“A chain reaction…. is a sequence of reactions where a reactive product or by-product causes additional reactions to take place aka. A single event leading to a chain to events.”
This was the first term which came into my mind last month when I went out to get my passport renewed. I had applied for my passport while still in college and its 10 year validity is about to expire this Dec. I received an alert 180 days prior to the expiry date and promptly applied for renewal on the passport office website. Not knowing how much time it would take between applying and getting a new passport, I booked an appointment soon. I had a few changes in my passport like my address which would be different since initially I had given my hostel address; I also needed to add M’s name so that we could get a passport made for our son Shaurya as well. The official website of the passport department was not very helpful in what all documents I would need to bring. It just mentioned my old passport and address proof as required documents. :-) For address proof, there were n number of options. With govt. officials, you never know what they might approve/reject, so I decided to take as many as I could. Since I was to add my spouse’s name, I took along the marriage certificate as well.
The D day arrived, I & M took a half day from office and started together. We had heard that it takes a long time there hence we took Shaurya along as well. Would be a different kind of outing for him.. ;-) Dot on time, we reached the passport office also called the passport seva kendra (a misnomer considering the attitude of ppl there is not to provide any seva at all). The place was super crowded, with no one keeping a tab of who is coming in or going out. The first level is where they take your documents and assign you a token. This was grossly mismanaged. (I suspect maybe coz of passport agents trying to get their ppl in.) By the time we got our token number, it was more than 1 hour past our scheduled appointment time. Anyways after getting my token number, we went to the next level. The next level turned out to be pretty fast with my token coming up soon and I was assigned an officer who would be reviewing my application, taking my signatures, capturing biometrics, etc. And this is the place where I started a whole new chain of events!!
When I was happily posing for pictures and reviewing my application form with her, the officer there asked do I want to get my name changed. I was a little surprised since till that time I had not given it any serious thought. She said you have a marriage certificate and this should be enough to have your name changed. It sent me thinking…. I had to make it quick since I did not have much time to contemplate sitting in front of her and could not even go to M for guidance. I thought it would be easier to have the same surname as my son and husband in the passport. It might protect against any unforeseen issues that might come coz of last name mismatch..etc..etc. So I said why not? :-) And just like that I decided to get my new surname on the passport. The lady changed my name in the online application form, I made few more signatures and voila!! To the next level that is! I never knew name change could be such a simple process so I came back and happily told M about this. He was like what happened.. all of a sudden you decided to change your name. We would have to make changes in other places as well at least your office and bank account so that all these are in sync. :-( This was not the reaction I was expecting; I thought he would be super happy that I decided to take my post-wedding surname..but he had to go into the practicalities and leave out the subtleties. Anyways later he also agreed that it would be good to have the same last name and to keep things in sync but we should think these through and not make such decisions on the spur of the moment
Next level turned out to be the real level.:-) You see the first 2 levels have been handed over to a third party (a big IT company) and the third level is where government officials actually sit and check everything. The lady whose counter I was assigned to asked for my passport, I promptly handed over this to her. She then asked for original marriage certificate, gave that too. Next was address proof, I gave my original account statement/property bill. She asked for an address proof where I had my new last name. :-( This was where things came crashing down. I told her that this is the first official document for which I am changing my last name so I didn’t have any proofs. Since I have the marriage certificate, it should ideally work. She asked me to use the marriage certificate and get my name changed in bank account and come back with the new statement. I told her that ifwe are using marriage certificate as the base only why can’t she couple it with address proof in current name. But alas.. no logic works in govt offices. :-(
So here I am currently waiting for a name change on my bank account. Meanwhile passport renewal is in ‘On-hold’ status. Will have to go to the passport seva kendra again. However I am assured I can skip the first 2 levels this time. Let’s see!! When I went for change in bank account, I was advised to get the updates made in office as well as loan account as my salary credit or ECS debit might be impacted owing to name mismatch. (They did later clarify that it should not matter since this is based on account number and not the name per se). Anyways after coming back we took a stock of what all places I might need a name change at the minimum… turns out I need to change it in bank account, PAN card & office. Thankfully most of these have online application facility and shouldn’t take much time. But there are other places where I should make name change to keep it all in sync. Hopefully I won’t be needed to make changes anywhere else since there are pretty cumbersome affair with many other government offices and these usually have more repercussions!! Will have to wait to see the effects of the chain of events I sparked off on a whim!