Airtel mobile phone scam

The SIM card I use for my mobile is an Airtel, which is the biggest service provider of India. I had received a call from them a few months ago which was about choosing a caller tune for my mobile. The computer played some songs first and then said to press the button 3 if I wanted to choose the song as my caller tune. It said that if I press the button 3, I will be subscribed for the service for next week and they will charge me Rs. 10. I wanted to hang up but by mistake I pressed button 3 instead of red button which was just above button 3 and got subscribed for the service.

But I did not mind it as I knew that I had got subscribed only for a week. The next week they sent me a message saying that they had renewed my subscription which I did not want to do. I tried to contact customer care but I could not because I had a lifetime validity plan. I went to their office and they said that lifetime validity plan customers can not talk to the customer care, it was crazy. I think they do this because life timeplan customers pay less money.

It continued like this for three months and I kept loosing my balance but I did not know where my balance was going. I used to recharge my mobile and did not get proper balance. I used to think that somebody had used my mobile and my balance was negative and when I recharged my mobile, they deducted the previous balance. After few months I changed my plan. I chose a monthly billing system where they send the detailed bill. I was shocked to see my first month’s bill. They were charging me Rs. 68 per month for that caller tune.

If I had subscribed for a caller tune on a monthly basis, then I would have paid Rs. 30 per month but since I had chosen this weekly subscription they were charging me Rs. 68. They used to charge me Rs. 10 per week for the caller tune and Rs. 7 per week for an SMS which was sent automatically to renew the service for the next week. I never sent that message. Computer used to send the message and then charge me for it. It was crazy. This amount of Rs. 68 was not a big deal but I did not like the way they cheated me.

I went to their office to get unsubscribed from this service and the representative there asked me to call on a number. I asked her to unsubscribe me from that service by using her office computer but she said that it could not be done by any office; it could be done only if I call that number. I called that number and it was really crazy. I still remember when I had subscribed for that service that the computer was talking to me in Hindi. Actually there was an option for choosing the language but when I wanted to unsubscribe, there was no option for choosing the language.

The computer was talking in English. I hung up the call and connected again just to see if there was any option to choose language or not and again it was same- no option for Hindi. The thing that made the process more difficult was the accent; it was a very hard American accent. Even though I often talk with the Americans and am very familiar with the American accent but still it was hard for me to understand what the computer was talking about. The computer was speaking too fast with some strange accent.

I listened to the computer’s voice twice and then I could understand and could unsubscribe from the caller tune service. But I wonder what the people can do if they do not know any English or are not familiar with a foreign accent. What they will do, keep paying Rs. 68 per month for nothing??? These crazy corporations can do anything, just anything to make money.

Dowry – How much do you cost?

My cousin is going to get married soon, maybe in December this year. My relative who has a permanent job in a bank is too much interested in getting people married. He knows several families who want to get their daughters and sons married. He asked my uncle to get his son married with one of his relative’s daughters. This girl is doing a masters from the Sanskrit University and my cousin works for a travel agency in Delhi. My cousin is crazy about getting married. He has always wanted to get married and now it seems like his dream is going to come true.

Neither of bride nor groom have talked to each other ever in their lives. It is all arranged by the family. They were presented in front of each other a few days ago when my cousin was in Varanasi and that’s all. He saw the bride and liked her and decided that she was the girl for him. It was his engagement yesterday. He called me a few days ago and he was telling me that the girl will not be good for Delhi because she has completed her studies in Varanasi through the Sanskrit board but he will still marry her because she has only one other sister.

He said that after her father dies, he and the husband of the other sister will get all the assets. He was most happy about having their own house in Varanasi. He asked me how much that kind of house would cost and when I said that it would cost something like five hundred thousand rupees, he became more happy, started laughing and said that his bride is worth at least two hundred fifty thousand rupees at present and her value will increase with time. He asked how long will her father be alive; five years? ten years? fifteen years; and after his death he will get half of the property.

His engagement was something different because neither the bride nor the groom will be present during the engagement. Only families will meet and do some formalities. The bride’s father gave Rs. 10,000 ($200), a few fruits, some sweets and a suit for the groom. The wedding will be held on 12th of December at which time rest of the things will be given. I heard that the bride’s father will give Rs. 50,000 in cash, a gold chain for the groom, five kinds of gold jewelleries and clothes for bride, and other household stuffs like a bed, refrigerator, wardrobe, TV, music system etc… all these things will be given on the wedding day.

