The officer in Power.

They say that you should follow the system, the system is definitely right. But who may I ask makes this system? Who follows the system? Who executes this ‘system’? Are all the people in the system following the system? Can any one answer that, truthfully?


I don’t think so. I don’t believe that anyone can tell me the correct answer, or I don’t believe that the answer to all of the above questions can be answered positively.


I will tell you which system I am talking about. I am talking about the government officials, about the government methods of doing the things; of the system we are supposed to follow implied by the government. I don’t usually interfere in these matters, I like to stay clear, nor do I like to have my opinions about such issues because I know I don’t understand everything related to it, and that I may be wrong. But today I am furious and raging with a very small incident, which has some how decided to not leave my nerves.


I was at a government office today, trying to understand the process, which needed to be done in person, and by the end of the day all I could hear was, “Take another appointment and come gain.”


Well, this is not the very first time I have been postponed so I will share some of my experiences here when it comes to such official issues.


Most often than not, you are called for at a very punctual time, which in any case you must not miss. So you reach the place before or on time since you don’t want to mess up, and as soon as you reach you think everything is so systemized that you will be done in no time. But as time ticks by you see absolutely nothing happening around, except for the time ticking and you getting restless. Then slowly you reach the lunch hour, and realize that the person being called before you has still been waiting, so you do the math and think of how to kill time without using mobile phones. Finally the time comes when your name is being announced, and honest to God sometimes I have felt that I have been called in for some hearing in a court. But then you are to wait in a second waiting room, where you find the person who came before you. Another few minutes, may be an hour, and then finally you are next, but oh alas! You forgot the tea break!! You hear another laughter and a little bit of gossip, trying to find out what exactly they are talking about, what is so important and serious, that is keeping them for more than 30 minutes for tea. But you hear nothing.


Then finally, you go inside in front of the official, all nervous in my case, because these things never go right with me in a go. You just don’t understand why. So you see a lethargic old guy in front of you sitting and sipping that tea. Wasn’t the tea break over? Anyway, you shove your files in his way, and then he pretends to be occupied with something else. Then what seems like an eternity to you, he gets free from whatever he was doing and takes up your files, and examines them as if he was looking into a crime report.





What’s wrong?


But he will not say anything; he smiles instead. So everything all right, you guess? He seems to be in a good mood, so you just try your luck and ask very, very politely what all the delay was about? Why the 11:30 appointment had to be kept waiting till 4:30 to which he replies very callously, “Oh, we have a lot of work around here. It just got delayed.” You smile so, so politely that your jaws hurt when you do it. You try to understand exactly how busy he must have been, (Drinking tea for 30 minutes?) Anyway, of course you are polite your work isn’t done yet, when suddenly he finds a mistake in some of your papers, and he says this is wrong and that you need to rectify it. And suddenly he is absolutely rude and all business as if what he was going through was after all really a crime report. Your time is up suddenly, you realize as he calls for someone else, but you are not even answered. By now you have lost the entire day’s patience, and are bold enough to ask how to rectify it, since you don’t know all the rules about it. He simply avoids you. You are right there, but you could not be right there too. The other person is in a flux as to talk or not, but he goes on anyway, and suddenly the very professional official realizes that there is a flaw in his file too. “How to rectify it?”


A blank face looks up at the two of you, asking you to leave. You both do not move, and seem to wait for the answer. Of course you cannot talk up to him, remember, your work isn’t done yet? And the ego these days are most certainly taller than the person’s height. And so you cannot even talk with him now, with the fear that sooner or later you will have to come back here, to get your work done, and then he will make sure to keep you waiting more, or worse to not do your work, basically to make your life worse. After all he can do it, he has the power, at least you think so then.


