A Pain called Indian Passport Office!

Here’s a billion dollar question. Who is the jerk that came up with the design for the Indian Passport Website? www.passportindia.gov.in, if anything is just another huge pain in the posterior.  It is ridiculous to think of the pain a legal citizen of this country has to go through to get a passport renewed. I had held myself back from writing a scathing post a few months ago about this issue, but going through the harrowing experience of renewing the passport has only augmented the hatred that was building up against the process that has been put in place and also against the enterprise that is maintaining the web interface.

Sure, India is being ruled by a bunch of fuck-ups (and am not talking of only the ruling party, it very much includes the opposition too) and it only shows how determined they are in screwing up the citizens of this country.  While it is not sufficient that they siphon of vulgarly huge amount of moolah, they want to extract a savage happiness out of the inconvenience meted out to common man to access some of his most principle and rightful services & needs. 

If there ever was an example for a perfectly good idea being messed up because of the sheer idiocy of the system, then our passport system would be a wonderful specimen to be considered for this. Sure, there are many contenders in India at the moment, but then, for me, this holds the spotlight. So there! 😛

God forbid but if you ever have to renew your sorry passport or get a new one, under the dreamy eyes of ever having to fly out of country on a “phoren” “assignmentu”, then ensure that you’ll get out of Bangalore and revise your records to reflect that you are residing in a different city, heck a different state altogether!  

So what’s my point of grouse you ask? Its either me, or every freakin’ person in Bangalore is traveling abroad and is traveling in the next one month! For the past 15 days, I’ve had the glorious opportunity to be logging in every day at precisely 9:45 AM (because that’s when I am able to reach office, though I leave home at 8:15 AM) and realize that there are no appointments available in the 2 PSKs (Passport Seva Kendra a.k.a Pesky Seva Kendra a.k.a Pathetically Sadistic Whatever-the-hell-of-a-Kendra) of Bangalore. Somehow magically everyday, between 9:00 AM & 9:45 AM ALL the available slots for the day one month later gets filled up.  It is really interesting that every day, we have the exact number of people logging in at precisely the same time and exhausting all the available slots that too one month in advance!  Sherlock Holmes would’ve smoked away to his death without being able to resolve this mystery! Well, being the logically oriented lot that we Indians are, am sure you’d tell me that I should’ve managed to login precisely at 9:00 AM or even before and then try to book the appointment.  Pffttt! So what happens when our esteemed self logs in at 9:00 AM?! The page throws a blank! Apparently TCS doesn’t have enough servers to support the traffic, or the great esteemed Government of India, just doesn’t bother to pay TCS well enough for the maintenance of the website.

Sure India is a country teeming with techies and brain whizkids of the world, who are phenomenally great in “servicing” products for other countries. We are a bunch of people who take great pride to let the world know that we do the maintenance of great many softwares for them, and even compete with eachother for an opportunity to go “onsite” and serve.  But talk about developing a user-friendly application for home use! And it raises a stink that can send a bean-fart for cover!

The website for the Passport application is anything but userfriendly.  It is not that I did not have the opportunity for booking an appointment.  Nearly 3 months ago, I did manage to get the appointment and even visited the PSK for the renewal of the passport. The website listed the documents that were needed for the renewal and when I presented them there, the chap unceremoniously dismissed them quoting another document that was NOT listed on the website.  Now mind you, that I had even called the so called “customer service” number listed on the website, only to be told that the documents on the website was sufficient and would ensure the renewal. But apparently, the shots are being called by someone else inside the office, and surely he does wear the pants! The lack of information being one of the issues, the design and usability testing for the website is far from satisfactory!  One wonders, what sort of idea an IT major such as TCS which boasts itself of great customer satisfaction and service record, had in mind when even reviewing this! Are they so phenomenally dumb that they couldn’t grasp the simplest of the facts about what an end-user would want to experience?!  I feel, a bunch of disgruntled guys, who hadn’t got an onsite-opportunity designed this portal and are maintaining it.

