Sunday, 7 September 2014

Man, that’s how the Government of India works-2

As usual I was in my office at 9 AM and was busy disposing off couple of pending files. Normally no visitor would come at that time. I would usually clear all outstanding matters and set the agenda for the day. But that day I had a visitor at an unusually early hour.
Visitor: Good morning Mr Arora. I am Air Commodore So & So and I have just taken over as Air Attaché to the Chief of Air Staff. I thought that I must meet you today itself.
Me: Welcome to New Delhi, I hope and wish that you have pleasant and fruitful tenure.
Visitor: How can it be pleasant? Mine is the most difficult and taxing job in Air Headquarter. That is why I am here in your office. I must immediately settle my family. I must immediately get a house. It is impossible for me to leave my office even for minute. I may not even be able to meet you again in my complete tenure. Please ensure that something is done immediately.
Having already worked in the system for 17 years, I knew he was being rather dramatic, for rarely there was an officer in complete Government of India who was as overworked as he was pretending to be. Everyone had enough time for his personal errands, foreign trips, training programmes and for availing leave that would otherwise lapse. But I did not wish to spoil his exuberant mood.
Me: You should immediately meet the Quartering Officer and give your application for allotment of house. In your capacity as Air Attaché you are entitled to get a house on out of turn basis. But sometimes there is a waiting list for such out of turn allotments also. The Quartering Officer would be able to tell you about that.  He will tell you how many officers are already on the waiting list.
Visitor: Mr Arora, I believe in one thing. If you look after me then I will look after you. No doubt about that.
I was taken aback. It was an open secret that people in the system look after each other. But till that date no one had made such an offer to me and with total assurance. For a moment I did not know what I could say.
Me: We will definitely look after you, it is our duty. But I don’t think I need any looking after.
Visitor: but I mean it, you look after me, I will look after you. Anything you need from us just name it and I will see what can be done.
Me: For the moment I think you should immediately submit your application for the house. If you delay it, someone else may give his application and score a march over you. You may get relegated in the waiting list.
Visitor: Oh! Yes, you are right. I will immediately give my application, but don’t forget what I said.  You must look after me.
The officer left my office. I spoke to the Quartering Officer and told that he could expect a visit from Air Commodore So & So. I suggested the officer should be allotted a house immediately but strictly as per the laid norms and procedure. I never met that officer again. But I kept a watch on his progress in his career.  

The Air Commodore rose, with passage of time, to become an Air Marshal of the Indian Air Force. 


  1. Is this series linked to each other or are each story self contained. If the stories are true, I think attaching some tid bits of artifacts may help readers connect to the stories

    1. Thanks Sneh, these stories and anecdotes are based on my personal experience in GOI, each post is independent of other posts