KANPUR: As the serpentine line at a power sub-station along the road was slowly and steadily moving to window counter, the perplexed consumers were talking on the matter suiting them. They were anxious to deposit their monthly electricity bill in Jajmau area in order to ascertain their place out of the defaulters’ list. The queue consisted of youths, middle-aged and even senior citizens. Some of them were maintaining complete silence while there were a few who talked and expressed their views on delay in reaching the counter.
In between the conversation, a 78-year-old man suddenly mentioned that he had seen those days when the typewriters were used for making the electricity bill without any problem. There was no difficulty in immediate payment at that time. Those days were far better than today’s computerised billing system.
Standing just behind him in the queue a sober man asked him how was it possible? Smilingly, he replied it was too easy for the staff employed at that time. Adding his points that old experienced almost bald-headed man revealed there were fewer domestic connections in those past days. Above all the clerical staff extended their cooperation with the humble consumers. Unlike present-day’s outspoken clerks they used to show a kind of mannerism. They helped a lot.
Further, he told the load of work must be just the same despite the fewer power connections. The clerk seldom faced such situation as we come across at their unnecessary annoyance.
In today’s arrangement, a clerk accepts cash amount of the electricity bill and then forwards it to the computer man sitting nearby him. Both of them appear irritated all the time. Computerised payment is comparatively easier as every detail is already present in the computer. The man at the computer only clicks print button to the printer linked with the machine. But yester-year’s typewriter clang required alertness and focus. That was a laborious work.
Significantly, under that type of system, the clerk put on his table a typewriter. Following receiving the amount from the consumer, he speedily produced a receipt of payment to him. There was no hassle. Consumers demonstrated no anger and never complained of the smart ways like current time’s tricks, he stated.
First, he killed enough time in reaching the deposit counter, now he was awaiting the bill’s copy at another counter. So continuing his revelation he narrated that the typewriter system prevailed during his young days, and then it must have been pre-independence days.
Listening to the conversation another consumer remarked you appeared to have possessed enough experience of depositing power bills at different times. That old man replying in the affirmative disclosed that at that period of time he lived at P Road locality of Zarib Chowki area in the city. It was only forty years ago he had moved to Jajmau area, a suburb.
It was his habit of attending all types of work that he looked so fit and healthy even to this day. In this way, he felt himself far better than his contemporaries, as he maintained. Despite all the crowd at the window counter, there was not seen an iota of restlessness in him. It was a point in him that he could never, with any expectancy part with his cool mannerism at such an old age. It was rather that quality which made consumers praising him. It was not merely that their praises of him sounded stunning when he first heard them on the spot.
When he was asked about the suitability of the payment through the computer & printer mode, he minced no words in saying of the occasional technical troubles involved in it. Server down is a very worrying trouble for every consumer. Once the technique has advanced there should be quickness in the counter collection. When the numbers of connections are enhanced, the department concerned should think of opening at least two counters at its sub-stations existing all over the city areas.
He insisted when we are sincerely depositing our electricity bills every month we deserve facilities. At present, this area’s consumers pay their respective bills either at Defence Colony or Chhabiley Purwa sub-stations in Jajmau area but strangely enough, both offices lack separate counters for the senior citizens. There is no respite from the queue at the sub-stations. Several consumers began to think how moments took us back in a while in the routine humdrum of daily life.