“Why don’t we start at the beginning?” the psychiatrist told me.
Hesitatingly, I began my humiliating tale.
A couple of days ago, I visited the nearest SBI branch. I went and stood in front of the “single window operator”.
She appeared busy.
“Excuse me,” I cleared my throat a bit and sputtered something, just to give her a hint of my presence. She looked at me, nodded her head and continued typing on her keyboard, at the speed of one key every year.
Being in a good mood, I thought I’ll wait for her. A full 20 seconds later, I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing waiting for her.
“Why is she not responding to me?” I wondered.
“Did I make a mistake in wearing shorts and t-shirt? Should I have worn a formal pair of clothes instead? Is something wrong with me?” I kept thinking.
“Madam, I want to…” I started.
“Just one minute,” she quickly shut me up and continued to type. Slow as ever.
“Why is she ignoring me like this?” I couldn’t handle it. Existential questions sprung up.
“Do I really exist?”
“Is she doing it intentionally?”
Just then, out of nowhere, an old man put his head between me and the round opening in the glass counter. “Madam, nann pension account swalpa check maadbekkithu (I want to check my pension account),” he quipped before I could even protest that he had intruded into my line and space!
I felt insecure. Even an old man can cut me off in a line?
“Counter number 2 hogi sir”. She replied!
“She actually replied to him!!” I was very insecure now. Maybe I need to be loud.
“Madam, I want to..”
“Sir, I just told you to wait. Can’t you see I’m busy?” She cut me off again!
Busy?! The impudence!! She could answer him, but not me? I can’t take this from an ordinary bank clerk!! How dare she do this to me?
“Mmmaddammm, I’ve been waiting for a long time.” I raised my voice and spat out. I was actually very nervous, though I tried my best to hide it.
“Sir, there is no need to raise your voice. I have other work too. Can’t you see? I have to clear these cheques before 2pm.”
“Tell me, what is it?” She thundered. I suddenly felt deflated. In one single spurt, she showed who the real authority here was. I wanted to leave right then.
“Err, I.., I want to reset my net banking password,” I squeaked like a cornered rat.
“Counter number 2,” she said confidently.
“What? Another counter?” I cursed myself for having gone to the wrong counter as I walked away, scared to ask her any more questions.
I went to counter number 2. She sat comfortably in her chair, apparently chit-chatting with the next counter. I was very glad that she wasn’t busy.
Anxious not to repeat the same act, I took a short deep breath first. Then I smiled. Now, I knew I was ready to talk.
“Madam, I want to..”
“Sir, lunch time. Please come after 2.30pm.”
“Sir, please understand. Come after 2.30pm.”
My ego is damaged. I am too scared of banks now. I am more scared of these SBI clerks and their counters.
I am unable to sleep. In my worst nightmares, I am transferred from counter to counter to counter to counter to counter to… well, until I wake up with sweat all over me.
I am contemplating closing all my bank accounts, but I am too scared to go and tell them that I want to close my accounts.
As I finished telling the story, the psychiatrist gave me a strange look. A very strange look, I tell you.
Something inside me tells that he has an account at SBI too!