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“250 is fixed rate. We don’t allow bargains here…”

Guess who said this? Not any silly shopkeeper, but the officer in charge, of a Police Station!

What got me there? Here’s the story:

I lost my old BSNL SIM card, and I needed to take a duplicate. For any other service provider, it’s enough to submit your identity proof to a customer service centre. For BSNL, the ways are different. You have to report the missing SIM to the police station, and get a certificate from them, to prove it is reported!

“You need not lodge a complaint. you just have to report it.” It all seemed a piece of cake when the lady at the customer service centre told me.

Well, so I found myself at the nearest police station, still ‘perfumed’ by illicit spirit caught last day, to ‘just report’ my missing SIM. A short, pot-bellied man (Oh God! Who took him on the force?) with a large moustache welcomed me with a glance of suspicion. I told him my objective, which triggered a series of questions-

“How come only SIM got lost?”
“What happened to the cellphone in which it was used?”
“Is this the only SIM which is lost?”
“Whether this is the first time this SIM was lost?”
“When did you last saw the SIM?”
“Were you alone when it got lost?”

He seemed convinced that there is no way that a SIM can be lost, without a handset. After a lot of questions and answers, he sceptically accepted that there is a chance for that too. Then he called me closer and said in a low voice:

“250 will do. 200 for the SI to sign the certificate and 50 for me to write it.”

I was stunned. “Sir, A new SIM will cost only Rs 49.”

“Whatever”, he replied: “That’s how things are here. For any certificate, 250 is fixed rate. We don’t allow bargains here.”

I pretended to recieve a call on my mobile (Which doesnot have a SIM now!), and slowly walked out of the station; and escaped with my life.

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