This is an almost 100% reproduction of a telecon I had recently with an Indian Public Sector Corporation from which my father had retired in 1975.

Me: Hello, Is that Ms.ABC?

Ms. ABC. Yes, it is. How may I help you?

Me: This is Ramana Rajgopaul, son of late Mr. K. Rajgopaul, Employee number xxxxxx calling from Pune. I wish to inform you that my father expired on the 6th of September and you may stop sending his pension henceforth.

Ms. ABC. Sir, please send me an email attaching a scanned copy of his death certificate.

Me. Madam, the death certificate will be delivered to me only after four weeks. If I don’t send the scanned copy, will you continue sending his pension till I do?

Ms. ABC. Sir, those are the rules. Please send the scanned copy of the death certificate.

Me. Rightho! I shall send it to you when I get it. In the meanwhile, you may continue sending his pension.

Ms. ABC. Sir, how about your mother?

Me. My mother died 13 years ago Madam.

Ms. ABC. I am sorry to hear that.

Me. Why? She was not your mother!

Ms.ABC. No sir, I meant that the spouse is entitled to get the pension till she is alive.

Me. Now, I am sorry. She has been dead the last 13 years.

Ms. ABC. Sir, this is not a joking matter.

Me. No, death is most certainly not, particularly of parents. I shall send you the email announcing my father’s death, and leave you to follow your rules. Good day to you Madam.

Ranjan, hearing my side of the conversation suggests that I must have been the first ever in their experience wanting to stop a pension till the next “Existence Certificate” was due. Very likely indeed.

My Day Was Made.

I get regular pension remittances from two Life Insurance linked Annuity policies. Yesterday, I received a demand from the insurer that I need to submit a Certificate of Existence from a Registered Medical Practitioner.

I promptly fixed an appointment with my GP and visited him with the request that he gives me the certificates.

He took one look at me and said that he was unable to give me the certificates. He refused to accept that I existed. I asked him whether he thought that I was an illusion, sitting before him. He then smiled and said that in his opinion, I did not exist. He strongly believed that I was alive.

I pretended to have a good laugh with him to get my job done, got the certificates in the proper format signed by him and bade him good evening and came home.

It was after coming home that it struck me that he had made a very profound observation.