The days pass and my time is split between attending classes with guruji, practicing, shopping for food bits to supplement the canteen food which is no longer as appetising as when I arrived, washing my clothes by hand, toing and froing from the bank to deposit old defunct notes and withdraw new ones etc.
The bank trips are my favourite I must say! The pure pleasure of filling out a form to do the simple task of withdrawing money from an account is indescribable. As I stand in the bank branch, the dusty piles of forms, which occupy the clerks’ desks and a disproportionate amount of floor space, stand as testament to the fact that I am partaking in a process hailing from the colonial times. What a privilege! Having filled the form according to the current cash withdrawal limits, I join what I hope is the correct queue for withdrawals as there are no signs to remind me. I tell a guy who has appeared at my side out of nowhere and is standing closer to the lady in front than I dare to, that there is a line and that he is behind me. He argues and to my surprise the lady in front starts supporting him. My faked dramatic tone is insufficient to deter him snd clearly being a veteran in such scenarios he secures his victory. By the time I get to the front of the queue the clerk informs me that the requested withdrawal amount of 15000 Rs(the daily limit) cannot be processed as they have run out of notes other than 2000 Rs denominations and that I will have to complete another form for 14000 Rs. Double joy! Upon returning with a newly filled form he scribbles something illegible on it and tells me to go to the accounts clerk to get it verified. Joining the crowd gathered around the accounts desk I hold my form as close to his vision as I can, not that it will make a difference. Once he attends to me I return to the original clerk who scribbles something else on the form and then tells me to go to the manager to get the form approved. I am familiar with this process by now so I no longer need to say anything I just hand my form in silence to the branch manager, he does the necessaries and then I return to the clerk. I am both disappointed and gratified by the mere 7 notes I receive in return for the last hour I have spent in the bank.
India reminds me of the Ents of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings who don’t say anything unless it takes a long time to say and for whom it takes a long time to say anything anyway. Substitute ‘saying’ for ‘doing’ and you’ll catch my drift.