Three incidents in the last week shocked/encouraged me to write this edition of Random Thoughts.
Incident 1: I was walking to South Block to find the status update of the application that I had submitted with MEA(Ministry of External Affairs). I was issued Gate pass and went for security check. The officer on duty told me that I could not enter the premises with the laptop that was kept in my shoulder bag. I readily agreed. Then I told them that I did not want to carry my shoulder bag also but they should allow me to keep it somewhere.
"It is none of our business"; she told me. I asked her what to do then. She asked me to keep the bag in the vehicle that I came by or keep it in the hotel where I stayed. I did not have both the options as I was travelling from Cochin in the morning flight. Then I approached the reception. They had also the same reply but tone was different; that's all. I asked the security officer whether it meant I should go back to Cochin to keep the bag and return.In between other officers intervened. They told me that almost every day they encounter with visitors like me who did not know these formalities. Then I asked them why cant they keep a safe room for keeping these bags. They dont have the answer though they claimed that they had reported the matter to their superiors many times.
Learning: When you go a Government office, you may be lucky if you a find someone to help you if you land up in such a bizarre situation.
Incident 2: Next day, I had been to MEA again. When I approached the reception, they told me that Intercom is not working in the entire premise. To issue gate pass, they need the instruction from the officer whom I supposed to meet. Since Intercom is not working, they told me that they could not let me in. I told them that I had to return to Cochin by evening flight so I could not postpone the meeting. Finally I have to give a list of officers in MEA whom I know there. After waiting there for 15-20 minutes, I was issued gate pass.
Learning: Intercom failure is costlier than your flight tickets.
Incident 3: Coming back from Delhi, I landed in Cochin airport. Emerging from the airport, I had the plan to pick Airport bus. But none had any clue regarding the bus timings. When I was loitering around, an auto rickshaw driver approached me. He said he was on the way back after dropping a passenger. When I agreed to his rates, he told me that there was a caveat; taxi car drivers can stop me as the autos are not allowed to pick from the airport. He narrated the incidents where the travelers were forced to take taxis in preference to auto rickshaws even though pleaded for the cost involved. I thought of taking this challenge and luckily no one stopped me.
Learning: if Auto Rickshaws can drop passengers, why cant they be allowed to pick. never understood the logic.