I am an Infosys fellow at IITB. Every semester, my fees for the semester is directly deducted from my fellowship fund. This semester, however, due to some 'technical' reasons, this could not happen. I, therefore, had to pay the fees on my own and get it reimbursed. As luck would have it, I managed to lose my fee receipt. Therein started my struggle with bureaucracy at the main building, IITB.
The main building is supposed to be a black hole, even light does not have hope against the very epitome of darkness created by the 'babus' in various sections. The accounts section is supposed to be the worst. The indifferent behavior, the perennial scoffing and stinking bureaucracy of the accounts section is almost legendary.
Today, I had another one of those very 'cherished' experiences of visits to the accounts section. Last time I went there, I had a big fight regarding payment of my scholarship. I had not been paid scholarship for three months, times were desperate because I did not have any money and the accounts section had refused to do anything about it; it being the year ending week. I had lost my cool, complained to the Dean about the 'misdeeds'. Nothing happened.
This time I was aware that some such thing was on the cards. However, men live on hope. They say that the last thing we lose is hope. So, hopeful that my job would be done quickly, I went to the accounts section to ask for a duplicate receipt. I was first sent to the cash section, then again to the accounts section and after talking to a few 'babus' I finally landed at the correct person's desk -- who unfortunately was on leave. So my job was handed over to another 'babu'. But this person was 'extremely busy' and did not want to take the responsibility of issuing a duplicate receipt -- what if I misused it? So he asked me to come the next day.
Frustrated as I was, I returned to my lab and started writing this blog on bureaucracy, wondering whether it is one of the biggest problems plaguing the government organizations in India and world over.