I took amma to the other part of town today formerly known as that part of town where i grew up, went to school and got married not exactly in that order. Amma gets her pension in a bank near our old house... we had to go there for some paperwork. then to the post office because the last time there was a discrepancy in the account balance. This was over a year ago and so I managed to go and get it fixed.
what struck me today... how far removed from that life I now am. Walk into a nationalised bank and there are oceans of people. young, old and relatively poor. they stand in lines, they look forlorn and desperate, they are spoken to rudely and need someone else to fill in their forms. the bank officers treat them like flies, they bark at them and do so much of redundant paper work its not funny. We needed a bank account statement for 4 years for amma. I was sent to 4 different counters before I was pointed to the right place. I realise that my jeans and kurti and relatively young and educated persona got my work done in a fraction of the time it would have otherwise taken. the guy who was printing the statement took 45 minutes to do it. not becuase he didnt want to, but i realised (as i was standing by his side) that he had no clue how to operate the banking software! he kept feeding in the wrong details and making mistakes because he was choosing the wrong options. such is the state of the computer literacy of our banking officials. Having only dealt with citibank before, where things get done in a single window system this was so irritating. If you need to submit an application or get a statement or any other non money transactional work done, you just queue up to a single person who will take care of everything. So the number of papers, vouchers, bank account books and signatures required today boggled me. Ditto at the post office. The lady at the counter asked me to fill in some forms, i couldnt make head or tail of the archaic language that was printed on it.... plus she kept mumbling instructions and i had to ask about 4 times till i was clear.
we had lunch at a friend's place and then came home. Picking up biryani for K on the way. The roads, the people, the shops .... nothing has changed. What has changed is that i have moved... to a newer cleaner more orderly part of town. Ofcourse we pay 45 bucks for a kilo of rice when my friend served me superfine sona masoori rice he gets for Rs. 28! so we do pay a lot of invisible taxes!
I love the feel of the old hyderabad that i grew up in for sure.... am not so certain i could go back and live there tho....