Friday, November 18, 2016

Report from outside a bank: 'achha din' for an 'achha aadmi'

One of many life lessons learnt in bank queues over the past few days: if you want your work done quickly, try wearing the mask of a Samaritan-activist. Outside Kotak Mahindra in Saket yesterday, after an hour and a half of waiting in a line that was cheekily moving BACKWARDS instead of in the direction of the bank entrance, realization dawned that some people had left their names and numbers with the guard and were now being admitted into the premises despite having just shown up and not having stood in line at all.

A gregarious middle-aged man decided enough was enough. He left our “official” line, pushed his way to the door and began an impassioned speech about the injustice being done to those of us who had been waiting for hours, especially – pointing at the women’s line – “yeh bechari ladies, jo kab se yahaan khadi hui hain”. Inviting the rest of us to join him in his tirade, emboldening even the quietest of the women to yell at the guards, he speculated that the people being let in were relatives of the bank staff; that he could see them having tea inside, chatting away and taking 20 minutes over what should have been a 5-minute transaction (this could well be true); that we should call “the media and 100”. He loudly and ostentatiously made a call to someone from a TV channel himself, then continued complaining for the next 10 minutes – never about his own predicament, only about how much the rest of us were suffering. And he banged on the shutters. A guard warned him that the bank officials would call the police and have him taken away. “Haan haan, bulaa do!” he shouted. “Jail mein daal do mujhe.”

After some more of this, the door opened slightly, a voice said “Uncle, aap andar aa jaayiye”, and that was the last we saw of Uncle until 10 minutes later when he emerged with a smile on his face and his bag looking much bulkier than it had earlier been. Some of the people around him made angry sounds about how he had got his own work done despite having been much further back in the line, and what about the rest of us, why didn’t he get the staff to let the ladies in as well etc. “Kya bol rahe hain aap log?” he said, making his way through the crowd and towards freedom, “If the police had come and arrested me, would all of you have followed me to jail as well?”

[And no, the rest of us didn’t get any cash. Didn’t happen today either, this time after standing in line for more than three hours, and despite the bank manager coming out at intervals to supervise things]


  1. Sir I love your article and I would love to share them on my WhatsApp group. So if possible please make some arrangements so that I will be able to do do.

  2. Thanks, Sanket. I don't know what I can do about this - can only suggest that you post the link on your Whatsapp group. Or copy-paste if that isn't too much of a bother.