Tryst with Electricty

It was one of those rare days when I was entrusted with the task of depositing the monthly electricity bill of my house. Reluctantly, I dragged myself to the electricity company's office. Not that I had expected to be welcomed with garlands and tilak, but nor did I expect in my wildest (or creepiest) dreams, what I faced there!

A typical government department seen ensued before my eyes as I entered the premises. The desolated ground welcomed me with not a single living thing in sight. Hot mid-May afternoon winds blew whistling in my ears and it seemed as if I had come exploring an inhabited desert. Itna sannata kyu hai bhai, echoed in my ears, as I tried to find a pinch of humour to entertain myself.

I walked towards the only 2 rooms situated in the other end of the premises. As it came closer, I could see a queue of 5-7 people, some itching their private parts objectionably in public and others wiping off their sweat. As I reached the queue, I realized I was the youngest person around. Not that I felt odd, but it just seemed as if I lived in 18th century. I joined the queue standing at least 7 steps away from the uncle in front of me, whose shirt was all wet with sweat.

The queue cleared at a pace of what seemed to be like 20 minutes per person. My turn was next and I was becoming extremely impatient now and a game of Subway Surfers on my mobile also failed to entertain me in the gruelling situation. Some matter seemed to have occurred with the man who was inside and some enlightening mother-sister abuses filled my ears. As the customer left the room fuming and hurling abuses loudly, I went inside already a little terror stricken to be entering the Roadies audition room. My turn finally came, by which time I had also become sweaty and exhausted and I immediately felt sorry for others in the queue.

The room was in itself a stress-giver. In 45 degrees of a Jaipur afternoon, the room boasted only a softly revolving fan. The fan made creaking sounds and I had a feeling that it would fall down on me. There existed a cooler in the room, which did not work (surprisingly) but ironically belonged to a company "Magic-Cool". Unfortunately, it did no miracles for me. The room had more spiders than humans and cobwebs surrounded me and I felt like an invader in a spider-city. In a distant corner of the room, two lizards blissfully fought among themselves over mosquitoes. It was difficult to determine who populated the room more - spiders, lizards or mosquitoes. And I realized the importance of co-existence!

I reached the desk where an old man sat along with an equally old lady. The old lady stared at me and I immediately stood straight like I was being interviewed. I had anyways not expected a formally clad, young corporate lady serving me cold drinks, but nor had I expected to be stared at by a distant relative of Conjestina Achieng. The old man snatched the bill from my hand and the scary auntie took away the money I was holding. Although it was meant to be given to her, I felt like being robbed in broad daylight.

I looked around at the junk of old files, beedi remains and used stationery as the old man and woman did the formalities. The man banged the table hard while stamping my bill, and the poor table wobbled almost warning the man that it would soon resign, given the atrocities that he performed.

I grabbed my receipt and rushed out of the hell-hole, happy to be finally free and super happy of the fact that e-billing was slowly making its way through government departments too. Kudos to technology! Phew!


KayEm said...

The quality of the people who sat in those offices behaving so uncouth and making you feel like a criminal for paying your bill speaks for itself. They seem to think you dare not complain. I wonder what would've happened if you and others would've asked the man before you, kya hua bhai? With you all giving the appearance of unity they'd think twice before acting needlessly rude.

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