I fail to understand the logic for opening the booking window for exactly one day in advance! If I am not able to book the slots for 6th June, why shouldn’t I be able to book one for 7th today?!! Would it make sense for a person to be trying everyday to book at 9:00 AM, causing the server to crash unable to hold the traffic.

I just fail to understand that a country which is a seething cauldron of IT bigwigs, has a pedestrian interface and design for the government websites. Many a times, the certificate for the session that is opened is lost mid-way, and the user is asked to relogin again and again to the passport website.  Legitimate passwords are lost, and I have been left wondering if there is an expiry period for the password or if something went wrong! If the security features for a critical website such as the one containing our passport related details are so poor, what security are we looking at for our protection?!  Maybe am blowing matters out of proportion, or maybe I am just venting out a lot of frustration, but accessibility for services is not a light matter atleast IMHO. 

As a country, we have been complacent towards the governance.  We have resigned to the fact that our politicians are rogues, and rowdies, criminals and dirty scoundrels.  Sure they are all of that!  But who is stopping us from bringing about a change?  Who has stopped us from voting against these same sterile and incompetent eunuchs to power or preventing them from ransacking a country of its glory?!!  I know this is rhetoric.  Flushing out a shit that has accumulated in our system since decades due to our negligence and complacency is not an over-night, one blog-post task…….

P.S:- Interestingly enough, though there is a provision for online submission of the form, each time you fill it out and hit the “submit” button, a sweet technical snag appears out of nowhere and the submission never happens (Also, the error codes seem to change each time the submit button is hit!!!!!). Well, do you care to save the form in between so you don’t have to refill it all through once again?!! You imbecile fool you! Ofcourse even then the technical snag pops out like the Jack-in-the-box. Surely the joke’s on us! Thank you Govt. of India/Ministry of External (sucking) affairs & TCS! Go soak your head in a bucket of water for me please!


The pain of submission


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    • Vinodh on May 18, 2011 at 10:01 AM
    • Reply

    Wow, Praveen. The content looks like a photocopy of my problem 🙁 . Did you happen to sort this issue out? I’ve been struggling to get this done for my father from past 6 months. PSK really sucks and taking the blood out of us. Please keep me posted on the improvements, I couldn’t get appointment any of the PSK’s 🙁 (

    • Vinodh on May 25, 2011 at 11:41 AM
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    Could you please update me on this, praveen?

  1. What you have expressed in words here are backed up by thousands of unsolicited people’s screams. I had only one way to express that, through a photo, look here and you will agree with me http://images.orkut.com/orkut/photos/PQAAAP1hpSF85cz_7er1TrHx9bCV8-vaVkNuHndJdOFyTmI4C9MMTZyYSoNBZNWq_k-1pTUV6wHpm1vuUl1XE1pxzg4Am1T1UEBbISuwwRuwAHGCxTHlBJAOrzw9.jpg

  2. @Vinodh: Sorry for my late response. I hadn’t checked on your comment at all! I haven’t got any updates as yet. I am planning on writing a scathing article in the newspaper about this and let’s see if that spurs them into action.

  3. @Praveen: Buddy boi! I’ve been seeing your photoshop skills and have really marveled at them. Dude, you do seem to have metamorphosized into something since our Engg days 🙂 Kudos. And yeah.. the pic hits it right on the nail…

    • Surendra Agarwal on August 28, 2011 at 3:35 AM
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    Praveen. The content looks like a photocopy of my problem too but at coimbatore. I’ve been struggling to get this done for my son and daughter’s passport renewal. PSK really sucks and taking the blood out of us. Same thing is happening to me at PSk coimbatore. when I took my first appointment, they asked me a docoument which was not mentioned. Now I m not able to get appointment. I think all the PSK sucks the same.

  4. @Surendra: I can relate to and understand what you are going through. Getting an appointment isn’t the end of the harrowing journey. Honestly nothing is really assured unless you make it through to the final exit without any glitches. I didn’t know that one has to take up the online appointment in Coimbatore also!! I can only suggest that you persist and not give up. Please do carry all and every relevant original documents of both your son and daughter from their birth certificate to all the marks card and any relevant details of your own that may be necessary. It may seem a overkill right now, but to return for the sake of one document is a pain in the a$$ and better avoided. I suggest logging into the passport portal by 9 AM in case u r not able to find the slots.

