Passport renewal application online….

oday Mr R, 88 years old, and I, applied for a renewal of his passport online. We had to apply for him and for Mrs R. He’d already downloaded the application form for himself, fill it up, save it as a .xml file. What we did: we registered his name, and got an authentication email, where we clicked on the link to activate the account. Hah, sounds simple, doesn’t it! This took about 2 hours. (“This ‘copy the letters and numbers in the image’…is that an ‘I’ or a ‘1’ ? Is that a zero or an ‘O’? Is that a J or an I?…and so it went.)

Then we downloaded the form once again for Mrs R, filled that up and saved it, and registered for her. Mr R used his Yahoo id for that. We waited for 2 hours…no authentication email.

The process, as I anticipated, took some more hours. While waiting, I went and visited another friend in the same apartment complex, and Mr R had a much-needed short nap.

I came back..no email. So back we went to the registration process, and we realized that Mr R’s gmail id was now linked to his account. Mine, too, was linked to my account (I renewed my passport last year.) Since neither could be used, we used his son’s email id, and asked him to click on the activation link. Hurrah! Success.

The ultimate joke was at the last step. After uploading the filled-up e-form, one for each person, we came to a screen which had a box next to “No, I don’t want Passport SMS service”(for status updates about the passport.) There was no “Yes, I want it” box. But when we tried to finish, it said, “You have not ticked the ‘Yes’ box.”

So how did we do that? My konkified brain decided to try it…First I clicked the “No” box. Then I unclicked it. Promptly, a message appeared “Thank you for opting (sic) the SMS service.”

This is the most original way I’ve seen of saying “yes” to something..it reminded me of a shy girl who first says “no” to her swain and then takes the refusal back!

Government software…and the vanquishing of it…gives one a great sense of achievement which good software will not create! But if you want to go through any government process online…keep ALL your documents handy, have a notepad and pen nearby for jotting down various things, and…instead of looking at the clock, be happy you are not looking at the calendar!

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