principal this time. “It’s not mine, it’s my sister-in-law’s…” I ventured. “Just tell me your name” he almost barked, the bark barely clinging on to the tip of the tongue refusing to drop out. He wrote down the extra details I had furnished and declared with finality “Come back at 1 and collect it.” It was still 10 minutes to 12 and I had no idea what to do till 1, but I figured I’ll anyway have to hang out till then.
I walked over to Siddha meeting him at Queen’s road in front of the Institute of Engineers. “Stay nearby and ask him in 15 minutes. It will be ready, they’ll all disappear at 1.” he advised. He was off to Cunningham road and would be around there as parking anywhere else would not be possible. I waded back to the office and approached the office at 12:10ish. “1 ‘O’ clock, didn’t I say?” he barked, nothing hanging back this time, “There is no space here and it’s already crowded. Go somewhere, eat or drink something and come back at 1”, and I promptly scampered back outside and parked myself on an abandoned desk right outside the office.
At 12:30 I decided to resume prodding. This time however, I was met with “Didn’t I say 1? It usually takes 1 week for this to happen. Out of kindness (kanikara) am doing it for people in 1 hour. Maybe I should have asked you to come back in one week.” Absolutely scared, and with no intention of coming back to face the ordeal again in one week, I bowed slightly, gave a submissive smile and managed a very sorry “sorry sir, will wait outside.” This time however he refused to let go so easily – “The word sorry is a curse on our civilization. If we have to improve, that word has to be struck down.” I just nodded along, taking in the irony silently, as he launched into an all out attack on the word ‘sorry’. After a few minutes of that, relieved that no one week timeline had been agreed upon, I went back to my perch and waited it out.
At around 12:55, someone from inside came along and asked me to go in and collect the letter. He handed it to me this time without much ado, just asking me to sign on the letter I had given him acknowledging the receipt of it. The letter he had given me just said that the vehicle was not stolen. Made me wonder why the RTO could not be granted access to the stolen vehicles database and solve the running around once and for all!