    • Ravi on November 17, 2011 at 6:03 AM
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    Good one Praveen. I’m just warming up to these things now that my passport is due to expire in Feb,2012. No matter whenever I try to book a slot it just simply says “No appointment slots”.
    No wonder people going onsite are not willing to come back. Maybe they’re willing to struggle out there to get a green card than come back and struggle to get their passport reissued.

    BTW is there any time frame when I should be trying to book the slot at PSK? I’m astounded that there’s no in-person application submitting process.

    • Ananth kumar V A on November 20, 2011 at 1:19 PM
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    Exactly same is happening to me, though you guys are aware that it open by 9AM, and gave a try, me without knowing that(not highlighted anywhere in the site) was trying to book appointment for few days by logging in randomly for a day, then called customer care, and came to know that window for coimbatore opens @ 6PM. From then onwards its around more than 30 days i am trying, no luck till now….

      • Lucky321 on December 18, 2011 at 5:45 AM
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      Guys, you got to understand one thing that the process is changed. One need not wait in queue for his/her turn for submission of the manually filled Application form, post PSK. As usually the RPO is always crowded, and you may not know when would be your turn. Eventually you ending up screwing up the whole day. All you are now required to do is fill up the form and upload it (Offline process), anytime you wish to. At around 5:30-5:45pm (Sunday thru Thursday), you need to login and navigate to the Slot booking window and have things ready (I would Suggest you to have multiple slot booking window opened). As soon as the clocks ticks 5:50pm or 6:00pm mark, start with your process. Yes, I would agree that it is Pain. But that is until you get a slot. Trust me, it has been a great experience with the interview. One would definitely feel – “THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT GOVERNMEMT OFFICE”. Things are pretty smooth (provided, you have all the documents required in place. Need help on the required documents? refer – “Document Advisor” section).

      To all those who are yet to Apply, all the best. And to those who have been trying for a slot, refer above 😉 I hope you have great experience of Professionalism. KUDOS to PSK!!!

        • Lucky321 on December 18, 2011 at 5:53 AM
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        Additionally, I would like to let you guys know the portal is accessed by close to 100-thousand people a day, and the Applications processing capacity is 200 – 300 per day (including Tatkaal, Normal). So the processing would be slow. You would DEFINITELY need enough patience.

        I also missed to convey about the special preference/consideration given in case if you have a kid < 4yrs, or if you are senior citizen etc.

        It took me hardly half hour to complete the whole process, for my kid (a yr old).

        Double KUDOS!

          • RIAZ on June 25, 2012 at 10:55 AM
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          excusmeee 321…..i want to tell u onething that…..most of the tcs guys @ enquiry is asking bribe of 500 to 3000 to take appointment and to accept document….plz monitor that first..it happens in most of the psk……i have got inormation from my friends that it happens in Mumbai,chennai,coimbatore,bangalore(persons@ counter)enquiry persons asking bribe…etccc it countsssss

    • Radkrish on December 19, 2011 at 12:43 PM
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    I’m trying to book a slot with PSK, Coimbatore. Trying it out morning (starting before 8AM) and all thru the day and again in the evening but without success. Ruthless website! It stops responding at 8:00AM & 6:00PM most of the time.

