I was born in Mumbai when it was known as Bombay and other than Pune, I have spent the maximum number of years as an adult in that wonderful city. I have family and innumerable friends there who have been part of my life from the sixties of the last century. If only the traffic there can become about half of what it is, I would happily return there to live again among those lovely people.
Yesterday I heard a story from a very dear friend which brought back so many memories of the kind of city that it is and I want to share it with my readers.
My friend is from out of our state and had to fly in and out of Mumbai on the odd occasion to attend weddings etc. His younger brother had been in all kinds of troubles and leading a nomadic life and has now got into a home for the aged being looked after by strangers because he is ill with his memory totally gone. His two children are in Australia and New Zealand and had come to arrange for a passport for him so that they can take him with them and requested help from my friend as they were afraid of handling the bureaucrats in India.
My friend simply shared the story with the Passport Officer who thought for a while, waived some formalities and said that the passport will be issued if the police verification report can be speeded up. My friend went to the police station where the home is located and the official there too was very helpful but said that the home would come under the jurisdiction of the neighbouring area’s police station and guided my friend there. My friend on reaching there was pleasantly surprised to be met the officer in charge who was awaiting him. All cooperation was extended and the formalities completed in no time and now the passport is on its way to my friend’s brother’s home.
The children will come again to escort the father to Australia where a home has been found for him and so hopefully a stressful situation faced by my friend will now resolve itself.
The point made by my friend coming as he does from a different city however, is that both at the Passport Office and the two police stations, the officials concerned were humane, efficient and did what was expected of them without any fuss or expectation of quid pro quo.
I have had similar experiences in Mumbai both at the passport office and at three police stations during my various stays and can vouch for the character of the people involved in these places to be proud of.