5 September 2022

There has to be a better way than this

As reported before, I had a very smooth experience with the Indian bureaucracy this time. The fact that India disallows Power of Attorney to be given from US meant I had to come to India for aa few hours to physically sign papers, give thumbprints and take pictures. But other than that, the process just glided thru. What helped us was that my brother had done a lot of running around beforehand to get paperwork ready and the buyer is somebody who works in the Land department of the state government. So, he knew the steps very well and guided us thru it flawlessly.

But what if you do not have these advantages?

After giving my thumbprints, while we were waiting outside for the authorities to take our individual pictures and all that, I noticed this very elderly gentleman sitting in a corner. I got very curious about him. You can see that he cannot see well (eyes seem almost closed). The shoes are worn on the wrong foot. What was he doing sitting all by himself in the property registration office?

I put my mask back on, went and sat next to him. And gently enquired – “Ekhaaney esechhen keno?” (Why have you come here?).

He was old enough that most of his faculties were failing him. His words were garbled and he spoke haltingly. After some time I realized that he had come to register his house in the name of his two sons. He has lived in Kalyani all his life. Built a house many moons back. Lost his wife. And now wants to make it easy for the transition for his sons once he dies .

Our conversation got abruptly interrupted when my name was called out for biometrics.

On our way out, I noticed he was not there any more. I figured his work was done and had left.

After the whole thing was over and the bank folks came and verified everything and handed over the checks, all of us – including the buyers side – helped ourselves to a round of hot tea by the streetside. (BTW, best masala tea I have ever had in my life).

It is then that I noticed the same gentleman was being helped by two younger folks – presumably his sons – on his feet to shuffle towards however it is that they had brought him.

I stepped up, bent to his head level and said – “Kaku, abaar dekha hobey”. (Sir, I will see you again).

He kept staring at the ground and mumbled something. I could not hear him with all the street noise around us. I simply stepped back and watched him slowly move on. Fairly sure in my mind that it had to be the last time I was seeing him.

Came back and joined everybody else for tea.

Felt pity for the ordeal the gentleman had to go thru. There has to be a better way to take care of such important processes for such elderly folks.

Posted September 5, 2022 by Rajib Roy in category "Vacations

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