Tiger tiger

"Tiger tiger", cried the Security personnel as he rushed inside Vodafone's Customer Service Center in 100 Ft. Road, Indira Nagar. 

It did not register the first time.

"Tiger tiger" he cried again.

"Oh no!", the Bangalore Traffic Police's towing vehicle is here. 

Why is it called Tiger?  It is because some of the policemen who enforce No Parking rules, ride a two wheeler which have a cover which is a mix of yellow and black stripes - resembling the skin of a tiger! Also, I guess, some of the Towing vehicles sport that color.

Ok, now that we are done with the digression, to get back to the problem at hand.  I rushed to the entrance to see that my two wheeler was one of the first ones to be aboard the towing vehicle, along with a bunch
of others.  The policeman sitting in the front portion of the vehicle said "Jeevan Bhima Nagar" - indicating that this was the place we should go to collect the vehicle (after we paid the fine).

Evidently, the vehicles were parked in a "No Parking" zone.  There were no other places to park in the vicinity. Most of the people who visited the Customer Service center hoped to be out in 3-5 minutes. And these vehicles were, by no means, blocking traffic.  Well!  these are justifications, but rule is a rule and I had violated it.

A fellow-victim (of towing), opened his purse to pay off the policeman but was firmly told to come to Jeevan Bhima Nagar.

I went back inside the Service Center to stand and await my turn.  My token no. was 240.

We had visited the Service Centre that morning, in response to an SMS which asked for a bunch of documents to be submitted for uninterrupted service.   We found a large number of people waiting.  We were given a token (No. 81).

We had found only two of the five Service counters staffed.  No attempt was made to categorize the service requests and potentially to dispense with the quicker/trivial ones.  The waiting would have been ok, provided there were adequate chairs for people.  There were 6 chairs for about 25 people.  The others (which included a pregnant woman) were left to stand and stare all over the room.

Since we had another appointment, we had aborted the mission in the morning.

Little did we realize what awaited us in the evening!

Three of the five counters were staffed this time.

It took 10 more minutes before my turn came - after about 45 minutes of standing and waiting.   I produced the documents, filled up a form - an exercise which took 2-3 minutes, but which could have been done
earlier, if the Form had been made available.

The Service executive was polite and efficient.  He peered into his computer, updated some data and indicated that I should change to a better plan to reduce my billing rate.  He took an immediate request
for it and I was out in 5 minutes.

We walked to the nearby 17th Main and found an auto idling.  This is usually bad sign. I have never seen a stationary auto ready to come where you want to go.  But what do you know?  This guy was ready to take us to Jeevan Bhima Nagar!  Surprise of surprise, the meter was turned on - it indicated Rs.17/- - that too in digital - obviously a new auto!

It was exactly 2 km to our destination and I was due for another surprise when the autodriver game me change for Rs.20/- instead of coming up with some excuse.  Was it because we were next to the Police Station?

As we neared the entrace to the Police Station, the Inspector who was in the towing vehicle walked in.  He asked us to go to the nearby side road.

We saw a bunch of two wheelers chained together through their front tyres and a person standing next to it.  He wore no uniform and evidently was a private contractor (the ones who actually did the towing).

"Are all your papers in order", he asked. I replied in the affirmative.

"Rs.300/-", he said.  (The charge is correct, as this link of Bangalore Traffic Police indicates).

"Where do I pay? Inside the Station?"

"You can pay me."

"Ok!  So you will issue me a receipt?"

"Receipt?  If you need that then the charges will be higher?"

"Why is that?"

"Well! then you will need to show all your papers."

"I am willing to do that."

"Ok, then let us go to the Station.  Do you have your license?"

"Yes, I do"

We proceeded to the Station.  I paused.  "Shouldn't I take the papers from the vehicle?"  "No, just the driving license is sufficient".

We found several policemen in the Station, some of them in plainclothes.

While one wrote out a manual receipt of Rs.100/- for the offence,  another pressed a few buttons in a specially designed Blackberry.  It spitted out a receipt for Rs.200/-

"The receipt is not clear.  We need to fix the machine", he remarked to me, as well as to his colleague.

The whole experience was rather good - better than the wait in Vodafone Customer Service Center!

The receipt was readable.  The best part was it indicated the details, along with a line which said, a separate manual receipt would be issued as well - thus legitimizing the entire fine amount.

Once the receipts were produced, the guy in the dark lane was quick to unchain the vehicle.

As we left, we wondered how many offenders would have paid him directly (which would evidently have gone into his and the policemen's pockets).

I also resolved to complain to Vodafone Customer Service center about their facilities and process for servicing customers.