A passport renewal! Until two weeks ago I was told “Not to apply it” due to the pandemic. My passport finally was expired and I had been worried in case I had to make an urgent trip. One evening, I just checked the Passport Office site and saw rather a positive message that it would take 4 weeks or so under the Corona situation. I was so pleased and immediately started to proceed to renew it online. In the middle of process, I reached the photo section which instructed that I could submit my digital photo or one taken from the booth that is given a code. I first, rang Mary who was my next door neighbour, asked her to take a photo of me and she willingly said “OK”. I popped over with my iPhone and she took a several shots of me. I selected one of them and sat down back at the computer and clicked on photo process. A notice appeared stating ‘blank background photo only’. I looked at my photo and realised it had Mary’s nice picture behind me. “Oh, heck”, I felt quite dejected and came out of the site thinking to go to a photoshop.
On the following morning, I went to a local photoshop, putting my suits, necktie and some facial cream on. The man took the first two shots and he worked out but failed to get a code from the PO. He said, the photos looked OK but he suspected my sweat hampered it to be qualified. I wiped and wiped my face and he took further 7- 8 more shots but got the same result. Out of frustration, he suggested I should apply manually sending it in the post. I thought about it but worried if they reply to me saying “No” to my photo a month or so later which then I will have to do it all over again which then will take, how long? So, I halted him and asked where the bathroom was to wash my face properly. He said I could not use theirs so coldly. Blimey! So, I went to a supermarket nearby. While I was washing, someone was trying to come in the bathroom and touched my bum then said “Sorry”. I was taking time and something kept poking my bum again and again. “What’s going on?” and I looked back. An old man on his wheelchair was trying to pass through the narrow passage. I wasn’t sure if he had wetted himself already as he was grumbling with unhappy face. I thought, “Oh, dear me, it’s really been great” and went back to the photoshop. Voila! The man took the first shot of me then shouted excitedly “It’s done”. What a relief! I had been so nervous but it was finally accepted and got a code. I spent one and half hours there to get a photo which should usually take only 10 minutes. The man gave me the code instead of the photo and explained to me how to use it. I came home and started processing again and my photo emerged finally once the code was inserted. Although I was happy to be able to finish the renewal job without further trouble, something was bothering me. How convenient life we are benefiting from modern technology, everything we do individually is recorded, connected to the system and controlled. It is the ‘Big Brother age’ of George Orwell we are living in.
Nevertheless, I was almost in despair until a week ago with “Don’t apply” and then ‘4 weeks or so’. But within a week my new passport arrived. Beggars belief! I’ve never known that our governmental service was so efficient like this. It might’ve been the Corona situation that helped this fast service as there wouldn’t be many application. How irony!
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