    • Balaji on December 27, 2011 at 2:45 AM
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    I doubt Lucky321 is a TCS guy.
    I am also one of the thousands who still struggle to get an appointment with PSK Coimbatore.
    Whatever Praveen has written on May 6th, still holds good very much todate. Only change that has taken place is the appointment booking time is changed from 8 am to 6pm.
    Clearly no one understands the Logic of booking appointments only for one day in advance and that too during a very shore window-time of about 10 to 15 minutes from 06PM.
    I do not know the roll being played by the so called intermediaries / travel agents who enable applicants to apply online and “arrange” appointments. If one were to approach them, you will get to know the complete list of documents one has to submit which are not stated in the “Document Advisor”.
    For Eg., Does anyone know or has come across a scenario of :
    1) For Tatkal applications, you will have to submit not 1, not 2 BUT 3 address proofs showing the same address exactly matching with commas and punctuation ?
    2) And the PAN Card letter showing the address is not accepted as POA ? They insist on IT Return submitted alongwith PAN Card letter !!
    3) An affidavit in Annexure – I format is needed for all Tatkal applications – which is not at all mentioned anywhere in the “document advisor”
    4) And Bank statements / passbook with the present address are required for the past 1 year with the same address ? Imagine the plight of applicants who have changed their address during the previous 6 / 9 months and who needs the passport renewed urgently to fly out on assignments next week ?
    5) And for Normal applications, they insist on 2 address proofs and not “ANY ONE” of the listed documents as stated in the web site!

    Atleast for argument sake, if we can accept the logic of seeking Tatkal appointments previous day only (ie Tatkal appointmen for the next day only), what is stopping them to allow 24×7 appointment bookings for Normal applications for the next 30 days atleast, if not 60 or 90 days ?

    Forcing everyone to seek appointments online only during a 15 minutes slot at 6 pm is clearly defeating the very purpose of online application submission. Is it Online ? It is just equivalent of (if not worse than) asking the thousands of people applying to physically queue up at the gates of the PSK daily at 06 pm !!!

    Does anyone have the experience of the visting the PSK paperless (except the appointment letter) and obtain the passport with the “uploaded documents” ? They insist on 2 photocopies of each supporting documents, self attested ???

    It is high time that RTI activists in each Passport region obtain the statistics of the PSK to highlight the frustrations of millions of passport applicants.

    • bv on December 28, 2011 at 6:52 PM
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    Perfectly written Praveen. I am facing the same problem with Coimbatore PSK. I am trying to get an appointment for more than a month, I do know how to approach. I live in Niligris and not possible for me to visit the PSK in person without an appointment and take a chance…. Can any one tell me if we go directly to PSK without an appointment?

    • U. Chatterjee on January 3, 2012 at 2:19 PM
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    I fully agree. Today is 3rd January 2012. The problem is same as what the author wrote so many months ago. TCS should get a kick in the butt along with the officials who employed them. Curse them all.

    • Nithya Ramasamy on January 25, 2012 at 10:49 AM
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    Whoever came up with the PSK must rot in hell. I’ve been trying to get an appointment at PSK Coimbatore for weeks now. All I need is a PCC which is probably going to take just one day to process and I’ve been fused to my computer at 4 pm everyday ! Is there an alternate solution or do I have no choice but to curse the system everyday?

    • hackman on February 3, 2012 at 10:45 AM
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    I know it’s not good site. Is there any photoshop and web developer who suggest good UI and layout to tcs. May be they like your design and replace the site with new design.

  5. @Hackman: Well I am sure as well thought out that suggestion was, TCS would never do something as sensible! And they do have the talent to do a better design.. which is what bothers me! That inspite of the existing talents, they chose to do something mediocre!

  6. @bv: Going to PSK without an appointment would be futile. Its only a seva kendra. If there is a regional Passport office, (this is different than a PSK), then it would help to go there on a tatkal basis. Otherwise for fresh applications, online is the way to go.

    @Balaji: I can totally sense your frustration. I do hope the issue got resolved. Much as there are glaring loopholes in the system, it is something that TCS as a vendor and MEA as client should take up together. This is the reason why they should get the ground reality collected properly. There has been certainly no (or a totally ridiculous) usability test done not only on the website but also on the process of getting the passport or renewing it.

  7. @Chatterjee & Nithya: You should also write about this to the local newspapers and bring it to their attention. I surely hope and ardently wish that your arduous experiences with the PSK ends soon and on a good note!!

    @MEA & PSK: I know this is just one blog! But seriously you guys need to do something about your functions! It’s a shame to see citizens suffer to get a passport!

