A few days back, standing in a line at the passport office, waiting for my turn to get an ECNR stamp on my passport, I became a believer in god and a babu-fearing mere mortal. The lady at the counter seemed no less than an avatar of a goddess , a force which could give me moksh in the form of a stamp. This was my first visit to this shrine (passport office). I was warned that it was impossible to please the goddess with just one offering and that I would have to visit many times before she would even look at my documents. Still I was optimistic, miracles do happen in real life. I was happy that after standing there for 3 hours (7.30 to 10.30 - when the shrine actually opens) finally I could get darshan. I saw the queue in front moving fast. But as I was approaching the counter I realized that the goddess is in no mood to grant wishes today. She was rejecting the forms with the speed of lightning. My happiness gave way to nervousness and fear. I had taken an off from work, got up at 5.30 and travelled in a local train to reach the shrine. Earlier I was confident about my meticulousness, but now I was afraid that I may have missed out on some document. Finally it was my turn to give my form. My hands were shaking and I was sweating. With a lot of difficulty I took out the papers from my file and offered them to the goddess. I had missed out a few details on my application, which very politely (surprisingly) she asked me to fill in. I regained my positive thinking... but alas ! it was to last for less than 10 secs, because, one fleeting glance at my documents and she told me that "you don't have the Xth class passing certificate". I was crest fallen. I told her that I have all the mark-sheets from Xth till PG to prove that I am an educated Xth pass female. But she would have none of it. My humble offerings just didn't seemed to appease to her holiness. My mind became numb, still I gathered some strength, but no, I could not garner the courage to question her for the fear of offending her. I simply collected my documents, stepped away from the window and tried hopelessly to pull myself together. I called my friend who was waiting outside to give him the bad news. Hearing my almost sobbing voice, he forgot his pain (he too got up early and took off from work) and consoled me "don't worry, we will come better prepared next time. Before the next visit to the shrine pray to god every morning and fast on Mon,Wed and Fri..."I hope my penance will bear the fruit & I shall one day see an ECNR stamp on my passport....but alas! when will that day come!!!