Real Freedom

Sunita Giri 7:54 PM |

 Last October, before I left for Chitwan during dashain, I lost my wallet which had my citizenship card, when I had gone for shopping to New Road. Needless to mention, that meant visits to District Administration office to make it again. It did not take much time, to make it, but I had to face some of the bureaucracy ‘mentality’ of people working under such systems while making it.

Normally, they make the carbon copy of the what was lost, based in the number and pulling the exact information that was recorded in the first document. Digging back document in our our government office is not that easy, because those documents are not recorded in computer, yet the peon, who is the lowest in terms of rank base in offices, is the one who is the data bank in government offices and can extract the exact book from the piles of unsympathetically placed in any government recording system. In his absence, I guess the government office will get totally lost. But then, why those men are called ‘peons’ then ?

Whatever he is called and respect given for his knowledge bank, the case is, there was a slight problem in remaking my citizenship card, due to my incomplete birth date, and they were least interested to correct it this time. As if, there were not already many things, missing in my citizenship card. Such as there is blank, when there should have been my fathers name, grandfathers name and permanent address. I always have to face people, wanting me to fill the form, that says your father’s name and that also which says your grandfather's name. I always handover them my citizenship card and yet they tell me write what is here. 

How I wish I am dealing with intelligent people who get the point without talking or explaining in length. I would not have to worry about it by now, if, I mean if only  I was married and have my husband to have his name in my card instead of my fathers or grandfathers to stop thinking about those missing men's name in my citizenship card. Because I have made my card from Kathmandu under Bal Mandir guidance.  I know, at times it creates very uneasy and uncomfortable situation. Especially, when I know the name of my parents, yet its not in the paper. All my four brothers out of five has the name of their parents in their citizenship card but me. Oh, one of my brother, who was deaf and mute and also mentally challenged, got lost in India; when he was taken there, for treatment by our oldest brother. The later is the master of crook.

Oh, its he who did not paid much attention that I have my citizenship card with my parents name in it. in their absence the oldest one was needed to be present at the DAO, but.... At the end; I gave up, thinking, when these people were there to help me in any way to feel bad about their parents name not having in my card.  They were never there, for me to ease in my life, so what differences it makes; if they did not take any interest to put my parents name in papers ? Yes, it may have avoided me from facing some uneasy and uncomfortable look and question due to that blank space at times, but that's the truth of my life, I have to face it.

Back in DAO Kathmandu office, at one point, when one of the officer was flipping one more time the old record, with incomplete data, to be sure about my date of birth and was not ready to correct it, as I gave them. I lost my patience and and blurted out, “why do you have to repeat the mistake that was in my earlier record ? why do you have to take exactly; as if you will be hanged, if you make correction this time ? Tell me who is the person to go and talk, I will talk now.”  It so happened, that he was the man, whom I demanded to talk. He told me to wait for a minute and then went outside his room to talk to his superior [ perhaps]. Then he signed on the my newly made citizenship card, with the changes I had already made with the help of computer operator, convincing him that, I will see what happens next, in the next room. The computer operator had warned me that, “the sr. officers won't accept it.” “Leave that to me”, was my sharp response to him.

The officer wanted me to produce the birth certificate, before he signed on my document; so that he can be sure, it won't land him in trouble. That really shocked me again, because, first of all, I doubt I was born in hospital; and even if, my parents had those certificates, it must have got lost when the flood swept away everything in that river side hut which dispersed our family back in 70s landing almost all of us in Bal Mandir.

Just a couple of days before, I had to go to a bank to verify some of my personal document and again I have to face the same question and look, to fill forms, which says your father, grandfathers name and permanent address. I handed her my citizenship card and again she said me, to fill as it is here without even looking at it. At that point I lost my patience and then I blurted out a couple of lines in English, ‘to use her common sense’ and ‘see it carefully’. Its really hard to put my fingers, to the things that worked for me now, which she used at that moment, her common sense or my blurting out in fluent English; she did verified my papers with some hesitation, as she had to ask it to her colleague with no help.

At last, I got my paper verified, and the official document had just my name in it. No man’s name in my document. Suddenly, after looking at that document,  I felt deep sense of pride in myself and my single name. This document has allowed me to feel the en-measurable sense of pride in me and my condition, that I don't need a man’s name in any of my document. I don't need any man’s content or discontent to own anything or disown anything. For me this is the freedom; in real sense.

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