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January 09, 2011

Snake in the office!

Snake in the office is a satirical story. It is a story of a snake that appears in a government office. Immediately there is a huge hue and cry. The entire office is agog with excitement. The staff members run helter shelter. In the ensuring pandemonium the snake disappears.

The bureaucracy jumps into action. The section officer writes a letter to the sub section officer asking him an explanation as to what had happened. The assistant section officer writes to his next level subordinate about the same. This way one month’s time is wiled away by several superiors writing to their subordinates about explanation of the incident.

In the reverse order another one month are wiled away by subordinates replying to the superiors about what has happened. The section officer writes to the concerned IAS officer about the incident. Alarmed at the incident the IAS officer constitutes a committee and gives it two months to find out as to what really happened.

The high level delegation comes from the state capital to investigate the incident. They are allowed to stay in a government bungalow at the state government cost to investigate the incident. The delegation investigates the same for two long months and comes out with a surprising finding. YES THERE REALLY WAS A SNAKE.

Subsequent to finding out about the snake the IAS officer constitutes another enquiry committee to find out as how it was it possible that a snake could enter a government office and how the same could be prevented in the future. The same jamboree is reenacted a second time and the second committee submits a voluminous report in two months time as how the snake can  be prevented from coming in the future. They also give their view about how the security could be tightened by spending several lakhs of rupees to enable government officers to literally turn into Fort Knox’s (impregnable fortresses).

The IAS officer comes out with another bright idea “what about the snake that is still in the office. How to catch it? Which is the best method to catch it?” Promptly a third committee is set up to find out the ways and means of finding out as how to catch the snake. The third committee is very innovative. They write and get permission from the state government to go on a foreign visit to find out ways and means of catching the snake. They happily go on a foreign tour and explore different technical, technological, psychic, physical and other ways of catching the snake. This entire process takes another two months.

The third committee recommends the case of a snake charmer. The concerned IAS officer accepts their argument and calls for a global tender and gives the tendering process time of two months to finalize the deal.
Twenty two global tenders are received. They are opened with lot of fan fare and they are scrutinized for their technical competence. This process takes another one month. Finally three tenders are accepted at the technical level. The three successful tenderers are called for a demonstration at the state capital. Subsequently two tenders are selected for a financial negotiation. The financial negotiations are long drawn and very technical. Finally one snake charmer is selected and he is told that he will be paid a royal sum Rs100/- but only after catching the snake.  This process takes another one month.

The section officer brings the snake catcher to the office and the snake charmer goes to work on the exact first anniversary of the snake’s visit. He is trying to catch a snake exactly one year after its appearance in the said office! Funny as it sounds this is how the bureaucracy works in India. They work to slow down the work not to speeden it up.

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