The recent visit to RTO (DMV in U.S) for getting a duplicate copy of my driver's license since I had lost my original, made me wonder if I was in the middle of a tree full of angry, screeching monkeys.
Yes, I say so because I spent 3 full hours bandying about the RTO office at least a dozen times from one desk to another and repeating the already visited desks while doing so wondering who would actually get down to helping me for real.
People who worked there looked upset, angry and agitated. The officers were yelling because they were not happy with the documentation or the exact numbered rectangular papers that are a strict mandate to sign and approve the forms that sat fat and smug inside an ageing/smelling file.
I didn't want to use the middlemen who were loitering around with a revolting stench of unwashed clothes wrapped around their rancid, stinking, perspiring bodies and grinning with teeth smeared in cigarette or cheap chew-able tobacco tars.They came around once in a while scratching the sides of their heads and asking me "Yenna venum meydam?" (What do you want, Madam?).
Needless to say I was super frustrated and waved them off.
I stood in what appeared to the middle of the bay and clapped 5 times as loud as I can and yelled "Excuse me, Can one of the employees here help me out?"
For a few seconds there was silence and a smile curved at the ends of my lips at my accomplishment ....but it diminished almost immediately as the prattle continued as if nothing at all happened after a brief pause of 2 seconds.
Defeated and Humiliated I wanted to give-up when I heard a voice behind me saying.... "Good try madam, I think you should do it again this time louder and longer. Don't give-up!"
So, I did the same.
Two officers can out of their desk and approached me. One of them said "Hello Lady, this is a Government Office, I don't appreciate fun activities or inspirational speeches here. You need prior permission from our senior official for doing so. It would be nice if you leave this place immediately before I call the guards."
I was appalled and tried to explain that I wasn't attended to for the past so many hours and it was my act of trying to get help. He gave a long lecture on the ethics of workplace and how I should not have disturbed the Government Officials during their busy working hours.
Eventually, after his painfully irrelevant lecture he did pay heed to my request and said that it will be taken care of.
I was also asked to pay more than required without which processing my request will be postponed indefinitely.
I was exhausted when I came out, overloaded with a feeling I couldn't quite place between frustration, anger and helplessness.
I mean, to think of the fact that I was once the woman who slapped a guy across his face when he misbehaved with me in a Public Transport............. I think it's a blatant fact of resigning the courage and accepting hypocrisy as a mark of a typical middle-class-middle-aged-woman-attitude.