December 22, 2011 By: sumi
One of my best friends is trying to get an organization registered. But in order to do that, she has to get a police report. In order to get the police report, she needs to collect five people to attest to her lack of criminal behavior.
In order to get these people to come to the Satdobato Police Station during office hours, she needs to contact everyone in her family, friends’ circle, neighborhood; begging and pleading, apologizing in advance, cajoling and maybe even mildly bribing anyone who might find themselves available at this time.
In order to be able to sign on her police report, these five kind acquaintances/relatives/friends need to provide a copy of their citizenship card.
After they’ve signed on the police report – a report that is not typed on any letterhead and signed but without an accompanying stamp by a policeman – she is asked to take the letter to the Wada Karyalaya where she has to get an official stamp and signature from the Wada Sachib.
After dragging ourselves from the Police Station and into the Wada Karyalaya, what else would be awaiting us but the absence of the Wada Sachib.
“Sachib ji ta bahira meeting ma janu bhayeko chha, bholi bihana aunus na!” someone who looks like Sachib ji’s assistant informs us.
Everywhere my friend goes, she’s learned to take down the numbers of people she needs work from. After taking down the Wada Karyalaya’s very own mobile number, she informs me, “I’ve taken the police dai’s phone number too.”
How helpful is that? She called the Wada Karyalaya today only to be deferred for yet another day. All she wanted was a signature accompanied by one stamp.
The only thing I’m worried about is that the process of trying to get a police report is so draining, exhausting, frustrating, it might turn my beautiful, peace loving friend into a monster on a crime spree by the time she actually acquires one. To assist with my deions, imagine – Godzilla! Oh, the irony of life.
My friend is full of energy, charisma, imagination. She could do a world of good. Maybe that’s why she wanted to start this organization. But the way that systems compel us into complicated, difficult and often meaningless situations that leave us feeling dejected while authorities indulge in a false sense of power, much of this energy turns sour. Filling out an application has become synonymous with emptying out your positivity. And the bureaucracy builds a curious labyrinth of tasks and challenges while authorities watch from a distance in sadistic pleasure. Maybe it is supposed to be a test? Of how prepared you are to run your own organization? I, for one, feel like we could put our efforts into something more meaningful than tackling this tiring load of bureaucratic crap.
So even if you’re equipped with the best of intentions, you might want to think twice about starting an organization in Kathmandu.
Ms. Sumi teaches English to high school students. When she isn’t in the classroom, she likes to read novels, write poems, and spend time in the kitchen. She is also a great appreciator of wildlife and considers spiders, cockroaches and leeches as some of her favorite insects.