Your support can turn a life
It’s that time of the year we get nightmares about -- when we queue up in front of the Income Tax office, where even the peon becomes a VVIP, and send you off on a wild goose chase. K S Parasuram gives a humourous, dramatised version of his experience while filing his Return.
KSP, a senior citizen, drives up to the` Bamboo Villa’ (anything but bamboo) -- the Headquarters of the Ministry of Finance -- dealing with Tax Matters.
- KSP : Enquiry Counter? (Produces his envelope.) Any pass to enter Room No 41, 9th floor?
- Counter : (Shouts back) ‘9th floor’ (while loading a refill into a ball pen).
- KSP : Any pass needed?
- Counter : (Shouts louder) ‘9th floor’.
- KSP : (Walks towards a lift and catches it just in time. Asks for 9th floor but operator says the lift would not go to 9th floor.) I’ll get off on 8th floor and walk up to the 9th.. (Operator is silent.)
- KSP : (On landing on 9th floor and asking a person seated in a peon’s place on a bench.) “Can you please tell me the way to Room 41?”
- Responder : I don’t work here.
- KSP : (Entering the main office.) I have to submit my Returns. Who will receive this Envelope please?
- Clerk : (Scrutinising the envelope) It is written Ward 23(3) . This is Ward 23(2).
- KSP : I beg your pardon. It is clearly written Ward 23(2). Kindly direct me.
- Clerk : Go to next to next room. Officer is sitting there.
- KSP : May I come in Sir? (And walks in.)
- Officer : Yes?
- KSP : I have come to submit my Tax Returns, Sir.
- Officer : You have come to the wrong place.
- KSP : Can you guide me to the right place, Sir?
- Officer : I think you have to go to the start, beginning with where the lift has landed you. On the 9th floor.
- KSP : (Proceeding to the starting point and entering the office he had already visited once, and asking another clerk this time.) Where’s Ward 23(2)?
- Clerk : That side.
- KSP : Which side, please?
- Clerk : Go that side.. (showing his left hand).
- KSP : (Finding what looked like a hidden passage and walking in and saying) I want to file my Returns. Please accept this envelope.
- Responder : Let me see. I am not handling this.
- KSP : Who is handling it, please? (becoming desperate with every passing minute without any direct answer coming in)
- Responder : That Section. (pointing to his right)
- KSP : But, I don’t see anyone there.
- Responder : Please wait. Someone will come.
- KSP : (Spotting someone looking like a clerk, who was walking in at a leisurely pace.) Can you please accept this envelope? (He became enthusiastic but his face fell on seeing the `Tax returns’, cursing his luck for not seeing any cash in the envelope on the occasion of Jamai shashti.)
- Clerk : The man sitting on that chair is handling it.
- KSP : But I don’t see anyone.
- Clerk : Wait, he’ll come..
- KSP : It is 12 noon.
- Clerk : Post-Jamai shashti.
- KSP : Can you please accept the envelope? I have been on my feet so long, with no one accepting the Tax Returns.
- Clerk : You have to wait.
- KSP : Can I sit down somewhere nearby?
- Clerk : Sit on that chair.
- KSP : (Sits and observes the goings on. Amazing office, chock-a block with old files stacked on shelves. No space to move about. Packed with tables and old type chairs. Conclave of clerks exchanging notes and some smoking away. The clerk is now cleaning up the dust-laden table. Opens his handbag and pulls out a key with which he opens his table drawer. Suddenly a keyboard materialises and soon a computer appears from above the table. He pulls out some cables and connects them to the switch and starts the computer. It works! He then advances towards me menacingly and demands the acknowledgement copy and I look a bit lost. Luckily, I had a Xerox of my Returns and produced it. He was carrying a formidable looking steel clad Stamp and raised it above my head to bring it down heavily, making an explosive noise as it fell on the paper I had produced, narrowly ducking him in the process. He brought out another stamp and repeated the act, giving me a shock again while talking to his friends and without looking in my direction, saying the Sahib would give something for the Jamai shashti gone by. I pretended not to have heard it and knew the job was done by now. So I beat a hasty retreat towards the Exit saying `thanks’, heaving a sigh of relief and realising the value of delegating such a job to Tax Consultants, in this whole operation.
KSP rushes back to his Saturday club with just enough time for a quick dip in the pool and plunges into the water to come face to face with his wife having a leisurely swim. He is on a high, having accomplished a great job of filing his Tax Return in a single day -- what may be called ‘Operation Tax Return’!