Sunday, September 24, 2006

My chronicles with KTC - Part 1

The Kadamba Transport Corporation (KTC) is Goa's state-owned transport corporation.

Goa has 5 major cities/towns(that is what i was taught in school). Mapusa is the northernmost, 13 kms to the south of which lies the capital Panaji. Further almost equidistant to the capital, about 30-35 kms away, lie Margao, Vasco and Ponda to the south, south west and east of Panaji respectively.

The bus routes from Panaji-Margao and Panaji-Vasco have only KTC buses plying along them. Passengers have two options - one, travel in the bus that stops all along the way to pick up passengers on the route(these are normally old buses, jittery and screaking periodically, like a 56 year old running the second marathon of his athetic career, frequently needing water breaks) and two, board the shuttles (faster, smoother like a 21 year old waiting on the bench at his first soccer game all raring to go) at either place and travel directly to your destination without any halts on the way. I chose the latter option.

I decided to buy a monthly bus pass which enables me to bypass any queues for shuttle tickets and walk straight up to the counter, present my pass and a ticket is reserved. Not only does this give me a feeling of self importance but it also happens to be convenient for a regular commuter who usually spends more time in the queue than in the bus. Using my infinite wisdom, i got my sister to laminate the pass for me after i bought it. Goa's monsoons can get the most intimately hidden things wet, and laminating it was the best idea that had come to my mind since the disposing the garbage in the garbage dump last Christmas. I got my pass nicely done with the lamination, and it was plastic coated, hard and crisp.

With a spring in my step, a song in my head, the smell of fresh cowdung in my nose and the pass in the pocket of my shirt so (and so very) close to my heart, i walked up to the ticket counter to swank my pass. Imagine my horror, when they told me my pass was useless! Why ?? Because they could not mark on it using their ball point pen. They had to strike off the date to make sure i dont indulge in my fantasy of travelling by the shuttle to and fro all day, and can travel either way just once each day. To strike off the date they used a 3 year-or-so old ball pen which was just not penetrative enough for the plastic coating on my pass. The ball pen was the KTC method of saying how they love the good old days of yore when punching a pass meant marking on it with a pen.

My pass was so adamant, it could be not stripped of the plastic coating. The coating and the pass had developed some romantic affinity for reach other, and it was like either both go or none go! So i was given two options by the KTC 1) Buy a new pass 2) Remove the lamination. There was no way out they said. I consulted some astrologers and numerologists (including the world famous Baba Halwai Haldighattiwale currently staying at Room 103 of City Lodge).

I could ask for a duplicate pass. I could convince them using fact or fiction to issue me one. Fact in this case was not as dramatic as fiction. That meant explaining to the staff at the KTC main office the real story. Great people care nothing for facts. They dont pursue their futures using facts, they create it using just about anything. All the people i had spoken to about the pass problem and told them all the facts, had laughed at me. They guffawed in such a manner, as though i was caught scratching my crotch on camera. Will Gandhigiri work?
Another alternative was taking the fiction way out and fabricating a i-lost-my-pass story and here is my receipt and please issue me another pass after offering your condolences. The issue with this was that i had to prove my pass my lost. I could have hired a lawyer to do that, but i thought i'd rather not spend on a lawyer. So i figured the way was tedious.

Glenda suggested i use a marker pen and ask them to mark the pass. So i took that way out. KTC guys have this absolute aversion to change. Some hold my marker as though it was some dynamite stick that can detonate any moment. The ego of the ball point pen has been hurt though and i have not enjoyed it.

Lessons learnt from the pass failure fiasco
1) Logic, commonsense, facts are alien in a world where rules taught 20 years ago still are the norm.
2) Avoid hurting a ball point pen's ego.
3) Never laminate paper.
4) De-lamination machines is a good idea.
5) Lawyers are more expensive than i thought.


Anonymous said...

jackson bab :D

Jason said...

Konn re?

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