  8. hello friends ..
    now problem is that how can we get appointment.. ??????????
    any other time please share…
    every 6 pm website is open .. but 6.20 sec close.. all appointment is booked.. so what i do????

  9. @Rohit: Hi … I can understand the frustration. I am not sure where you are from. Assuming that you are writing from Bangalore, I suggest you go to the Koramangala Center. In case of unavailability of online appointments, for a fresh passport application, there is an option go to in person to the Koramangala Center. If you are not in Bangalore, find out if there are any Passport Centers (not passport Seva Kendras) in your region and visit there in person.

    • Vijay on June 8, 2012 at 6:45 AM
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    Now the question,
    Who is the problem creator?
    How do we resolve these issues?
    Where should we complain for resolution?
    who can help us provide more information?

    Lawyers?/Journalists? How do we make our problem go public and let Central government officers hear them?

  10. @Vijay: As far as my opinion counts, the problem is not about one person or a group. It is a basic lack of understanding between the 3 aspects of end-user, service provider and the authority itself. There has been no needs assessment done whatsoever in order that the process of applying would be simplified and made efficient. In order to resolve these issues, ofcourse it must be brought to the notice of the people/agencies involved. Writing about it online is one of the methods, you can certainly involve the media and also directly give feedback about these services and write to the grievance columns in the news papers. Going by the number of comments this post alone has received, I surely feel that there are many more out there who’ll respond if it comes out in print and visual media.

    • REMO on June 25, 2012 at 10:45 AM
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      • RIAZ on June 25, 2012 at 10:49 AM
      • Reply

      Yes i agree remo…..TCS employees @PSK asks bribe one of a guy is asking openly that plz give 500 i will take appointment and also for processingg…..inside another asking 1000 rupees to my friend what is thissss really a bull shit…..i thought govt officers wil only do bribe but these private guys too joined with govt n asking bribe of 500,1000 etc…..as u said all these enquiry counter persons are doing most plz monitorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrand take action onthem n make india to be bribe free atleast in passport office PSK…….with cries…..indian citizen……….

    • Armaan on June 25, 2012 at 1:17 PM
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    I have trying for last 2 months to get an appoinment for my wife As per PSK’s advice I went to RPO to get a Tatkaal appoinment. But she was rejected for Tatkaal as she was not found eligible to get a Tatkaal appoinment as she doesn’t have a job or any emergency requirement overseas. I feel like burning RPO office down. Anonymous group if you are hearing us please crash down 1000 crore TCS website and let them know that we will not accept any shit thrown at us.

  11. @REMO/RIAZ: It is clearly evident that both of you are the same person. While i thoroughly empathise with the pain you’ve undergone, I strongly suggest against using ‘ALL CAPS’. And as for the claims of the TCS employees asking for bribe!! Well, much as I criticize their design and maintenance of the portal, even I know that is NOT True. So buddy, keep your cool and try to work with the system.

  12. @Armaan: It is another clear case of miscommunication where each office or the representative therein doesn’t seem to have a full awareness of the process/procedure. It is indeed a shame. I am not sure where you are from or which PSK you approached. There was recently a Passport drive launched in Bangalore. I hope you were able to make use of the drive in case you were from Bangalore.

    • Saravana on June 27, 2012 at 11:41 AM
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    My experience… Once you get the slot in PSK the remaining process is a bliss

    However I understand that there are some unfortunate guys who are trying to book the slot for months together.

    My suggestion is why don’t they open the slots of remaining days until 1 year to 10 years. You might ask what if some pranksters create fake Ids and book all slots un-wantedly. We can get around this by collecting the Rs.1000/Rs.2500 which the person needs to pay by the end of all process in advance.

    Instead of day10, I pay my fees on day1. I am not paying anything extra at the same time i will not misuse the system by paying Rs.1000. This way they will know which PSK is fully booked till the year end and plan additional staffs to clear out the volume. The passport mela/drives can be conducted in those centers where the need is high for that particular year. This way only legitimate cases come in for Tatkal applications.