Since they have already given Rs. 10,000, they have to give only Rs. 40,000 more on the wedding day.Groom has asked for cash instead of household stuffs because his wedding will be held in Varanasi but he lives in Delhi, and he has already bought a few household furnishings like a TV and a bed in Delhi for him. The groom has planned to spend the money given by the bride’s side to prepare for his wedding which means he will not have to spend anything from his own pocket but bride’s family will have to spend a lot.

The bride’s father is a retired employee of Municipality of Varanasi. He worked as a temporary employee for most of his life which means he would be getting something like Rs. 2000-3000 per month; I am sure not more than that for a temporary employee. He became a permanent employee in 1999 and got his retirement in 2008 which means he made good money only for nine years. I am sure he will spend a good part of his savings on this wedding. I think my cousin should not have asked for cash instead of household stuffs if he has already bought them but…

This wedding seems more like a business setup where one party will win the game and will make good amount of money, and other party will lose everything, and even they will even have someone wishing for their death. Dowry has become a huge problem in India and is one of the biggest reasons behind decreasing rate of sex ratio. I used to think that dowry would decrease with the decrease of sex ratio but it never changed actually. Ratio of girls has been decreasing continuously and dowry is increasing. People joke sometimes saying that grooms will have to give dowry in the future because there will be fewer girls but when I look at the people like my cousin, it seems to me that this joke will be only a joke forever.

Voting Day 2009 in Varanasi

It was voting day on the 16th in Benares. Everybody was supposed to have a voter ID card which is issued by Election Commission of India but again this year Election Commission of India was not able to provide the voter ID card to everyone; actually I also did not get it. Three days before elections, I read a article in the newspaper saying that voters could use 16 different kinds of documents instead of a voter ID card to vote. Since I also did not have a voter ID card, I went to vote with my ration card and PAN card (income tax card).

I went to the Assi crossing first where they had assistance centers of all the political parties. There were four assistance centers this year at Assi crossing- BJP, Congress, SP and BSP. I was supposed to get a slip that has my serial number in the voting list from any of these partyassistance centers. I looked for the least crowded counter so that I could get my work done quickly and Congress counter had the least number of people. BJP was the most crowded one. I got my slip at the Congress counter but thought to just visit other counters as well.

I saw something really strange- the Congress Party counter was offering breakfast to the people who were going to their counter which is an illegal activity. They had their counter on the main road but the breakfast place was inside a room. They were telling all the people to go inside the room, have breakfast and vote for Congress. A lot of people had switched from one party to another party this year. The people whom I had seen sitting on the BJP counter during last elections, were sitting on the SP counter this year. It’s crazy to see how these political people change themselves so quickly.

BJP candidate Mr. Murli Manohar Joshi had called me one day before elections. Usually they use computers to call people and they did the same this year also but some calls were made individually by people and I was lucky enough to receive the call made by Mr. Murli Manohar Joshi. First I thought it was a computer but the person on the phone was responding according to my questions to him. I am sure it was Mr. Joshi himself. Since I was in hurry at the time he called me, I could not talk to him much. I wish that I had time when he had called me because I would have loved talking to him.

He requested me to vote for a suitable candidate. He never told me to vote for himself but at last he said that he was Mr. Murli Manohar Joshi which was a clear indication of his request to vote for him. Obviously he was my favourite candidate and I voted for him but I would have loved asking him questions before voting for him. Well, next year.I went to vote and noticed that there was less security this year. There were hardly four or five security guards at the polling booth. Usually polling booths are full of security guards. It was strange.

All the different party people were telling me to vote for their party. A few people had Fevicol (a gum) and other different kinds of chemicals and they were telling me to put some gum or those strange chemicals on my finger before going to vote so that I could remove the ink easily off my finger after voting and make fake votes again for them in the evening time. All these people were counting the number of people who had not voted yet and would send someone from their party to vote in the name of the people who did not vote but I was happy with only voting in my name.

