Thursday, February 28, 2008

The License

A thin balding man stands in the queue outside the registration office in Mumbai.
There are scores of other men standing before him in various stages of fatigue. The humidity is killing. Some are trying to fan themselves with the documents they have, others using them to
hide from the glowing sun or to ward off the flies. The man stands there, lost in thoughts, looking intently at the intricate carvings on the aging british landmark - now a home to the Indian babudom. Just like a period film, he thinks, but then looks at the front wall, all adorned with paan spit marks & decaying movie posters, the red stain from the paan seeping into a Deewar poster making it look like Coolie. Obscenities about female genitalia written above an awareness message - "kandom che vaapar, aids kari haddpaar". Some election posters, some ayurvedic pamphlets promising all night long virility. Typical wall.

Like hijacked strangers who feel close to each other, victims of the table2table gang become instant friends,sharing information like where do you get the forms, who can fill them out correctly, who can get them stamped, which officer is the 'easiest' etcetera.
A guy claims to know the general manager -
"Wo hamara dur ka rishtey mein haai, manipur se".
Everybody laughs at him "Arey wo manager sirf moneypur jaanta hai,manipur nahi"

"Arey dekho to bhaiyya ye kaagaj sahi hai ya nahi"
"Oho aapne notary se stamp to karvaya hi nahi"
"Ye aakhri taareekh kab thi bhaisab?"
"Upar ka kitna paisa lagta hai idhar?"
"Ye line aagey kyon nahi badhti?"

The cacophony of confusion reigns supreme. But the man remains silent. His mind searching
for a perfect mirage in the desert, a mirage that will show everybody what he wants, not what
is, the grim reality which looks like that front wall.
The men behind him shout, push him into the inches of vacant space ahead.The line moves forward agonizingly slow. Finally inside, he asks for the license registration officer.The peon directs him towards a swarm of people buzzing around a table.He pushes through, keeps the heap of files on the table. The officer looks up. It feels like he's seen the man somewhere.

"bola, naav kay?" the officer asks his name.
"ashutosh"
"konte license pahije?"
"creative license"

1 comment:

dhanashree said...

btw,
i've been visiting this free rice link, n i think even i should support the cause,

so have you just put up a link, hoe do you get the pivture on the webpage ?