Just my luck!

The serpentine queue at the KEB office kept moving even if it wasn't at a brisk pace.

I don’t think I am Fortune’s favourite. Things never fall into my lap. It would be no exaggeration to say that I have to put two hundred per cent effort into whatever I do. Though it is good to know that what little I achieve , I owe entirely to my hard work, I would be less than human if I didn’t yearn for dame luck to smile on me at least once in a long while.

Here is the most recent example of my travails. The KEB (Karnataka Electricity Board) meter reader gave me two copies of a form. He asked me to sign one and took it handing the other to me. In response to my query, he explained that I had to pay an additional deposit as we had exceeded our quota of power. I asked him how to go about it. He said that I had to pay the specified amount at the KEB office and obtain a receipt.

I requested my daily help to pay it as she passes the post office to and from work. She said that the counter was closed by the time she reached it. I had the distinct feeling that she hadn’t gone there at all.  “Self help,” I muttered, deciding to handle the job myself. The daily help was oddly reluctant to let me do so.

“The counter closes at 1 pm. Your trip will be wasted,” she warned me. It was ten to one, so I shrugged off her objections and strode purposefully in the direction of the KEB office. It was only then I realised why my daily help had tried to fob me off. In big block letters was the sign: LUNCH BREAK 1.30 pm-2.15 pm.

I joined the serpentine queue. It kept moving even if it wasn’t at a brisk pace. I inched my way to the counter. I was fifth in the line when the shutter came down. Lunch time! Rather than go home and trudge to the KEB office later, I thought I’d utilise the 45 minutes to finish a couple of odd jobs. Then I plodded back to the KEB office.

At 2.15 pm sharp, the counter opened. I waited and waited. Line movement had come to a standstill. I craned my neck to find out what had brought things to a halt. The man at the counter was desperately trying to get the computer to work. When an irate customer asked what the problem was, “Server down,” was the terse reply.

Who ever said that technology saves time and energy? After what seemed an interminable wait (but was just 30 minutes), my turn arrived. As I was collecting my receipt, a notice caught my eye. ‘Bills can be paid at the post office also.’ That was the last straw. The post office is a stone’s throw from my house and there is hardly any crowd to speak of!

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