January 24, 2009

Chaar seat chodkar beithna

Bangalore Passport Office. My friend has to meet the officer for passport related work.

He reaches the office very early in the morning, that is well before the office opens, lest to avoid the rush and queue. Outside the gate, the queue had already started forming. He is third in the queue. "Lucky me" He thinks. He can complete the work sooner than expected.

After half an hour of wait, the gate-man opens the gate. The queue moves in a line to the counter where it is actually supposed to form. There are a few chairs placed near the counter so that people can "sit and wait" instead of "stand and wait". The early birds, including my friend, are about to sit on those chairs when the security officer arrives and sternly says "Chaar seat chodkar beithna", which means "Sit after leaving the 1st four seats".

My friend is obviously puzzled. Why leave the 1st four seats? He thinks about it for a while and then choose to ignore the incident. As the wait continues, he sees a lady alight from a Benz. Clad in an expensive sari and layered in makeup, she walks slowly towards the start of the queue. The security personnel welcomes her with a broad smile and politely asks her to sit it the first chair of the queue – well ahead of those who have been waiting.

"Corruption starts at the lower most rug" My friend thought.


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