Last Sunday, wifey and I went to have ourselves registered under the Unique Identity registration thingammajig of the government. Let me record here what transpired for posterity. I don't want to seem too secretive about these things, considering it was well done and efficiently handled by the persons concerned.
We reached the local school fifteen minutes before the scheduled time, you know I like to be first in queue and all that. The school gate is closed so we wait patiently outside, being the first to arrive. An urchin tells me the school is closed. I say we are waiting to get UID. "What's that?" "You won't understand?" "Why?" "Because it's complicated." He runs off showing his carefree spirit as he does so. Has he been identified, I wonder.
It's 10 a.m. and there's a crowd. Wifey's favorite fish-seller-lady is there, there's a regal looking Sardar with his cute daughter, sundry others. Wifey chats to the fish-seller-lady who is actually not well, "You know, heat and all." Yes, the heat boils around us in the enclosed space (now the doors are open and we are inside.) So we open the glass windows. The school is run by the municipality and isn't very clean. But okay. We look expectantly towards the door each time a man or woman appears. An officious looking man appears. There's a stir. "He is here," "he is here," "he's the one." Disappointment. He is one like us. We sheepishly control our enthusiasm.
10.15 a.m. Two women appear. They look like teachers. There have the general appearance of authority and disdain, like wifey (she is headmistress of a local school). Then I am given a form to fill in. I do that and I do wifey's also, as is the custom. Then one teacher seats me on a desk. I feel foolish, as if I am back in school. She asks me to look at the screen and not at her. I feel more foolish. Ah! There's a picture of me on the screen. Wonderful. Then she types some data into the computer from the form I filled up. Miracle! I can see what she is typing right in front of me, on the screen. I see a lot of typos. "My name is spelt wrong, it's Matthew, not Matthewj." "Please spell it." I do. The mistake is corrected. In my voter's ID card my name is "Jan Methewj". Hm.This seems much, much better than that system. Obviously Nandan Nilekani's people have done a better job.
I submit my passport photocopies and PAN card photocopies and the teacher tells me that the process is over. Finito. I couldn't believe it was so easy. I thought there would be some questions a la a judge in a court of law. Nothing of that sort. I am now a man with a UID (a unique identity, that is). I walk out rather proud of my new, hm, shall I call it "Avatar"?