No computers, No English, No stock market, No harvesting machines…

The politics is at its top in India nowadays. All the political parties have released their manifesto for the coming election. Samajwadi Partyalso released its manifesto yesterday in Lucknow. The chief of Samajwadi Party, Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav ,said yesterday that if they win the election and come in power then they will ban computers, English medium schools, stock market, harvesting machines, high salaries in the corporate sector… He believes that computers create unemployment, English is also not good, harvesting machines also create unemployment, high salaries paid by corporate sectors are also not good…

I think it would better to help Hindi and strengthen it, not to kill English. India is known as a global market for all sorts of things and we are better than China only because we speak better English than them and this Samajvadi Party wants to ban English in India. What would we do if English is stopped? Fewer and fewer people want to speak Hindi now and government is not doing anything for it. Our prime minister, president, chief of congress, and a lot of other politicians never speak any Hindi but Samajwadi Party never suggested to them to start speaking Hindi, at least when they address the nation.

The son of Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mr. Akhilesh Yadav also got his schooling from an English medium school. Mulayam Singh used to be a teacher at that time but he did not think about the importance of Hindi when he sent his son to English medium school but he wants to ban English medium schools for the general people of India. I think they should better introduce some law that talks about giving priority to Hindi but please don’t stop English. I wonder if Mulaym Singh Yadav was sleeping when Raj Thakare had targeted thousands of Hindi speaking people in Mumbai?

Hundreds of people were killed, kicked out of Maharastra, lost their jobs but Mulayam Singh Yadav never spoke against this crazy and cruel activities but now since elections have come up, he talks about the importance of Hindi. I am really sad the way Hindi is disappearing from India but it doesn’t mean that we should kick English out of India. We need both languages but Hindi should be given priority at least when we talk to Indians. Mulayam Singh Yadav wants to ban computers also which could be the craziest thing to talk about. In the 21st century when the whole world wants to implement as many computers as possible in the system, our politicians want to ban them.

Didn’t Mulayam Singh think about how his manifesto was printed? I am sure this manifesto was printed by computers. India makes a huge amount of money from the computers; we are a global computer and IT market and Mulayam Singh wants to ban this business. I think they should better try to stop corruption not computers. When Mulaym Singh Yadav was ruling Uttar Pradesh last time, his government had created thousands of new jobs in the police force. His party lost the next elections and new party led by Mayawati came in power.

She constituted a committee to audit those police jobs and found that all the jobs were given after taking bribes. She terminated all 18,000 policemen and the case is still pending in Supreme Court of India. I think computers help decrease the corruption and Mulayam Singh Yadav wants to ban them so that when he rules Uttar Pradesh next time and recruits new policemen by taking bribes, nobody can find any evidence against him. This is very smart decision, I think, which will help Mulayam Singh in the future but what about India?

Mulayam Singh Yadav doesn’t like stock market either. I can think of only one reason behind it which is all the politicians are supposed to declare their assets before filing their candidature-shipin the elections. If they invest in the Indian stock market, they will have to declare this investment also because this share trading is maintained on computers and is very tough to hide. Our criminal politicians, government officers and other rich people have deposited $1500 billion in Swiss banks and their money is safe there, so they do not need to declare this money. So if there is no stock market in India, they can steal India’s money and deposit it in the Swiss banks and people would never know about it.

Samajwadi Party talks about stopping harvesting machines. They do not like them because they think that these machines create unemployment. I wonder where the Samajwadi Party was when their supporting party Congress gave a contract to American companies to bring their machines to destroy Setusamundram bridge? Isn’t is crazy? They want to bring the machines to destroy an icon of Hindu culture? Each and every Hindu has respect for this bridge and the government wanted to destroy it. Mulayam Singh Yadav did not talk about this issue but he talks about the harvesting machines.

Our politicians don’t even think about what they are saying. They just need the vote and they can do anything to get it. This is their only motto, that’s all. Mulayam Singh Yadav has targeted poor, uneducated and innocent people of India as his vote bank. He is trying to say that computers, English, stock market and harvesting machines are responsible for their poverty. I think Mulayam Singh Yadav should better plan something to provide them good quality education, to do something to decrease corruption and to preserve our culture by preserving Hindi and Setusamundram bridge. “Vote ke liye sala kuch bhi karega. ..”

Please go to the election booth

I know that a lot of people have decided that they will not vote this year in the elections because they are completely fedup with the government. In fact, I was also one of them but I recently came to know about something interesting. Even if I do not want to vote, I can still go to the election booth and tell the officer that I do not want to vote and they will write my name in a different register which is specially for the people who do not want to vote and this way nobody else would be able to vote in my name.

