A divine machine

A divine machine

Recently, I made for the neighbourhood photocopy shop as I had to get a 40-page lease agreement copied to have it registered before renting out a residential property I own in Mumbai. Registration could not be done online and called for a visit to the registrar’s office with original documents and their photocopies.

I was appalled at the sight that greeted me. I found myself at the tail end of a long serpentine line of young aspirants to the constable’s post, with sheaves of documents in their hands to be photocopied. Their faces were awash with anxiety. The long queue was reminiscent of the demonetisation days when hundreds of people stood before banks to return currencies which had lost their status as legal tender. There are several photocopy shops in and around the housing colony I live in. Visits to others yielded the same result – long lines of anxious looking people.  

All this bespeaks the unavoidability of the photocopier, shattering the prediction that paper is well on its way to becoming a mere metaphor. Is not this prophecy just a castle in the air? You often need to take photocopies of your Aadhaar card, bank account passbooks, driver’s licence, PAN card, passport etc for one reason or another.

Ever since its advent, the copier has assumed great significance and those owning one can do a roaring business. Especially now, what with the Aadhaar card metamorphosing into a super card and the government mandating that it be linked to various services like communications, banks, insurance and so on. This necessitates taking innumerable photocopies of bills and documents pertaining to these services as not many exercise the online option.

Some banks have entered into the spirit of Aadhaar card seeding so swiftly that on approaching one recently, I was greeted by a board displayed at the entrance, warning account holders to comply with the instructions regarding the linking before the prescribed date or risk having their accounts blocked. That was enough to make people panicky and off they went to the photocopier.

Often, we overdose on instructions when it comes to taking photocopies. When the bank or any other service provider wants only one copy, we take more. At times, it’s more than two thinking they may ask for an additional, and because we doesn’t want to risk it. I was, like several other account holders, unwittingly boosting the photocopying business.

School and college students make a beeline to have their notes copied which again bolsters the business. Little wonder, my neighbourhood photocopy shop owner lamented the other day that summer vacations have always had an adverse impact on his business.

The photocopier has indeed revolutionised the workplace. It has now assumed, if I am not profane, a divine status and has become the most sought-after machine and will be so until the disadvantages — legions are they — of a paperless office are done away with.

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