A man of letters is an idiom and has a pride of place. It carries many synonyms like skilled, supremo, techie, wizard, high priest, guru and like that.
But when it comes to man with numbers, it raises the eyebrows and make the forehead with designs of many wrinkles.
I had the first shock of my life when I wanted my identity card prepared for the entry into the Bombay Naval dockyard on official duty. At the dockyard there was a cabin and one photographer gave a slate carrying a number and asked me to hold it against my chest. He took the shot and gave the laminated ID card in an hour after the seal and signature of a top brass. This was valid for one year. This was my first experience.
%X $% 1XYZ AB/0$/0##@#/*&^%$## @*&^%^$#@ HYUTP$$$$G &&&& %%%% $$$$
*&/&%&*^%$# IUYT-Q^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^$HG0%^$B
What are these? Not mere numbers. These are the very breath of a common Indian. These are the great Voter ID PAN Passport UIDAI card and PDS Smart card. Even with these a common he or she is not sure whether he or she is a complete citizen of this great country. One must carry all these and many more to come around his neck or preserved under his garments ( from the struggles one had undergone to get these, one can know the value of it as to get another if lost is lost) wherever he/ she go to prove himself/herself as an Indian. Still these can be refused outright by an official if one is not in possession of its Xerox copies. Thanks to this machine. It gives a replica of whatever is fed in it and never refuses to accept the original!
Still some more numbers are there to be included, but they are valid only in some places and not at other places. Fakes are in million!
During the deluge in Chennai in 2015 December, I had lost all my certificates related to my education.
Now I am nearing seventy. Will I become a Rip Van Winkle in my village, nobody able to recognize me?
Will the officials in the Ministry of Education be helpful in retrieving my old records free of cost?
Will there be any Smart degree card and smart mark sheet card to appear in future?
After thrusting all these numbers on a common citizen, now the officials themselves are struggling to identify which one is a valid one and which one is superior and the fight is going on in the palisade of Supreme Court. Only King Solomon has to come for the rescue.
While one official took the credit for it on voters list (God only knows) the other one thought it will add feathers on his financial brain (with black and white money and with fake as well not able to identify even).
One is needed for the foreign jaunts.
Then the brain behind an IT savvy. The great all body scanner number, from eyelids to eyelashes to finger lines, leaving only the footprints. The picture perfect it should be in all respects, but alas! Not only I could recognize my face but did not get a proper finger line imprint. But as Brutus is an honorable man it still clings everywhere and with the number it is identified. My mobile number is linked with it. Some or other it worked.
Then the great old charm the ration card book is getting replaced by PDS Smart card.
When everywhere there were lots of errors in its making, I prayed God and today when I got it I first checked for the picture, then my dad’s name, then address and very eagerly my wife’s name. Ha! Luckily everything is perfect and I had a deep sigh. I really felt I am smart, but it was a short lived joy.
When I asked the gentleman who gives my monthly sugar whether in future I need bring only this card, he looked at me and told “no no you must keep this book also along and bring it”. You will be under a searching camera, he told.
“Then why this card?” He squeezed his forehead and from the wrinkles I could guess his doubts about it as well. To look, it is really a smart card, solid and unbreakable, colorful and silky.
The great Indian Number trick!
%X $% 1XYZ
This is nothing but my birth date. Though I was born at Egmore Mother & Child hospital, I do not have any record of that. I do not have any knowledge of my birth being registered in the hospital records. If the present day officials ask for it, I will be at a loss. The records might have been eaten out by termites or even lost.
Again I beg your pardon “Will I get my new birth certificate as ‘Newborn card?’
If I lose my number
I will lose my slumber
Once there is a double
I always will be in trouble
Comedy of errors it can be
But tragedy in life it will be.
The fight is on in Supreme Court
To show which is the first in its slot
Will that be without flaws?
Before my life comes to a close?
By Sundareswaran Date: 27th October 2017.
My last note:
Some may ask what it is.
This is a more unique looking number. In all the cards so far made the numbers are printed horizontally.
This card is called YKB card.
The number will be arranged in a circle. One can start from anywhere and end. It will contain 50 digits. Why fifty? It’s based on one family one child norm. Man, woman, their one child, its wife or husband, their child. This card will not burn in fire, it will not fade with age, termite proof material, will not sink in water. It cannot be destroyed even by an atom bomb. Even a Braille type projecting code can be made for the differently abled.
It’s very simple!
This is a special YKB number. Of late Chennai is under deluge every year. Suppose I am lost in the waves and land in another country, I can sing a song of numbers and our family on hearing it will get united. YKB stands for yadon ki baaraat, a phrase that stands for the reunion of a family. This card has uniqueness that it can sing your family song. There is a chip hidden in between layers.
Otherwise like the climax in Cedric Mount’s ‘The never never nest’, at least I can say that these numbers linked one with the other is exclusively mine and that of mine only.
Though we are still at a far end in linking rivers, let this linking of numbers be a bench mark.
Our rivers are vanishing. Give a number to each and link.