As most of the people who have themselves applied for a new passport during rush season would testify, getting a passport is a real pain in you-know-where.I got my passport a couple of months back under the Tatkal scheme. Let me sum up the experience, believe me you are better off reading it than experiencing it.
(1) You reach Bhikaji Cama Place in Delhi.Greeted by jumbled chaos of cars and a diverse crowd.From the communicator wielding ones to those who dream of making it big in Kanaadaa one day.
(2) Soon you will be enquired upon by tens of touts/agents/dalals. Telling you how quickly and easily they can get you a passport. They are quite right, but they charge a fee of course. Somewhere on the outside of the Office Building a black coloured board with white paint reads something like this- “There is no use of touts in this office. Kindly avoid them”. Just the same as saying that Indian babus don’t accept bribes.
(2) Buy the passport form, either from the back of the Passport Office , or from one of the above mentioned for a nominal extra fee.
(3) The passport forms are surprisingly easy to fill thanks to detailed instructions,yet for the odd query there is no one to help, though you may try the agents and get some information for free if you sort of convince then that you are sincerely interested in being their client.
(4) Get all sorts of documents. Get them photocopied then attested. Considering the number of documents one is asked, I was surprised they didn’t ask for an attested certificate on stamp paper from a legal notary confirming my shoe-size.
(5) Then get the form stamped with ‘tickets’ which mention a queue number for inside the office after standing in a queue outside the office for this.
(6) Simply get an agent, pay the money and jump to step number 12 or keep reading.
(7) Stand in the queue inside the Passport building, only one person is allowed per person. I strongly recommend getting someone along too, it is not hard to fool the guard. I recommend this as while crawling along the queue, you may find even the activity of watching your nails grow to be interesting. Also the queues are typical of most Indian queues, meaning that the ticket-number allotted to you is completely useless. A companion further ensures your safety when fighting for positions in the lines.
(11) Reach the Passport Officer’s room, where he tells you that so and so document is missing or so and so thing is wrong. Even though you are sure that they were never mentioned in the forms. Repeat steps 5-10.The number of times you do so depends on your luck (or rather the lack of it), perhaps also on the mood of the Passport officer’s wife before he left for office in the morning. It is worth noting that if once you are told to get some document back, you should count your whole day wasted as they do not let you in after a specified time, which is quite early (I am not sure, but I think it is about 1:30 pm.)
A person who was almost dancing after he got his passport approved, told me that he was into this thing since the last three weeks. For the first time in my life I went through two different emotions of jealousy and sympathy simultaneously.Though, I am not sure it was wholly him to which my feelings of sympathy were attributed to.
(12) Finally you do get everything approved and pay at the deposit counter.This queue is relatively smaller as most of the applicants are still going through steps 6-11.
(13) You are given a date mentioning when you will be posted the passport, or to receive it in person. If you have directly come from step 6 you will probably be asked very courteously if he could be of any further help, after all the agent is just a broker, the officers are the ones who squeeze in most of the dough. Someone please advise him to taste Cyanide.I’ll give you most of the things I posses,the passport not being one of them though. Meanwhile the the ones who have been following all the above mentioned steps, plot how to kill the officers.Can’t blame the poor applicant, when the choice while standing in the lines is between watching your nails grow and the thought of sweet vengeance. Whether you want to subsequently roast him and then eat or grind him and feed the vultures, is a matter of personal taste. But I recommend to wait, it ain’t finished yet.
(14) You receive the passport. Only to realise that some or the other information is wrongly printed. If lucky it may be a very small mistake, else you may find that your mother and father share the same name.Go through steps similar to 5-13 again.
(15) Now with everything in order, you set out to murder the passport authorities. Sadly to reach them you need to go through steps 1-11 again, and quite understandably one prefers to stay at home.