JournalismPakistan.com Aug 19, 2013
An amusing anecdote about bureaucracy at its best occurred recently in Delhi when a grateful passenger on the way to his father’s funeral was helped by the railway authorities to get his reservation confirmed and was shown extreme courtesy.
In his gratitude he asked for the station master’s comment ledger and was told that no book existed for recording compliments. The other book available was the complaint book. The earnest traveller proceeded to mark out a page in this thick ledger and stating that he was not complaining. He then emphatically wrote down appreciation for the railway staff that had come to his rescue.
Three weeks later he received this officially printed letter from the railway headquarters:-
We regret that you were put to inconvenience during your journey. Your complaint number 32/NR WEF AF has been acknowledged and due action has been ordered by the Regional Manager’s office. We will notify you of the final action taken.
The humor is not always against the bureaucrat. Adlai Stevenson once said, “Your government servant serves you right”. Galbraith once said, “Meetings are vital for people who do not want to do anything.” After all, if you are taking down the minutes, they worry about the hours wasted.
Occasionally, you get a laugh out of it.
In a government hospital a rich and famous patient was brought in with cardiac complications; it was touch and go but he did not ‘go’ and was soon on the way to recovery. Very grateful for the efforts of the hospital staff he decided to give them a financial gift the day he was discharged.
Everyone lined up and was rewarded.
Only one department head refused to accept the gift.
“What is wrong”, said the patient, “is it too little?”
“No, no”, said the head, “I cannot accept it because you never gave me a chance to be of service to you.”
“Oh”, said the patient, now totally confused, “and how was that”?
The department head smiled ruefully and said, “I am the mortuary chief”!
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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