Friday, March 16, 2007

Stamp Paper Follies

This post should have published on 2/20/07, but the technology gods were not friendly.

In the process of obtaining exit papers for my daughter and me, I have been reintroduced to my friend, the Stamp Paper. I also learned that when a uniformed policeman sits behind the reception desk at the police station, he will not really tell you anything helpful. In my case, I was told by this policeman to get my statement notarized at a local courthouse. When we returned with a notarized statement, he admonished my Man Friday for not knowing that it should have been put on 20 Rupee Stamp Paper. I still don't quite understand the need for different denominations of this Stamp Paper... I have put statements on 40 Rupee and 20 Rupee stamp paper while I have been here, but I still don't know why one statement can cost more than another. I am told that it prevents people from filing false reports, but there is also a black market in false stamp paper!

Also - I was astonished when my Man Friday told me to stay in the car while he went to get my statement notarized, without me or any of my supporting documentation! I was sure he would be sent back. I told Man Friday, "Really, are you sure I shouldn't come?" to which he replied, "No need, madam, why? Seeing you will only make them ask for more money!" He came back within five minutes with the notary's seal and signature.

When we returned to the police station with our notarized 20 rupee stamp paper statement, a plain-clothes clerk was seated behind the reception desk. He wanted nothing to do with the statement i worked so hard to get for him, and instead wanted me to sit down and take dictation. I had to include terms such as "Dear Sir" and "Faithfully Yours," and include where I resided and what I did for a living. It felt like third grade all over again, but I finally got my statement reporting my lost passport.

While I was attending this "letter writing tuitions" with the clerk, my daughter was running amuck all over the police station lobby. When I tried to rein her in and keep her by me at the desk, she would cry and start a tantrum. I was surprised and a little annoyed when all the people in the lobby insisted I let her be and give in to her whims, saying they could not bear to see her unhappy. I have seen this same class of people beat their children in public, for even a small infraction, but my kid they don't want to see have hurt feelings. What a country!


Naveen said...

A search for "stamp paper" in google, landed me on ur page. Wow, good post, but let me tell you, what you have seen is only a tip of an ice-berg. There are lot of such so called "formalities" which does not means a thing to a man with commonsense and logic. Its way too easy to get the most important document for citizenship, passport, in Bangalore. You start with rental/lease agreement, and the saga would end by paying Rs 500 to the police guy for verification and Rs 25 to the postman on delivery of your passport. :). "Notarizing" is a mockery of the system in Bangalore. Go to Mayo Hall on MG Road, on a working day , you will realise the "valuelessness" of Indian System, and its lawyers. You can get a statement that you are the President of India by paying just Rs. 100 and another Rs.50 for a Stamp Paper of denomination Rs 20. No I am not kidding. !!!

Nitin said...

firangi is not a very kind word in hindi..though u can use "pardesi" instead or something..but firangi is used here in terms of a little abusive meaning.