I am busy ~ Chapter 4
Introduction | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3
Chapter 4: The road to abroad
The first call of the day went to Ranganna. He had recently been to Singapore visiting his son and daughter-in-law, to be able to help them welcome his grandchild. After a lot of deliberation Subbiah had decided he would be the right person to guide him in this. Encouraging his decision Ranganna invited him over to his house. “Nothing like a cup of coffee with a friend!” He said enthusiastically. Subbiah mumbled something but said a yes to him. He didn’t like socializing. He felt it was all a waste of time, deliberating over things which were beyond control. But as of now he had no choice. He had to go because it was his work that was important.
At Ranganna’s house he was introduced to Vikas, a travel agent who had helped him do everything for his Singapore trip and was here as Ranganna was planning another trip soon. Subbiah already had a list of questions ready with him. You can never underestimate the amount of homework he did before going out anywhere. After all, “He was busy!” But before he could start his questionnaire the tables were turned when Vikas himself handed him over a piece of paper listing out the things important for a passport.
1. Pan card.
2. Address proof
3. Latest photographs
4. 2 references.
The list read, Subbiah nodded ticking them off mentally. He had it all, he beamed at his intelligence. He started removing copies of these documents from his small bag that he carried with him always.
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Bewildered at first and then a little taken aback, Vikas and Ranganna kept staring at him as if he was a magician who had just pulled a rabbit from his hat and was now about to bring out something else. As he handed over the bunch of papers to Vikas, the photographs fell out. Vikas stared at them, and then back at Subbiah for a minute before declaring, “These look like old photographs. More than 6 months old. We need new ones.”
Subbiah began to argue, “Huh! What do you mean they are old? They are recent. I got them few months back for the pension account as they ask for one every year. I look the same any which ways.”
Vikas: “Sir this photo also doesn’t comply with passport regulations. Plain white background with ears clearly visible. See your one ear is hidden here.” He tried to point out in his photograph.
Subbiah: “What nonsense! What has got my ear got to do with my passport? Are you trying to tell a deaf man cannot travel?”
Vikas: “No sir, in case you have deformity then you have to mention that accordingly and clarify the same. Passports are issued to all but with the proper facts. “
Subbiah: “ This is sheer harassment and wastage of money. Then everyone should follow the same rule and ensure every passport photograph falls under the same category. Huh! Do you even realise how busy I am to be running around for so many things, that too of little importance!”
Ranganna and Vikas were staring at each other not knowing what to say, when Subbiah handed him other bunch of documents pertaining to Kanaka. Colour drained out from Vikas’s face as he flipped through them. He looked at Ranganna with pleading eyes not knowing what to do. Ranganna understood that now there was something more that was needed and Vikas was scared of announcing the same to Subbiah for the fear of inviting his wrath. Left with no choice Vikas still went ahead after murmuring a silent prayer in his heart,“Err… Sirr..r..r… I need your marriage certificate as well.”
One glance of Subbiah at him and Vikas knew he was doomed. Anger reflected in his eyes as he started screaming, “What do you mean by that?”
“Sir, I mean your marriage needs to be registered as per the new rule.” He stammered.
“Are you trying to tell me, all our 35 years of marriage is a joke! And now your piece of paper will claim it to be valid! Ranganna are you are sure this man is trustworthy enough.” Subbiah was no screaming. He had already got up from his seat to leave seething in anger when Ranganna held his hand.
“Subbiah, listen. Stupid they may sound like but believe me they are important. This young man is just doing his duty. No use shouting on him. If you listen to him, it will only become easy for you. At the end of the day it is your choice any ways.”
Saying this he loosened his grip and Subbiah walked away from there with his usual grumbling, “Huh! Idiots! They want marriage certificate now. My father never had nor did my grandfather. And I will now break the tradition and do something so callous! Why! I never eloped to get married. The whole village of 250 people had witnessed my marriage. I am not doing this anymore. They don’t understand that I am busy!
~ To be continued