Renewing an Expired Passport – Part 4

My previous blog entry on this matter covered Part 1 and 2. Part 3, which was to be appended later, found brief mention in an unrelated (or at least, not directly related) blog entry and here can be cursorily summed up as: got passport by mail. Normally, the story should have ended there, but – such is life – it suddenly picked up the thread several weeks later. I got a phone call from the police station. The cop wanted to know if he could drop in and verify me. For my passport.

I informed him that I had I already got my passport.

“True, but I still need to verify you,” he explained courteously, and went on to ask my convenience!

After a couple of false alarms, he did finally land up on our doorstep one Sunday afternoon. He had already requested me to keep some photocopies and photographs ready, and I had them in my hand, hoping to hand them to him and see the last of him, but no: he settled himself in the only chair in our living room and fished out a sheaf of papers.

Over the next 20 minutes, he slowly and meticulously completed his paperwork, asking me questions and diligently noting down my replies. He conversed with me entirely in Kannada and to my own amazement I managed to stumble along, replying mostly in English, but at least replying appropriately (I guess – because he didn’t get any thoroughly confused looks on his face like I have sometimes caused in my effort to speak my father tongue, Bengali).

That Sunday was one of Amit’s (rare) “get-it-done-and-do-it-now” days, and when the cop came, he (Amit, not the cop) was sitting on the floor in the kitchen doing battle with a recalcitrant drawer in the kitchen cupboard. He (again, Amit, not the cop) was, of course, thoroughly disgracefully dressed in tennis clothes (T-shirt and obscenely short shorts). The whole scene amused the cop no end and he smiled and made some comments to the effect that the man of the house should not be sitting on the floor and that, mind you, he often did have to fix things at home in like manner himself. Or that’s what I understood him to say, though honestly, my knowledge of Kannada is so rudimentary that he might have been commenting on the weather, for all I know.

Perhaps because of my attempts to converse in Kannada, or perhaps because of Amit’s comely attire and homely task, the cop seemed quite pleased with us. We, likewise were extremely pleased with him, because he did not ask us for anything, other than a glass of water and a stapler, which he used to staple his papers and then politely returned. Of course, as I had already got my passport, he did not have much of a basis to demand anything, but it was nice to see that he didn’t even try. He even went so far as to explain, apologetically, that the police verification process had been delayed as the papers had been sent off to the wrong police station. (This was quite understandable; strangely enough, though our nearest police station is not even 1 km away, the police station that our apartment complex belongs to is several km away and not connected by any clear logical or geographical link.)

My proficiency in spoken Kannada fell far short of allowing me to make any polite conversation with the cop, but, as he was leaving, and once it was clear that he was not going to make any unwelcome demands, I ventured to give it a shot. “Sunday’s not a holiday for you,” I asked in ungrammatical Kannada. “No, no, no holiday, in fact it is the best day for doing this work because most people are available at home,” he replied cheerfully, as he waved a sheaf of passport verification forms at me and disappeared.

Again, I conclude that the Bangalore police force, much-maligned though it is, is not all bad.

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