I-didn’t-pay-a-bribe

I can see the absurdity of even recounting an act that should be considered routine. However, today is the day, when I feel reassured that it is possible to get a task done in a government office, renowned to be amongst the worst, without paying a single paise bribe. Yes, it has taken time. Yes, there were some helpful souls at the Bangalore and Coimbatore offices. Yes, there were moments of doubt. Yes, I hated the experience throughout. Yes, my wife had more persistence and tact than me. Yes, the process is unnecessarily (or deliberately?) tedious, manual and convoluted. Yes, I did encounter some real crooks, cruelly poking holes at every turn but who shrivel when you fight back.

After 1.5 years, the transfer of registration of our car from Bangalore to Coimbatore is completed, with no bribes paid – directly or indirectly. While the re-registration was a 4-5 month long process, the refund of the road tax has happened today.

I know, I personally might not have done this without shunning the corporate life – I might possibly have outsourced the act of corruption to a middleman. Now that I don’t place a premium on my time, or rather know how to utilize my time while waiting endlessly, anywhere, I can play the game at their pace. We haven’t even drawn out the RTI weapon yet – then we can possibly challenge and change the pace as well. Gained confidence for more such battles. I hope, this resolve won’t wilt under more pressing circumstances.

And I hope, there will come a time, when I don’t ever have to boastfully recount what should be a routine act, and a bunch of 16-year old girls, accustomed to hardships, will not offer a rousing ovation for such a routine act, like they did today.

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