So, back to waiting for the answer. The flaw can be rectified with only words that your stupid, stupid brain don’t get and then since you know that you cannot simply take any of this shit longer, you decide to leave. Just when you show your back to him, you hear the third person’s voice asking the same question politely again, to which there is a fuming answer from the person at power. You turn back; to see a scene as if you are in a school, the principal expelling a student and realize the situation isn’t any different. It could be a funny situation, but since even you are facing the same thing, it isn’t anymore. You feel humiliated. It is only natural that not every person knows everything, and it is his job to tell you what is wrong. Even if it isn’t his job, there is no power bestowed on him to shout at you or disrespect you. Yes, he has power, but he cannot simply degrade you. He would not want to answer, so he should not, but how in the world is he allowed to do that?


Yes, it is a monotonous job, sometimes people get irritated, and sometimes the people that come to that officer are those who don’t understand things easily. Some are illiterate, and have no idea what to do, but they are there, trying. You understand that the job requires the same work 8 hours a day 5 days a week, all year long. But remember whether you chose it or not, it is your job, and whatever the circumstances, you have no right demeaning the other person. Had someone from any other business or sphere behaved this was, there could have been a solution. There are people who listen to the customers and their grievances, probably leading to the person in power being fired. But since this is a special case, you know anything you do isn’t going to work. Here, even you have to be a loyal and honest citizen, and in most cases you are not. There is no possible way to avoid dealing with him. You will have to do it, whether you like it or not. So you breathe in and leave the room, for now!!


Peeping back you find the officer in power glorify in his days work, and signing off for the day. You stand and wonder what you have done with your day? Nothing, except realizing that that the officer in power is always right.


By the time you leave, you don’t even care if the work is done or not, you are simply too tired, from dong nothing and waiting. You suddenly realize that you haven’t had anything to eat since morning and wonder if you should go home, or go out eat, or put in the effort to rectify “the mistake”.


You hear someone say that he was just doing his job, he has to make sure that nothing is filed wrong, and that the security is more important, no mistake should happen with the paperwork. Of course no mistake should happen otherwise the whole economy would come crumbling down, otherwise so many crimes could be committed, and as it happens every one is so specific and responsible in their work that we have no such issues ever.


But you just don’t care now, and go home and ramble this in your blog, and may be even disrespect someone who might be into government offices and who might be reading this. Again, not everyone is the same, and I might not mean this to you, but yes, I have the right to say I am yet to find a day, and a person who would not take too much pride in his authority and that my work has ever been done so much as a little smoothly.


I am sorry if I have crossed a line here. I may not have faced this entirely today, but yes this is more or less the truth that I always come across.


Yes, we have to follow the system, but does the system follow the system? I don’t think just getting frustrated with your job or losing it when someone is trying to understand what you are saying is completely following the system. And not to forget the unending wait, today, tomorrow and I don’t know how long. Yes, I agree it is always important when it comes to the work of government, but do we as citizens not have anything else to do? I mean yes, the officer in the power has important work to do, but don’t we? Probably not as important as his, but I can safely say that I have never kept my customer or client waiting all day long, not because I fear getting fired, but because I value time, theirs and ours. I have never shouted or been arrogant to one of my clients, not because I am scared of losing my job, but because I think it is unethical and immoral.


I may not know much, but I am absolutely certain that unless and until we learn to value time (everyone’s), and learn a little morality (The irony, this being said in a country known for its culture and morals), we will never ever change!

Published by Moushmi Radhanpara

A bilingual writer, Moushmi Radhanpara has authored three poetry collections so far, namely POSIES and 03:21 AM –An Ode to Rust & Restlessness, and Resignation of an Angel. She is also scribbling an unplanned rough draft of a story as a part of NANOWRIMO 2020 and hopes that something might come out of it. She has also co-authored two books, The Lockdown Stories and Mirage so far. Her poetries can be found on her blog and a few other online portals. She believes in the fact that a better reader makes a better writer. Reading a 100 books a year is her latest obsession. She can be found either drunk on coffee or hiding away from everything and admiring the gorgeous sun.

17 thoughts on “The officer in Power.