All the political parties have a list of the voters of their neighborhood and they always see the progress of people voting. What happens is that different political parties have their own booths near the voting place and they have a list of all the voters. People go to these booths and get a slip where they have their name, address and other information written which is required to vote. People cannot vote without having this slip so they go to their favorite party counter and get their slip so usually these people at these kinds of counters know who has voted and who not.

Finally one or two hours before the end of voting they find the names of the people who have not voted, make slips in those names and send their guy to vote in the names of other people. Sometimes people go to vote and find that somebody else has already voted in their name and once a vote is given, nobody can do anything because there is nothing to prove that somebody else voted for someone else. But since this new beautiful system has come up I think it will be a big relief for the people who do not want to vote.

I would tell to everyone who does not want to vote to go to the election booth and tell them that they do not want to vote. This way their vote will be secured and will not be misused. So use this system and enjoy elections.

Vote ke liye sala kuch bhi karega

There was a bollywood movie song “love ke liye sala kuch bhi karega” which means “will do anything for love”. I think our politicians love this song and have implemented the idea in their lives but not for love, for vote. They agree to do anything for vote, just anything. Yesterday P. Chidambram,the home minister of India, had a press conference going on. A journalist named Jairnail Singh asked him why did they exonerated Jagdish Tytler who was accused of inciting the 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots and the home minister was not able to satisfy him with his answer. Congress introduction of Jagdish Tytler as their candidate for the Delhi seat has been a huge issue amongst Sikhs since his name was announced.

Jarnail singh did not like this answer and threw his shoe at P. Chidambram, the home minister of India, to show his protest. I am sure that P. Chidambram had never thought someday somebody from India would throw a shoe at him. He was shocked but he knew that the election was coming so he said so gently to his guards to take Jarnail singh out of the press conference hall and continued his conference. He was pretending that nothing had happened, but in fact something really big had happened. Something that had never ever happened in India before.

Jarnail Singh was immediately taken to the police station but was released within a few hours. He was not arrested or kept in jail. After Jairnail Singh was taken to the police station, a huge number of Sikhs and other people reached the police station and started protesting against the government. Congress felt that it was better to release him than to take any risk during the election time but now they have started thinking again to give the ticket to Jagdish Tytler. Congress knew that if Jairnail Singh was arrested then it would have affected their vote bank because the Sikh community was with Jarnail Singh.

Jarnail Singh was not arrested even though he threw a shoe at the home minister of India. I was wondering if there is any law extant in India or not? Jarnail Singh had committed a crime but nothing happened with him only because P. Chidambram and Congress Party forgave him because they were afraid of their vote bank.At least they should have filed a case against him.Who is bigger- Indian constitution or ruling political parties? After doing such a thing it is sure now that our politicians can do anything, just anything for votes.

822-year-old-living person

Elections are coming and the Election Commission of India is working hard on getting voter ID card to all the voters. It’s a new system in India that all the voters should have a voter id card otherwise they will not be able to vote. The government always says that they will block any person who doesn’t have a voter ID card but every year two three days before elections news comes from the Election Commission of India saying that anyone can participate in the elections, even those who don’t have a voter ID card because Election Commission of India was not able to reach everyone.

The government has been spending a huge amount of money on this project but they were never ever successful. The funniest thing is that almost 50% of the voter ID cards have wrong information or some kind of misprinting. I often hear about these things but today I heard about a huge mistake that a human should not do. Amar Ujala, the leading Hindi newspaper of India, has published an article today (08/04/09) saying that the Election Commission of India has issued a voter ID card for someone named Ballu who lives in Muradabad and his age is mentioned as 822 year old.

He went to the Election Commission of India office but they did not have any answer and since elections are not more than 10 days away from now, Ballu will not lose his time by going to the office again and again to get a new voter ID card. He will use the same card and vote as a 822 year-old person. In the same way they have issued voter ID cards to Nanhi and Khurseed where they are mentioned as only two years old. They will also do the same thing- vote as a two-year-old girl. Their third mistake is that they have issued 424 voter ID cards on only one address, which means according to the Election Commission of India there are 424 people from the same family and same house.

