PASSPORT WOES SOLVED WITH A TWEET
Having to get a new Indian passport or renew your old one is rarely a pleasure. Even when things go smoothly, it's a hassle to follow the instructions, fill the forms, and make sure your photo is acceptable. Now imagine the stress of losing your passport just before you have to travel.
Thankfully, you may get some quick assistance through a tweet. Sushma Swaraj, India's Minister of External Affairs, has been helping people who contact her directly through Twitter.
That's what a man named Devatha Ravi Teja did recently. "@SushmaSwaraj ji, I lost my passport in Washington DC USA," he tweeted on July 30. "I have my wedding on August 13-15. Traveling on August 10. Please help me expedite my [T]atkal request and help me in attending my wedding in time. You are my only hope. Plz do the needful."
Swaraj responded within six hours. "Devatha Ravi Teja - You have lost your passport at a very wrong time. However, we will help you reach for your wedding in time," she wrote, adding an instruction for Ambassador Navtej Sarna: "Navtej - Let us help him on humanitarian grounds."
The embassy got in touch with Teja and, just three days later, tweeted: "Embassy has issued Tatkal Passport today 4 you to travel to attend yr wedding. Best of luck!"
Swaraj has won praise for her eagerness to assist people who reach out to her. But she can't solve all problems, especially those beyond the scope of her ministry.
To a man with car trouble, she tweeted: "I am so sorry. Please take your car to a workshop."
To a man complaining about a defective refrigerator he had purchased: "Brother I cannot help you in matters of a refrigerator. I am very busy with human beings in distress."
Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.
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