Cardigan Street, Building 98
After a highly stressed out day, I came home to find my ‘English-teacher neighbour’ busy in conversation with another neighbour. There was no way I was going to listen to her ‘garbage’, so taking advantage of the dark, I quietly sneaked in only to find a leaflet containing garbage classification instructions from her stuck to the door. Whew! What a narrow escape.
I was late for my 11 O’clock orientation class today. The train moved with a mind of its own and I had to literally run to my university. But as luck would have it, I seem to have misplaced my university map. The library had run out of stock as well and I was frantic until I finally caught hold of some Chinese student who kindly let me see his map. But as I reached building 98, I ran into whichever classroom that I found first, only to realise that the class had already started. I walked in and apologised only to realize that I was in the wrong classroom.
I muttered a second apology and walked into the nearest available lift and went to the first floor (as directed on my brochure) but that floor had a haunted look. I went up another floor but in vain. I reached the first floor and then only did I see the reception and a receptionist on the phone. Fifteen valuable minutes later, she finally got off the phone and was surprised when I showed her my letter and asked her about the orientation. There was no orientation scheduled for the day!
I was sent back to the library to meet the same helpful Nigerian gentleman who’d helped me register a few days back. He joined me in the confusion and sent me back to another building. After taking a ticket and forty five minutes later, I proceeded to Desk No.1 who listened patiently and so very politely apologized about the miscommunication and disappeared. My time was over and all I had was a name and number “Diane” who advised me to go back to Bldg 98 and meet Alice.
Muttering and mumbling, forgetting that I was no longer in India I crossed at street at red and was almost run down by angry cars. I reached the reception and the girl was again on the phone. I finally asked to speak to Alice but she said there wasn’t any Alice. Frustrated, I called Diana who spoke to the girl. She then asks me if I am looking for Elise or Alice. If I chose Elise, she was Elise. How dumb! She then went on to again to politely apologise for all the miscommunications.
Alice or Elise or whatever, gave me a list of courses to choose from. It was like asking me, “do you want adkhnlknn” or “ausholkmasi”. It didn’t make any sense so I picked whichever came first. The next step was to go to ‘THE HUB’ to register my courses, so armed with my map I went looking for building No.12, which after going round and round in circles, was actually in the same ‘library building’. A professional now, I quickly took a ticket and looked around to see students, mostly Chinese and of Asian origin, either talking on the phone or with friends. (Statistics: almost 90% of the people here have i-phone 4 which is a very significant wake up call for me and a valid reason to upgrade myself too and yes everyone here also carries a i-pad and not a laptop!)
I tried to give a professional ‘come talk to me smile’ but nobody even bothered to try and strike a conversation with poor me. The students at the help desk gave me a free ‘RMIT logo’ water bottle which kept me happy for about fifteen minutes while I waited for my turn with a ticket number which read – 247.
I was hungry, and all I could see were beeping, glowing, pay fridges (or whatever you call them). I looked at them very closely, as if I was wondering what to buy, whereas in reality I was trying to figure out how to operate those monsters without making a fool of myself. I finally gathered enough confidence to put a five dollar bill and was rewarded with some change and a bottle of orange juice. Half an hour later, I once again put in a two dollar to buy a packet of some exotic chicken chips but the machine gave me back 40 cents and no chips. I just hoped that no one saw me…it was so embarrassing. I quickly became anonymous among the crowd.
It was two by the time my name was called out….sorry, number was called out. I reached my Desk No.3 only to realise that the details I had wanted were already in the folder that I was carrying. Stupid! Stupid! I wasted two hours for that…if only they’d do away with this stupid queuing. I suppose you have to take a ticket even if you want to ask them where the toilets are located.
So I was sent once again back to the library to get a log-in password and register my courses. That was again another story, I had to answer everything except my time of birth and also answer questions I had no clue about. Another two hours later (after a lot of help from the red-shirt IT guys), I was again back to THE HUB. (The Hub, by the way, is a large room which looks like different flavoured chewing gum; it is literally a hub, where all the action takes place).
Another ticket, 252 was my number and the screen showed 220 at some desk. I almost gave up. I was tired, hungry, my back hurt and most of all there was no one to talk to or share my anguish. In India, we take certain things for granted and its only when you are out you realise the importance of ‘human touch’.
Around 0530, I finally had my photo taken and was given an instant ID and a diary. (The whole process took around 7 minutes). I was free to go home. Something that would have normally taken maybe an hour, took me seven long, agonizing hours. Welcome to Melbourne!
The lesson is, if we think India is slow in paperwork, come here. At least in India, we can shout and threaten, make a hue and cry, get noticed but all that doesn’t work here mate unless the computer or the ticket machine is used as a punching bag. If you gotta wait, you gotta wait!
P.S: Today my boots got a much deserved break and I decided on my old friend, my old trainers.
End of Part-3
July 14, 2012 at 10:35am