Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Atrocious Administration

I just had an encounter with that monster of a body called the administrative section !! It is so hard to wade through all the muck that fills up their offices, its a miracle any body survives such encounters and lives to tell the tale. It reminded me of a previous encounter I had with their counterparts in my college. Here are images that come flooding back:

Setting: The accounts/administrative sections of my college. Strangely both were located in a big basement area - it was in every sense the underworld !

My reason for being there: I had gone to collect a certificate and a check I was supposed to receive - it was actually for a scholarship I got. The amount was a paltry sum of Rs 180/-, but I wanted the certificate. So I braced myself and descended into the netherworld.

Clerk 1: Who are you? Why are you here? He almost made me feel like a impudent brat !
Me: Sir (anybody and everybody is Sir !) I wanted to collect a certificate ...
Clerk 1: What certificate? Go see Clerk 2 - don't waste my time.

Clerk 2: Certificate - scholarship - then he gave me a look as if I had materialized before his eyes miraculously and uttered words in an alien tongue. Which year, what branch - how did you get a scholarship ?
Me: Third year - I ... well you can check my mark sheets - I topped my year.
Clerk 2: I can't believe all you say - go get yourself verified by the head clerk, and then come back.
Me: Get myself verified? Can't you just check my I-card or something?
Clerk 2: I didnt make your I-card - I cant believe just about anybody, can I?

Defeated by his precise logic, I proceeded to the Head Clerk-
Head Clerk: Yes?
Me: Mam - I need to be verified - to get my scholarship.
Head Clerk: I can verify who you are but I cannot authorize the release of the scholarship.
Me: duh ?
Head Clerk: Only the OSD can do that ?
Me: the OSD ? another Ostentsible Stuffy Demon?
Head Clerk: (Ignoring my incoherent rants ...) The Officer on Special Duty will come at 6pm after finishing his classes.

I waited till 6pm that day and got lucky with the OSD - he signed my scholarship release form.

Next day -
Me: Sir, I have been verified - Can I get my scholarship ?
Clerk 2: (Looks at me thinking The Mummy Returns) - Let me search for the certificate.

After searching for an hour or so, a certificate emerges from the greatest depths of his steel almirah - shining like Excalibur in the presence of Arthur. I almost felt like I had won the battle and was probably grinning, but
Clerk 2: Here, take it ....
Me: And the check?
Clerk 2: Am I supposed to do the whole college's work alone? His fuse went POP! and he just spat out .. Go to Accounts !

I ran for my dear life - thankful that I was still breathing and made my way to accounts. Alas it was lunch time so I waited and gazed at the deserted cubicles for 45 minutes.

Me to the first person who enters: Err.. Sir where can I collect my check for the scholarship?

First Person: He looks at me in amazement and laughs and goes away without answering.

Me to second person who enter: I repeat the same question ...
Second Person: hmm - check you say - ask the cashier and points to a grilled counter looking like a dungeon from the Cellular Jail with CASHIER written in bold red ink over it.

I waited at the counter for the cashier to appear. A person appears at the counter and settles down.
Me: Sir - I wanted to collect a check ....
Cashier: No No .. today nothing can be done ... cashier is not here.
Me: I try to look around inside the prison cell - trying to spot another person ... but...but - who are you then?
Cashier: Arre - what are you searching clutching that grill like a prison inmate? I told you - no work today.
Me: Who are you then?
Cashier: I am the substitute cashier - the actual cashier is not here now ....
Me: Then why cant you do his work?
Cashier: I am on leave today !
Me: Dumbfounded, awestruck, stupefied !!! I retreat almost bowing to him. Who can argue with such astute logic.

Next day I did get my money - but not as a check - as cash including a very torn ten rupee note.
Without bothering to get the note changed - I just headed straight for my dimension - where the world made sense again.

I got the scholarship again the next year - but made no further attempts to collect it ...


  1. Looks like this is quite a common occurence. I have had similar(and sometimes much worse) experiences dealing with my College Admin staff. God save us !!!

  2. Hi Shaz,

    I know - its the bane of many of our colleges. Perhaps they want students to learn early how the `system' works (that it works is miraculous enough !) in the world's largest democracy.