When I got my first voter ID card, I still remember that my father’s name was printed on my card and the address was also wrong. I went to them to complain about it and they asked me to come back before a month of next elections, after five years, when they will start working again on this project. Even though the voter ID cards are issued by the government of India, they are not recognized as a residential or personal identity proof by any institution in India, whether government or private, only because of these terrible mistakes. The newspaper Times of India had published an article on the 24th of March about the same kind of mistake done by the Election Commission of India where they had issued a voter ID card to a twelve year old girl.

The Indian government is not smart enough to deal with issuing better voter ID cards but just to show off they are going to built nuclear power plants. With voter ID cards they are just supposed to collect good quality datas and print them on paper, and they can’t even do that propely. How will they deal with such a huge project like nuclear power plants??? I always wonder if India is ready for this kind of project where there is no margin for error or if our government is smart enough to deal with nuclear waste or nuclear power??? After looking at these kinds of mistakes, it doesn’t seem so to me, though.

Central government election 2009

The election for central government is coming soon and the political world is so hot nowadays. Benares has always been a very important place for Indians but this year Benares is something special because of the big names from different parties going to participate in the election. Benares has become a center of attraction for the whole political world of India. All the parties are trying their best to beat each other, in fact they are ready to do anything they can- bribe to the voters, target religion, target different castes and just don’t think about the people or development.

Recently a lot of political leaders were caught giving money to the voters to make them happy and vote for them which is illegal according to Indian constitution. It doesn’t matter for me if it is illegal or not, the thing that matters for me is that what kind of politicians we have. They never do anything except looting the country and when elections come they try to bribe the people? Some of the really big names were involved in giving money to the people. All of our politicians have huge amounts of money. They are really rich in a very poor country.

Today’s headline of the newspaper (Amar Ujala 5/03/09) was about these kinds of politicians who have lots of money and their assets have increased rapidly within past five years. The article says that in India still over 77% of the people hardly spend Rs. 20 per day. Per head income of general Indians has increased by a few percent within past five years but if we look at the assets of the politicians, the growth is about five to six times. The newspaper has published a list of the famous politicians whose assets have increased by six-seven times, some of them have gained up to ten times.

All the politicians are supposed to declare their income when they file their name as a candidate for the election. The same candidates who had assets of worth Rs. 5 crore before the last election now have assets worth Rs. 50 crore and no one is there to ask them where they made all this money. The interesting thing is that this is the amount that they have declared, but I wonder how much is hidden, maybe Rs. 500 crore? Every one who had won election last time has become so rich now. It is not a bad thing to become rich, but the interesting thing for me is that how they became this rich during this global crisis.

I was very happy with Mayawati and I had decided that I would vote for her in this election. I like her working style. There is always less crime when she rules and definitely she doesn’t suck the blood of people as much as others do. She likes sucking the blood of big people, government officers and other politicians which is a relief for the general people. I used to think that she was someone who did politics to help the nation but she did something in Benares that makes her the one of the worst politicians of India.

She has introduced Mukhtar Ansari as her party’s candidate for Varanasi seat. This person has been in jail for the past few years. He was found guilty of making Hindus and Muslims fight in Mau District. In these riots hundreds of Hindus were killed. He became quite popular amongst Muslims all over India right after these riots. She introduced him only so that she could get all the Muslim votes. We have four very big names this year for Benares seat:- Ajay Rai from Samajvadi Party, Murli Manohar Joshi from BJP, Rajesh Mishra from Congress and Mukhtar Ansari from Bahujan Samajvadi Party.

Ajay Rai is one of the most famous criminals of Poorvanchal. He is very famous as a mafia don all over India. There are several murder, loot and all other kinds of cases running against him at different courts of India. Our second candidate is Rajesh Mishra who was recently caught distributing money to the people. He had won the last election from Benares seat and is member of parliament at present. He never did anything except take credit for declaring Ganga as the national river of India.

Prof. T.P. Agrawal was on hunger strike for several days and then Indian government had to declare Ganga as national river and right after it Rajesh Mishra got new pamphlets and posters printed and stuck them all over the city that said he had pressurized the Indian government to declare Ganga as national river. So he is that kind of person. I saw him last him before the last election when he came in public to ask for votes and after winning the elections he disappeared. There has been no development in Benares. I would never like to vote for such a person who offers money to the people to make them vote for him.