    The educational institutes can also facilitate by applying for the passports in the final year of the course so that when the guys graduate they will have a passport in hand. Let me know what you think.

    P.S: I had my own tough time getting a slot in PSK Coimbatore weeks together i had almost all the feelings shared in the article and comments.
    – Saravana

    • Arjun on August 10, 2012 at 12:01 PM
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    Where is India going with this kind of a site which is of prime importance ?? This is a global way of gauzing the government on internet, and yet nobody seems to care .

    Same thing for me too , Tried and tested my luck for over a month now from Hubli PSK.

    Right now ,,, I am again waiting for the appointment slots to open.. thirty minutes left. Fingers crossed … Hope i get it this time


    • Arjun on August 10, 2012 at 12:34 PM
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    Got it guys ,, just clicked on the slot blindly , now to have to manage to go there somehow 🙂 lol

  13. @Arjun: Stop not till you succeed.. thatz the mantra for our passport website! 🙂

    On a side note.. this post seems to be the most popular one of all!!! I wonder if anyone from the passport office has actually taken a look at this!! 😉

    • praveen kumar on August 27, 2012 at 1:06 PM
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    Two month of trying and no hope in sight for getting appointment at PSK coimbatore…
    Damn them…Damn them all…!!

    • Vin on January 8, 2013 at 9:53 AM
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    Applies for 2013 & Baroda, jai ho Bharat Sarkar & TCS.

    • Wazid Ali on March 26, 2013 at 6:11 PM
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    Ye XXXXXXXX ki website hai !!!
    Congress ne desh ke le li hai ..pehle kitni aasani se passport ban jata tha .
    ab ye aam aadmi ki pahunch se door hai !! appointment lene ke liye dalalo ko ghus do .
    Congress khud ghus khoro ko paal rahi hai !!
    Aap sab batao ek illiterate person kaise appointment lega jab ki usne kabhi computer dekha bhi nahin ho

  14. @Wazid Ali: I am sorry as I had to edit your comment dude! Clearly .. I wouldn’t allow any sort of profanities on this website (except ofcourse if I were to use them! 😉 ) LOL just kidding! But I do understand your frustration! (Been there done that!)

    There are options available even for illiterates to get the passport and get it through the system. ye samasya Congress ya BJP se juda hua nahin hai. is mein takneeki.. evam thodi bahut samajhdhaari ka maamla hai. jisne bhi passport website design kiya hai aur jisne bhi passport banwaane ke liye jo bhi process banaya hai.. unhe sochna chahiye tha ke kaise ise.. user friendly aur secure banaaya jaa sakta hai…. aasha hai aapka problem jald hi theek ho jaayega.

  15. just one word.. sucks.. PSK sucks…

    • samir on September 6, 2013 at 12:09 AM
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    • mallika hunsur on August 13, 2014 at 6:30 PM
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    shings are not better now anyway..after going through swarms of people and reaching counter “A”, with all my docs in place,I went through to B and then had to wait for my turn at “C”. In one hour, I saw my token number flash on the screen and took 3 secs to reach the designated counter.. Just to listen to those magical words ” your turn is up.wait until your number flashes again ” wow! I thought!!
    Anyway waited like moron and my number showed up again.. I walked in and the official coolly mentioned that I failed to show up in the like she 10 mins ago!!
    I thought the hell with him, I just need to get my work done and walk out of this hell hole. Got done with a seal from the guy at this counter and walked outind you I had all docs in place as I was adding my surname, which means we provide an affidavit and newspaper clippings of your changed name.
    I had my bank passbook for proof of address and wow, I get home and log on to see the daft official at the first counter somehow either eliminated “Bangalore” from my address or the system didn’t populate it from my application form or the official didn’t tally the address on my bank passbook with what she entered!!!
    So now, I have to avail leave from work and visit the RPO at Koramangala to get “their” error rectified.
    Expletives fail you and you are left victimised.
    A bunch of bird-brained jokers sit behind the counters and try their best to ruin any attempts you are making to leave this place.
    Wish me luck for my trip to the RPO tomorrow!!!

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