Saturday, May 19, 2012

Aadhaar Cards Arriveth - A Traumatic Experience

The Aadhaar cards arrived in important looking envelopes last week. I was mighty pleased to receive my Aadhaar card because I had made much sacrifice to get it. But wait a minute - there are only two envelopes when we are three. The grumpy postman revealed the secret - he said he was making multiple trips to each household due to this rather haphazard manner of sending the cards by the Aadhaar people. Perhaps they have some complex method of segregating family members which we do not know yet. Anyway I was beaming all over with my envelope until I was asked by the Automatic Mood Corrector at home - Why are you so happy?

I don't know why I was so happy really. I was probably under the impression that the Aadhaar card would put an end to all my troubles and be the one card saviour that gives me endless access to all the good things in the world - a universal ATM card so to speak that I can insert wherever and get all that I want. To be honest this initial exhilaration was similar to the feeling I got when I got my many other cards - I have several from government agencies such as the IT people, the election card, the ration chaps, the RTO chaps - cards, passbooks, ids and such stuff which I have never used. Most of them lie in an old briefcase in the attic and I preserve them carefully in case some authorities decide to verify me.

When I opened my envelope my enthusiasm dulled considerably. Firstly the face on the Aadhaar card did not match my normally happy, vibrant, smiling, enthusiastic, handsome face. The face actually looked like the face of someone who was not in a good shape at all. I hid the card instantly from public areas. Upon discreet enquiries I found that most cards had photos like that where the people looked like they were freshly brought in from famine struck areas or some disaster or something like that. How could I ever use a card like this with a picture that no one would ever recognise? Least of all myself? In fact it is a good exercise to disown  oneself.

One would say - but that is how you look my friend! I contest that vehemently. I have many pictures where I look just fine and alive and happy and happy to be alive. I have proof. But when it comes to the government agencies I do not know what goes wrong - all the pictures look like they have their life sucked out of them. Does the government camera or mechanism have some process where they suck the life out of the faces even in photographs? It is amazing but every single picture taken by the government agencies has this quality. Is it about their lack of interest, about our faces after the experience there, about the mechanism - I don't know but that is the truth.

I hid the card away and it joined the other cards for life in that briefcase. I had also found out that the Aadhaar card with its impressive tag line "the common man's right" is merely helpful in availing government and non-government services in future. It is also only proof of identity and not an ATM type card and that's it. In fact they did complicate the identification issue as I expected - to establish identity one has to authenicate online, whatever that means. No one will ever be able to make out that the picture on the Aadhaar card is mine so I will have to authenticate online, offline and whatever lines they want me to stand in.

Anyway the Aadhaar card now joins the rest of my impressive looking identification cards which reveal one part of me only and take no responsibility for any other part of me. Most of them have not ever had the opportunity to see the world (and with good reason I should think) as they never have been used - they are practically useless. For now I am in therapy and have surrounded myself with some nice pictures of mine to get over the fright!


Rajendra said...

They should use Instagram, the picture enhancing software, maybe.

Harimohan said...

I hope they get those Instagrams soon Raja. I really hope so.

Friendship SMS said...

We are being dragged with nose strings. This country is being drawn into confused state and there must be some ulterior motive behind this program spending millions of rupees. It is managed by non Indians. Why we should give our necks into their noose. I feel any body staying in some country can become a citizen of India with the help of the people who manage.Unless it is thoroughly discussed in the parliament I feel safe not get this card and put our necks in their nooses.

Anonymous said...

online system sucks I put all details to get my e aadhar card waitied ages to get sms on phone.