All these crazy politics started right after BJP introduced Murli Manohar Joshi as a candidate for the Benares seat. BJP has always been very successful in Benares but they lost the last elections and they did not want to lose again so they introduced a very big name. People of Benares were so happy when they heard that he was going to be one of our candidates because he is one of the very few politicians of India who has no criminal records and is a very educated person. Everybody thought that he would win the election and would change Benares.

All the parties always want to defeat the big names of other parties. It became big news when Murli Manhoar Joshi was introduced for the Benares seat and all of the other parties started planning to introduce some other big name so that they could defeat him. But Mayawati did the worst thing by introducing Mukhtar Ansari. She did it so that she can get all the Muslim votes. She knew that Hindu votes will be divided for different candidates so she introduced a criminal who is very popular amongst Muslims. She does not care at all about what would happen if he won, another riot? Not a big deal.

The thing that made the Benares seat more interesting is the presence of Ajay Rai supporting Samajvadi Party. He used to be BJP candidate but since BJP did not give him a ticket he switched to Samajvadi Party and got the ticket for Benares seat. He will also get huge support of people. Rajesh mishra will also get big support. Now what will happen is that all the Muslim votes will go Mukhtar Ansari and Hindu votes will be divided amongst Murli Manohar Joshi, Rajesh Mishra and Ajay Rai. And most probably Mukhtar Ansari will win which will be really a bad luck for Benares, not only Benares but all of India.

All the criminals are fighting to defeat someone who was never ever found guilty for anything. And it is all because of the worst political system of India. Our politicians do not care what will happen in future, they just want to win the election, rule the country and then loot it.

HIV, AIDS education pamphlet distribution

An student from University of Montana, USA had contacted me to volunteer for my organization and for housing at my guest house. I also wanted to start something for sex workers in Benares. I asked him if he would like to help me organizing some kind of program for sex workers. He seemed so much interested in my work. Although we could not do anything for sex workers because of his busy schedule in Benares and some of my unexpected work that I had to accomplish but we still distributed pamphlets during Maha Murkh Sammelan (Biggest fool Conference).

This festival is very very Benares thing and I think it happens only in Benares. It is celebrated every year on 1st of April. This year they had more than 3000 people during that conference. But since Winslow and I were the only people to distribute pamphlets, we thought to target maximum of 200-250 people. We went there, sat on the steps of Rajendra Prasad Ghat and started distributing pamphlets. We had targeted 15 to 45 year old people, but our priority was 15-30 year old. People were not interested in taking pamphlets from my hand but they seemed so interested in Winslow.

Winslow finished his pamphlets first and then I gave him most of my pamphlets also and we distributed almost 150 pamphlets. First of all we distributed pamphlets amongst the people who had come to the festival, and later we just wandered along the river and distributed some more pamphlets to young people. On the 2nd of April, Nandlal Master had organized a program which was inauguration of a water cooler, computer room and sewing machines which were donated by some organizations to Nandlal Master’s organization- Lok Samiti. Water cooler was given by Union Bank of India and other stuffs were given by some organization from south India.

Nandlal had tole me that 600-700 people would come to the program so we had planned to distribute some pamphlets there also. We reached there but unfortunately there were not much young people. They were either under 10 year old kids or over 45-50 year old people. So we better decided to not distribute the pamphlets. But Nandlal has asked me to organize some HIV, AIDS education program for his Kishori centers. Kishori center is a school run by Lok Samiti and ASHA for the girls who are over 13 year of age. There are about 10 Kishori centers and each center has about 50-75 girls.

Winslow’s friend, who had lived in Benares for a year about two years ago, knew the principal of Delhi Public School and had asked Winslow to meet him. Winslow told me about it and I also asked him to ask the school if they would let us organize a HIV, AIDS education workshop at their school. Delhi Public School is a English medium school and is fanciest school of Benares or maybe India’s. I have always wanted to work with English medium schools because their kids seems to be on biggest risk of contracting STDs. They have co-education system but there is no sex education in India.

Its a good opportunity for me to get involved with English medium schools and I am looking forward to it. It seems like Sanjeevani Booti will be busy this summer but there is a huge problem for funding and I don’t know how to solve it.

Bribe, Bribe, Bribe…

I applied for my passport a few days ago. I was supposed to fill out a form and submit it at the passport office in Varanasi. I went to the office and presented all of my documents to the officer. I thought to look over the documents again before giving it to the officer and discovered that I had made some mistake filling up the form. I thought it would be a good idea to fill out a fresh form. I asked the officer there if he had a fresh form but he said that the office didn’t sell the form. It was crazy, no passport application for at the passport office.

