I don't know what it is about paperwork that intimidates some men. Like the husband, who allegedly has taken on groups of skinheads during his growing up years in Europe (when he had an even punier frame), but the minute a letter from the society arrives, he starts quaking. Not that it’s an eviction notice or anything, just a note saying we have to apply for an NOC (just for security's sake, post the terror attacks), get car stickers, stuff like that. But I notice that he is aflutter getting these papers in order.
I ask him to chill, as this is what societies do for a living, but he isn't convinced. "Have your given your form for the car-sticker? Do we have two references to add in the society form? We shouldn't give them any room to reject us," he mumbles every morning, and will continue to do so till the due date. I usually smile or look away lackadaisically—it is too small a thing for me to worry about.
"Reject us? Why would they reject us?"
"You never know…"
I feel like telling him, “I wish you would be as hyper getting your passport renewed so we can go for that holiday to Sri Lanka.” But I don’t, as the timing is not good.
It is perhaps the first time in his life that he has had to go through the passport renewal grind, which, right now, looks more complicated than getting our marriage certificate. After giving him a checklist of documents to be submitted (which is enough to drive anyone nuts), I retreat. Sure, being a diplomat's son had its benefits—passports being renewed in four hours, no matter where in the world you were being one of them.
Now that he is on his own, things do look gloomy on the paperwork front. In that sense, I am grateful for adversity. For never having a father or mother in high places. For never being able to pick up a phone, or send an email, ‘just to get things done’. For having had to stand in queues, fill everything in triplicate, sign in multiple places, get attestations from notaries in shady looking offices, speak in Marathi whenever required, but ‘getting the job done.’
The husband is still struggling with ‘operation passport’, six months after we discussed it in detail, and a month before we are slated to go for a foreign vacation to celebrate our anniversary. I wondered what would trigger him to take action, and told him that I would go, with or without him. Sure, I saw a hint of panic in his eyes, but it's been a month and nothing has happened. Yesterday, I finally dragged him to 'the society' for procurement of the all-important society letter stating that we are bonafide residents of the said building. The secretary (who again, seemed to be a triplicate kinda bloke) spent a good half hour explaining to us why they couldn't give us the said letter, and how, they would try and make it easy for us by giving an alternate letter which stated that they have no objection with our landlord subletting his flat to us.
I am quite sure I am doing the trip alone.