Monday, August 6, 2007

Signature Blues

It was one of those perfect mornings when you don’t feel like getting out of bed. So I faked a stomach ache to play truant. I am sure that Amma must have known it was a fake the moment I tried it. Fortunately for me, she was feeling rather sympathetic for her “baby”. She must have thought to herself “Anyway I can’t sleep like this with all the cooking and chores written in my fate, at least let my son enjoy it a bit when he can”.

Problem was that Amma forgot to sign my leave letter for the next day at school. I was in 6th standard and not too worried about it. After all, my education and circumstances had made me a very capable fraud by that time. It was a simple matter of faking her signature. But that is when I found out a sad truth. For some reason whichever way I tried it, I couldn’t get to sign the way my mother signed. The Guy up there had forgotten to install the “copy” software when he sent me packing downstairs….:( Talk about low quality at high places!

Fortunately for me, he had installed some up-market best in the league fraud software, so I found another way around this nagging issue. Every problem, you see, is an opportunity!….. for somebody else….:). I bribed Reny (I think) with my meager resources to get it signed and the day was thus saved.

It was in 10th standard when I was up against the wall again. This time the problem was my own signature… I couldn’t even “fake” my own signature a second time! In the end I decided to make it a very simple “Am” (my initials written as they are normally written) No fancy stuff. Having solved the problem once and for all, I was living life happily ever after when Amma got jealous of my happy life and decided to muddle it up a bit.

I don’t remember how she saw my signature, but the moment she saw it she blurted out “what is this “kaaka thoori” (crow shit) thing u have written here”
Me: My signature!!
Amma: Don’t think I am flattering you, but if somebody sees this signature, they will think you are illiterate!
Me: Shut up! If they think I am illiterate, let them!

Problem was that her tactless words had hurt my ego. I decided that a change in the signature policy was of prime importance. After much painstaking research, I decided that scrawling my first name plus some fancy stuff should be enough.

In the years that followed, I had to sign on many occasions, but nobody noticed that I never signed the same signature twice. Mainly because I made sure that they hadn’t seen any other signature of mine. Like, when I went to the bank, I would distract the clerk with some innocent jabbering to take his mind off my signature discrepancy. Life was tough, but bearable

That is when I and my fellow roommates decided to go for a trip to Thailand. The trip itself was fantastic and it would take many pages to describe our adventures. But the real adventure was waiting for me back home at the Bangalore airport. I had to fill in an immigration form. Naturally, like all governmental forms, this one also had that despicable column for “Signature”.

I filled it, signed it and gave the form and my passport to the official. He took one look at my signature and said “Wrong signature, sign once more!” I had no idea how I signed in my passport. Suspecting the worst, I signed once more and he said “wrong again”. But, he was a helpful chap, so he told me “ok, as a favor I will show you how you have signed in the passport” and showed me my signature (Big favor indeed!).

It definitely looked like crow shit to me. Now how the hell was I supposed to replicate it? Cursing my own karma, I tried to copy it…. With disastrous results….:( He took one look at the signature, a worried look at my face then a look at my passport. Nothing seemed to fit!

Official(with narrowed eyes) : Sign once more!
Me (Do-I-look-like-a-terrorist? Look + wide smile): Ok, I will sign once more.
Official(looking at my 4th sign): Now you have signed in four different ways! And none of it like your passport signature!
Me (Helpless look + smile): Er… can you show me my passport sign once more?

The official must have been an aspiring saint or something, he actually showed me the signature in my passport once more. Not surprisingly, one more permutation of my signature was added to my infinite kitty. He shook his head in negative. I was left wondering whether he would deport me to Pakistan or Afghanistan. Feeling pretty sick about my bleak future, I turned this way and that, when I suddenly noticed an ad hanging on the wall behind the official.

It was my company’s ad!!!! I took out my company id and showed it to the official and then gestured at the wall behind him. Finally satisfied, he let me off the hook. I said a silent prayer of thanks to the Supreme Being for not sending me to the world as a Muslim. That could have really complicated things!

Overseas trips don’t come cheap, so it was no wonder that yours truly was filing for a personal loan application the very next month. I had to put about 30 signatures on various papers containing God knows what. The agent in charge took a look at all those signatures and promptly said “You will have to come to the bank to get this sorted out”.

It was two days later that I went to “sort things out” at the bank. The official at the bank took out a copy of my pan card and asked me to “sign like you have signed in the pan card”. He said it so easily! I felt like I should wrench his neck. Why can’t these guys do something like a retinal scan or some high funda stuff in this so-called age of technology when everything is digital? Murmuring a few choice words below my breath, I started to “copy” my own signature.

Naturally, he was not satisfied with my “copies”. The jerk actually made me sign twice for each sign that I had made on the papers. Now instead of 30 different signatures he had about 100 different signatures on his hand. I was at my wits end when the manager walked in. He looked at my signatures, looked at me and said “how can you do this”
I: How can I do what?
Manager: How can you sign in such totally different ways???
I: Oh, that…. I don’t know, I just do that
Manager: This won’t work!
I (with a forlorn look on my face): Take my fingerprint or whatever but please don’t torture me with all this signing
Manager (laughing): Ok ok, I will take care of this. Don’t worry.

I am not sure for how long I will have to suffer all this injustice! I look forward to a future when pen and paper is banned, trees saved and people dont have to sign for nothing, no more!


Bavitha said...

Wait. How old are you? ;)

jkjk. I had about a million signatures until I was 15, but lucky for me, I "finalized" my sign after giving my 10th std boards. All I can say is, Good Luck - you won't know when one of those signs is gonna smack you right in the face! ;)

N!$#@N^# said...

eda aby.. u find it hard to have 2 signatures alike, well i can't imagine the plight of the person who tries to read or decipher aleast one of your signatures. It is not "kaka thori" as your mother says, it is much worse than that.

Please don't torture fellow human beings like this,do a good deed. Whenever someody asks you to sign please say proudly that you are an illiterate & put a thumb impression.

Abraham Menacherry said...

bavitha: I am still adding more...:( guess it must be the "juvenile" gene acting up.

Nishu: I have actually thought about that! have been that desperate. Infact one of my ideas was to have shyam sign the loan papers for me, atleast he could sign the same signature over and over...:)

♥busy_writer♥ said...

hahahaha.. man!! are you kidding? lolzz.. a totally HILARIOUS read! ;-p

Abraham said...

busy_writer: unfortunately no!...:(

r@j! said...

am a new follower ...
just too good a post!

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