In the queue in front of me, there were about 50 people. There was one queue and one “document processor.” In Sholay dialogue style, “Hum Pachas The, aur Woh Sirf Ek.” Twenty minutes into the queue, I realised that the rate of clearing one person was about 6 minutes. Which means, I would be standing in the queue for the next 5 hours. (I was reminded by a fellow queuer that I also needed to factor in their 30-minutes-stretching-to-50-minutes lunch break.)
There were 10 chairs – for the first ten in the queue. The rest needed to stand in place. There were people in the queue coming a second and third time because some document was missing. All accepted the reality of the situation, meekly. I got my documents checked by a person in one corner – he suggested adding a couple copies which I did. I had no intention of coming again.
The utter ridiculousness of the situation kept starting at me. In today’s day and age, to ask people to wait 5+ hours to submit papers for a passport is absolutely crazy. We have got all the technology in place, but we haven’t changed our people’s attitudes and processes. The same inefficiencies which were there a decade ago are still there. Because no one is thinking it from the citizen’s point of view. The influential get it done by agents; the aam aadmi stands in queue – quietly.