Crippled Consumer, Paralyzed Citizen

Riffs, Rants and Raves

We must TAKE the power to govern ourselves

Because nobody else is going to give it to us willingly. Seth Godin has said it very elegantly in several posts of his, such as this one.

May 1, 2013. Upon getting to know that the Aadhaar (UID) enrolment was on at the M.S. Ramaiah Hospital, my parents and I showed up there at 8.30 a.m. There were seven people ahead of us in the line.

The Aadhaar staff, who were supposed to be there at 9.30, turned up a good 45 minutes late. Then, they started to grapple with some computer issues.

By about 10.45, we noticed that even the first person in the queue had not been called in! And why was that? Because people were slinking in from the side — the idiot ‘doorman’, an Aadhaar volunteer, was letting them through.

And then we noticed three interesting things happening.

1. People were using the excuse that they were sick/ old/ off to work at the hospital, in order to jump the queue.

2. People were getting in on the pretext of “making an enquiry”.

3. People were ‘reserving’ slots for their friends and relatives. So, if you walked in and thought you were #10 in the queue, you might discover that each of those people was expecting another 9 people. So you would actually be #91, not #10! And if you had known that right at the start, you would probably not have joined the line at all, because you would have to wait eight hours instead of one. (Tell me, when you go for a visa, don’t they give you a token number that applies to you and your family — but PROVIDED your family shows up there along with you?)

Finally, I could take it no more, and my mother and I shooed out the doorman — I appointed myself the doorman. I could see that people thought I was the Alsatian bitch guarding the place — and I felt great about it. People would tiptoe up to the door, see me still standing there, whisper to their cronies, and finally go back to their place in the line!

Of course, my turn finally came, and I could no longer guard the door. I called out to the next few people in line that they should take over the job from me. Sadly, nobody did, and people started jumping the queue all over again.

When I was leaving at 12.15 p.m., I saw all hell break loose — an elderly man was (justifiably) yelling his head off at the crowd over points #1 and 2 I have mentioned above. It looked like he would take on my role — I did not wait long enough to see what he did.

So this makes me wonder:

1. Is it rocket science for the Aadhaar volunteers to bring in a ‘token’ system?

2. Why was it so hard for someone to take over the Alsatian role from me — didn’t they want the line to move faster?


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This entry was posted on July 10, 2013 by in Citizen and tagged , , , , , , , .

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