He asked me why I wanted a fresh form and I explained my problem to him but he said that he knew how to solve my problem. He brought whitener and cleaned the mistake and asked me to over write there. I was happy that I did not have to go out and buy a new form but I did not understand why he helped me. I never expect a government employee to help people. I knew that there was something wrong going on. I filled out the form and gave it to the person present there but he said that let the officer come. I asked him if he was not a office employee and he said that the officer has hired him personally to help him.

I immediately understood that there was really something wrong going on. The officer came and stamped my paper and signed it. He was supposed to give me a receipt of the passport form but he did not give it to me, he gave it to that other guy. I asked the officer what should I do next and this officer told me to talk to the other guy. I asked him and he turned his face like a rotten mango and said something that I could not hear. I asked him again and again and he would tell something that I was unable to hear. I asked him to speak loudly and then he said please give something.

I did not understand what was he looking for so I asked him to be clear about what he wanted and then he said that he will have to send my passport application to the regional office in Lucknow and he needed stamp and postage charge. I asked him if government doesn’t pay for it and said ‘NO’. I am sure that it is the government’s part. I asked him how much the stamp and postage charges were and he said Rs. 200. I know that I can send a post to any Indian city from any Indian city for Rs. 10. So I told him that it was too much.

And then said that he will have to pay every officer whoever looks at my application and for this he needed Rs. 200. I bargained and gave him Rs. 100 and this shameless person grabbed this money from my hand like a hungry lion. He told me to not worry anymore. He promised that he will forward my letter to the other office by the evening time. It was really interesting to see how that creepy government officer has hired someone to ask for the bribes from the people. The officer did not want to do it on his own. It is very smart of him but very bad for India.

The next step in order to get my passport was to get a no objection certificate from the local police station. The passport office sends the documents to the SSP (Senior Superintendent of Police) office and they send the documents to the local police station. I went to my local police station to see if they had gotten my application from SSP office. I asked them and they told me to come back after two days. I met a person at the police station who had hit his something with his car about two years ago and police had taken his car. Today he had gotten the release order from the court to get his car back from the police.

I knew that the police would not give his car back without taking a bribe but I was wondering how they would ask for it because I was also present there. I thought they would be shy asking for a bribe in front of me but this shameless policeman completed his papers and passed it to the policeman sitting next to him. He said to the car owner, even very loudly, to give something to the next police man and take the car’s key. I was not surprised but couldn’t understand how shameless the our and corrupt our police is. He gave Rs. 500 to the policeman but he was not happy with it, he wanted more. As the first policeman heard it, he stopped his work and started talking to the car owner. He said that first of all you did not give anything to me and now you want to give only Rs. 500? It is not done like this. Finally they ended up with Rs. 700.

This first policeman told me that he hadn’t got my application yet and asked me to come the next day. I reached there the next day and this time he had my application form. He looked at all of my documents and then asked where was I born. I told him that I was born in Varanasi but then he asked my father village’s address and asked me to come back after ten days so that they could do an enquiry in my father’s village where I never lived. I asked him why did they want to enquire about me in a place where I never lived. And he said that sometimes people commit crime in their village also. It was crazy. I did not know why he was doing it and then I realized that maybe he was doing it to disturb me so that I would give him some bribe.

I told him that I wanted it as soon as possible and then he said that he knew some way to make the process fast and now I understood what this way was. I told him to use that way and then he immediately took me to the next room where the head of the police station was sitting. He interviewed me, and asked me several questions including who will pay for my trip to the US. Finally he attested my photo and I came out of that office with that creepy policeman. Now he took me to a corner and said that he also wanted something. I asked him how much and he said whatever I wish. I asked, “Rs.200”? and he said what can he do with Rs. 200.

And then he asked for Rs. 600. I had to give him that money because I knew that I will never ever get my passport if I had not made him happy. After this office I have to deal with LIU (Local Intelligence Unit), SSP office, the passport office in Benares and the passport office in Lucknow. I will have to bribe everyone and still maybe don’t get my passport on time. This whole experience made me very sad. I was wondering if there is any government work in India that could be get done without bribing government???