    1. Oh yes, server down is definitely a common hear excuse. As I said in one of my comments it always, always makes me feel like Mussadilal from ‘Office Office’ if you are aware of the very old series. All we do is move from office to office, desk to desk, for God knows how long.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Bureaucracy, or the rule by an intricate system of bureaux in which no men, neither one nor the best, neither the few nor the many, can be held responsible, and which could be properly called the rule by Nobody.
    Hannah Arendt

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry to know that you have to go through all that and in the end the work is still undone…I guess if these system officers work properly then we will make India what we always dream of but Alas these officers and their ego…Btw I like the way you expressed your thoughts about all those reasoning which goes in our mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh God…going to a government office to get some work done freaks me out completely!! I get anxiety attacks!!! What you described is so true!! Happens all the time exactly like this only..!! It reminded me of my horrible experience last year…..Last year I had to get some work done and I went to one govt office ….overloaded with files, dirt and busy-looking workfree babus!…why it’s not cleaned at the very least i dont understand! Even the smell of govt offices is disctinctive and gives headache and panic!!…maybe that’s why they dont clean it to keep that smell intact to uniquely identify a govt office!!…well i went there and they gave me a big form to fill which i had no idea (it looked like a leaf out from an ancient text!)…..i somehow filled it and when i went to submit the babu had left for the day…at 4pm!!!!! I was asked to come next day at 9am…i went next day and after waiting for hours when i finally got to meet that official he asked me submit an application as well…i someone managed a paper and wrote it and by that time it was lunch hour for them 😑….i had to wait in that dingy office sitting on a hard creaking bench trying to take in all the air from an ancient slow moving fan on a hot summer day!! When they returned and i submitted the application he asked me to submit it to another official…when i went for that, found out that he was on leave and I should come next day at 9am!!!! I have loads of patience by the way so I endured it all and came back next day to submit application to that other official who casually looked at it and said this cant be processed from this office and i should goto the main office!!!!!!!! I was flabbergasted!!!!😑 like really???? After making me run and sweat for 3 days now they are telling me it cant be done here!! But i was really determined to get this work done so decided to goto that other main office next weekend (i already had wasted my 2 working days for this and couldn’t take more leaves so decided to go next Saturday)…and btw that main office happens to be 15km away from my place…you can understand that much distance in Mumbai traffic!! Took me an hour or more to reach and when i went and met another babu he gave me another form to fill and asked me to come next day!!! Why? Because the person who does this only comes between 9-10am!!!…like really?!!! I still didnt say anything and went away to come on Monday….i reached before 9am and when he was finally seated and comfortable and ready to start i gave my application (i was first person in the queue so my turn came quickly)… he looked at it for a while and started writing something when he suddenly stopped and said that this is falling in the jurisdiction of the other office and i should go there..and that ‘other office’ was the one in which i had gone initially and wasted 3 days!! That’s when i lost it! 🤯 But still managed to keep cool and politely got into an argument explaining everything and how i really need it to be done!! After much haggling he finally agreed to process it and then started the endless rounds of verification, proofs , documents, notary, etc etc…i was so angry that i got really determined to get it done…inspite of all that it took me 2 months and 4 more trips to that main office to get the work done! Worst experience of my life!!! 😣 and i have excluded all the delays, waitings, encounters with weird babus and agents, exhausting commutes and hungry stomach in all the above details…pathetic really!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can see how frustrated you would have been. It is exactly same here. I think I should not say more about it because I am still mad about it.
      It only reminds me of Mussadilal from Office office, (If you remember or know the series..)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is the perfect example you gave here! Mussadilal and shukla were hilarious and ironically depicted the true state of affairs of a govt office!!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Redtape is a norm, a norm close to compulsory. Being an NRI I have been trying to get some paper work completed and every time a portion of my vacation is spent in these offices and the job continues to be undone. I guess we just need to be patient, simply because the job is ours.

    Liked by 1 person

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