Or how to forge your own signature.
Our NRI friend Pappu Patligali recently applied for a personal loan from a local bank. He was planning on applying to one of the swank new privately-operated banks, but was advised not to by his elderly patients. “All our lives we have only transacted with the Tropical Bank of India,” they said, sagaciously.
Pappu picked up the form and got together an application packet with all the primary documents, supporting pieces of evidence, and annexures. Properly-dressed and armed with the bulging file, Pappu arrived at the bank at 11 AM. He walked up to the loan officer, who was annoyed that he was interrupted from relishing the juicy gossip in the morning papers. A Bollywood starlet was pregnant, and there was speculation that the father of the love-child was a flamboyant Australian left-handed batsman.
“Yes? What can I do for you?” barked the loan officer as he peered up from his glasses.
“Well, I came the other day. You gave me a form so that I could apply for a loan…”
“Hmmm. I need ALL documents on this list. If you are missing one only, then sorry I cannot help you,” said the loan officer as he sipped his chai. This was usually an adequate deterrent for most applicants.
“Yes, I know. I’ve brought the listed ones plus a few others. Originals and attested photocopies.”
A look of disgust crossed the loan officer’s morose face. Why were these people intent on spoiling his day? Everyone should have known by now that his mornings were devoted to scanning the newspapers. He did an hour of work in the afternoon and then went for tiffin. After a final round of chai, he was in the habit of leaving for the day so that he could yell at his wife and kids.
As he was about to find some excuse to put this aside, the loan officer looked up at Pappu and felt pity for him. Perhaps it was the martyred expression on Pappu’s face. He said, “leave you application materials and come back after one week.”
One week passed by.
“Hi. My name is Pappu Patligali. I applied for a loan last week.”
“Yes. Please sit down. I am sorry, but you will need to fill out another application form,” said the loan officer.
“What? Why? I thought I had included everything” said Pappu incredulously.
“No sir. You were supposed to provide your full signature on the line here,” chided the loan officer.
“But I did. Right here. P. Patligali. That is my signature.”
“No we need FULL signature for official purposes. Please, you write, Pappu Patligali,” corrected the loan officer.
Realizing that arguing was going to get him nowhere, Pappu sighed. He picked up another form, “signed” it with his first and last name legible, and handed it over.
“Thank you sir. Please come and check again next week.”
“Next week? But you’ve already taken a look at all the documents! Why should it take so long?” said Pappu furiously.
“No please understand. This is not America. These things take time in India or have you forgotten saab?” said the loan officer sarcastically.
Another week passed by.
“Well, have you now had a chance to look over my application?” said Pappu, hoping to finally get some sort of resolution.
“Sorry, I cannot help you. You will need to apply again,” said the loan officer coolly.
“What! What the hell is going on here? What’s the matter now?” yelled Pappu.
“There are three signatures on the application form. In two you have signed ‘Pappu’ with the capital ‘P’, but one looks like small ‘p’. I will get in trouble because it looks like fraud case.”
Pappu was furious. “I signed those documents in front of you! What is going on here? I demand to see the Bank Manager.”
“Arre, no use getting gussa. What will Manager do, saab? I am here to help you, na? But try to understand. We are understaffed and this is lot of work for me.” said the loan officer with a tragicomic look on his face.
Pappu finally understood what the delay was all about. He reached for his wallet to provide some chai-paani to grease the wheels, but was stopped short. “What you are doing? Not here,” said the loan officer. “Your address is on the form, saab. You are married, na? I will come to your house and bring some sweets for bhabhiji and little ones. Oh and you please not to worry, saab. I am telling that you will get loan.”
© Text, 2010-2012, Anirban