Today morning , I went to the Provident Fund office in Pune. This is a long pending issue - when my husband moved from Mumbai to Pune , 2 years back , he (or rather the firm) had submitted a request to transfer his PF account from Mumbai to Pune . As of now we have had no intimation as to the status of this.
Visit to any government office requires a mental preparation, building of fortitude, the right mindframe of doggedness, perseverance .. I dont know how much I was prepared for it , but 'its just an enquiry...I just need to check the status ..after all its 2 years..Im sure its done already'...I thought.
The auto-wallah , on specifying the area , immediately asked if I was going to IBM , and I smiled.. it always strikes me as how these people need to ..and keep themselves updated about latest going ons.. and how he pinned me right for being a s/w professional..am I stamped or what.
Neways, once I told that no...I would be going to the PF office .. he un-hesitatingly asked me if I 'knew' someone in there..and as I replied in negative again..he recounted his story of PF woes.. wherein his PF of 22 years work with Philips is still pending. He said that those people directly ask for 10% of the payable .. and they are un-willing to even tell him the total amount he can expect. Since he used to be paid on daily wages system, he doesnt have a record of what sum it might be..
We both berated the system..and said..yeah..Surely everything is computerised and automated now , and they would have all the information at their fingertips, its just that they do not want to tell it.. etc ..etc..
But the talk had certainly damepened my spirits..
I started feeling like the grey sky outside..
I went in.. it was 1045 am ..people were still drifting in.. chatting lazily.. no sense of urgency here...I went to the enquiry section, where a person took down the PF account number I gave, wrote it on a form and re-directed me to the 3rd floor.. 13th group.. I climbed up...someone pointed me to the right section...which comprises of shelves and shelves of dusty old files..4 females sitting idly, their tables empty and clean..work completed ? or not even started ?? and...no computer in sight ! I could not believe it..though my pragmatic self mumbled that maybe I was expecting too much..and ofcourse when they say 'India Shining' they dont even know what it means ..
So here I am ..among a group of ladies...ordering for kaande-poha and chai...gossiping about yesterdays rains..and whose house was filled up...and how heart wrenching it was to hear about all this...
I intruded with my pithy little request...trying to gauge the most active and authorative among the group...who could help me.. she reluctantly rose from her place...checked a few files and said that there is no such entry... so...what does it means ? that the entry is missing..or the transfer never took place...the matter is discussed and I am informed to leave the acct number and that inquiry will be done.. 'we will need to check other records' .. how long will it take ? can I call at some number ? when can I expect an answer...no one meets my eyes...suddenly all talks go through me.. not sure..some number and name..no idea..need to check..blah blah..boom...I disappear.. Im not there anymore..in the eyes of those ladies..
and they resume their work-day .
And I indulged in some retail-therapy to forget the depressing experience...