The other day Joe went to use the ATM at a nearby bank to get money from our U.S. bank. He took too long to take out his money, so the machine ate it again. He had to get to work, so I went over later that day when the bank was open to find out how to get our money back.
After talking to 2 tellers, I was referred to the manager. When he found out that we didn't have an account there, and that the money was coming from a foreign bank, he told me something, the just of which seemed to be "fill out application," which had to be signed by the person whose name was on the card.
He then folded over the end of a long computer printout and started to tear it off. It tore crookedly, so he stopped, tore that whole page off, and got out a ruler. Using this as a straight-
edge, he cleanly tore off the end of the piece of computer paper. He then handed me the remaining part of the paper, and said "make application," and told me what information had to be on it and who to give it to when I came back.
When Joe returned with our "application", properly signed, he was told that he would have to send it to our bank in the U.S., who would then have to request a transfer to our account.
This is extremely common in India. You are almost never told all the steps you will have to take at once. You do what you are told, and the next time you are told there is something else, or something different you have to do. An orphanage we are working with spent almost every day for 2 months doing this sort of thing. After much time and money was spent doing what they said needed to be done, they were told that the shipment they were trying to get through customs with a duty free status does not qualify for duty-free status. If they had told them that at the beginning they would have avoided many unnecessary expenses, including 2 months storage in a warehouse! Though not in the situation at the bank, I think the hassles they present are often intended to encourage payment of a bribe, just to get it done. If you don't believe in bribery, life can be very difficult indeed.
Donna and Joe have finished their assignment in India. Occasionally they still travel somewhere.