Archive for May, 2010

Taking admission in a government institute (most coveted IIMs or IITs) is not that easy. The conquest doesn’t end just at clearing the entrance exam, preparation for which has kept you devoid of worldly pleasures and sound sleeps. Some slogs to the limit that their body yells for blood transfusions. However, the state of eternal bliss which you experience after making into one of these institute makes you forget all the hardship which you had gone through. But the feeling of being at the top of the heaven doesn’t last long.

My euphoria came to an end, when I had to fill up forms for one of these coveted institutes under tight deadlines. The formalities had their own peculiar requirements. You had to get god knows how many certificates attested (even multiple copies, over the fact that the originals were already verified), medical certificate prepared, affidavit from notary, etc., etc.

One of the special requirements for the coveted medical certificate was that it had to be prepared from civil surgeon or medical officer and it should have ‘round’ stamp of the government hospital. The instructions clearly stated certificate of a private practitioner would not be considered. Here the question is when a certificate prepared by private practitioners (even after proper tests) are not considered legitimate, why are they allowed to practice. Why were they even given licenses at the first place?

Well leave aside the debate of government and private. When it had to be prepared by a government hospital then it had to be, end of debate. I, who considered Google as an answer to all of my unanswered questions, searched for the government hospital near my house in Noida. Following the Google map, I reached the government hospital in sector 30. But, unfortunately I came to know that Google is not always right and the hospital is shifted to sector 39 due to on going construction work at sector 30 site.

Having no options left I turned my bike towards sector 39 hospital. Reaching the hospital, I parked my bike. As soon as I parked, a man appeared out of the blue and wrote my bike’s registration number on a slip and handed over the slip to me. One of the disadvantages of living in a metro city is that you have been offered parking slips every time you park your vehicle, even at the remotest location of the city, contrary to my home town where you can park at your own free will and free of cost. Moreover, the charges varies from parking to parking, a wonderful fact is that you have to pay Rs. 5 for parking in sector 18 market near McDonalds, while it is Rs. 10 when you part near The Centerstage Mall, just 50 steps from McDonalds.

Anyhow, I pocketed the slip and walked towards the chief medical officer’s office. There, I told the peon about the certificate and he asked me to wait. After some fifteen minutes of waiting, the peon introduced me to a medical officer, about 30-32 years of age, who took my format of the certificate and asked me to follow him. I followed him like a sheep. When we reached near his cabin, he ushered me in, neglecting the folks waiting outside his cabin. The people waiting outside his cabin gave me disgusting looks, some of them might had uttered some unceremonious words, for breaking the queue. I, gave them a lame look, conveying ‘What can I do?’ through my smuged face.

Inside his cabin, I sat on a stool near the medical officer’s chair. He examined my eyes, ear, and mouth with utmost disinterest, and asked me whether I had hydorcele. I replied with negative gesture of my face with a streak of embarrassment on my face. He then filled, signed and stamped the form. I was startled looking at the form; it wore a rectangular stamp instead of the prescribed round stamp. Here my analytical mind came to my rescue and I quenched my own anxiety thinking that what difference does it makes, the stamp has doctor’s name, designation and the address of the hospital. What else a hospital seal should have? Thanks to my analytical mind; otherwise, I would also have gone crazy as one of my colleagues has gone over the round stamp.

All these sequences led to the main incident, which has inspired me to write this post. As soon as the medical officer handed my certificate, I just stood up, with utmost happiness and hurry and said thank you and extended my hand for a hand shake. The officer ignored my extended hand and said 120 and started looking in other direction. I felt embarrassed again, but curtailing my embarrassment, I said “deta haun pehle haath to mila lo”. Hearing my blunt comment, he shook hands with me and congratulated me for my admission to the hallowed portals. I gave him the coveted 120 (one lush green 100, straight out of ATM and two soiled 10, which might have been exchanged atleast 100 times each) and again thanked him for the certificate. While I was leaving his cabin, I was thinking only one thing- Is the hospital really government? How different and illegitimate would a private hospital certificate would be over the one in my hands?  Later, I found out that I was among the fortunate few and that some of my colleagues had paid as much as 400 for the similar government hospital round stamp.

The drama doesn’t end here, when I reached the parking lot, I put my finger into the small right side pocket (the one above the long one) of my jeans to retrieved the parking slip, guess what, it wasn’t there. Not finding the slip, I started fumbling with my pockets and turning each one inside out. After few minutes of struggle, I found the slip in the same small pocket, which I searched in the first place. What a moron I am? After finding the slip, I glanced over it for the parking charges, I knew from my experience there are different charges for different parking slots. The slip shows Rs. 5 for a two-wheeler, I took out Rs. 5 coin from my wallets and handed it over to the parking guy. The parking guys was bewildered and said “saat rupeya bahiya”¸ I showed him the slip and said, “is per to paach rupeya likha hain”, to that he replied, “ab saat ho gaya hai who purani parchi hain us per likhna bhool gaya”, to my surprise he look the slip and wrote seven on it. I said OK and took back my coin and handed him a Rs. 10 note. He returned two one rupee coins and said “ek rupeya nahi hain”. I pocked the two coins and turned on the ignition of my bike and drove away.

On my way home, I was thinking what’s the difference between the medical officer (an MBBS) and the parking guys (may be 12 pass) both being corrupt; just the former sits in an air conditioned cabin.