What a wonderful birthday!

Manjula had a great time on her 43rd Birthday. Yes she’s 43!

Travelling out to Srirangaptnam for Puja at the Rangatha Temple to visit Ranga, Laxmi, Garuda, Narsima and Hanuman (so many Gods in one place!) and dinner at hotel Roopa in the evening. Over 43 friends from around the world via facebook and email sent their greetings.. That also helped make her day.

She now is planning her 50th party in the UK!

Farrell Factoid

The Yorkshireman reached deep down into his pocket to pay for the meal for twelve people which cost much less than a recent, probably typical meal in London for three 🙂

As always in India it’s critical to get to the story under the surface. When I first met her, Manjula had three different birthdates. In India when someone doesn’t have a birth certificate (most poor and rural people, above a certain age) they use their TC or Transfer Certificate from school as evidence of their date of birth. As part of the rationalisation of her various inconsistent and conflicting forms of ID she had to sort it out and go for one.

She is a Queen but one birthday is enough!

What’s in a name 6

All we want is a passport, so Manjula can visit the UK. Is that too much to ask?

Well it feels so much like a board game we’ve created our own. Looks complicated? Well it is!

We’ve had to find four items of ID to prove:

image

name

gender

address

date of birth

and ensure they are all accurate and consistent (no mean feat).

Move down each vertical line to realise each of the things we’ve had to complete. Sometimes we’ve had to create something from scratch, with others we’ve amended most of the key details, with others, well we’ve been running alongside Alice for some of the way and no were not mad, yet!

This is however, only part of the journey and until we’d got all these forms of ID we were unable to submit the application for Manjula’s passport. Well we’ve passed another significant milestone and we are now ready to apply.

imageImagine you are a poor illiterate person. Admittedly, if you’re poor, you’ll be less likely to require a passport, but that’s to miss the point. I reckon most people would find this intimidating. Bureaucracy seems to be designed to hinder people and not to help. When you understand the complexity of something that should be relatively simple you can see how disabling this is and how ‘brokers’ are so necessary in life. All this causes stress ( I can vouch for that) and money!!