The ATM nightmare.

Having dreams is a natural phenomenon, so dreaming is part of life. Experts believe that every one dreams as long as he live, even unborn babies dream in mother’s womb. Dreams make us to visualize the repressed experiences and other happenings of the state of unconsciousness. Other day my spouse had an unusual dream where I was the target of extortionist. She even conveyed the amount (in the dream) of extortion, rupees five thousand precisely, so she cautioned me to be alert and watchful during the day. I brushed aside her dream and conclusions she had drawn out of it, and gave my own theory of dreams just to keep her away from all worries about my day and me. I made her to understand that dreams are culmination of our observations about day to day happenings in our vicinity and don’t have any fallout. What ever we see and observe during the day that gets rearranged in tandem to our views, thoughts and psyche in a visual form during our sleep. How far my theory was true I don’t know? But I succeeded in making her to feel safe and secure with regard to me. Even after my long lecture on dreams she left with a word of caution for me. May be the fluid situation and uncertainty had made people over here to feel for each other more than the usual.

With hectic schedule, commitments and harried I left for my day’s work. First week of the month is usually strenuous and hectic as lot more bills need to be cleared. I headed to nearest ATM (automated teller machine) for money. ATMs of our apparently flourishing, burgeoning and shining Jammu & Kashmir bank are like status symbols but in real sense are great facility and a convenience as well. Apparently the balance sheet of this bank conveys about its good health, and contribution in the realm of banking, but only its managers really know, weather all that glitters at the bank is gold or not. So keeping banks health aside, I made my entry into the ATM counter situated on the crossroads of posh Jawahar Nagar area. Black granite covered interiors with torn balance reports scattered all over, provide typical look of a lately ransacked place. I could never make it why people tear their balance reports there and then in the ATM counter, and if really they don’t need them why don’t they use the onscreen balance report facility. My command to ATM for an amount of rupees five thousand proved blank with a polite on screen direction “ insufficient balance”. I pushed another button for available balance and found five thousand rupees missing out of my account. My God! And my spouse’s bad dream came to my mind, but I was not expecting ATM or my bank for that may matter to be the extortionist I was taken off my feet. Loss of rupees five thousand my one weeks earnings, my budget and my bills every thing struck to my mind in succession.

Reconciliation at the moment gave me courage and strength to rush and approach my bank (J&K bank Jawahar Nagar branch), a typical JK bank branch full of customers and an amplified degree of staff arrogance. I straightway went to branch manager’s chamber, emotionally charged and with little words to express my self. The fellow on hearing me scoffed at me and then pressed few buttons of his desktop computer and shot back with almost a verdict, ‘you have withdrawn your money (five thousand), the machine says so, I am sure as it (computer) can not lie’, so being genteel was a far cry for him. It was a moment of complete embarrassment for me, as now I have not only lost my money but my banker was challenging my credibility and I thought any further plea was moot. What a shame? I had no words, really there was dearth of words for me to express my anguish and anger. I felt as if my cerebrospinal fluid got freezed and I felt choked. Here again my latent energy came to my rescue and I tried to convey my strong protest to the concerned manager. Now the manager took me seriously and a hard nut to deal with. He directed me to report next day with an assurance that, he will try to locate the misplaced money. I shot back with authority that, ‘I can not afford to lose my weeks salary, I have to clear bills just today, and all other shots of desperation’. Now the manger got mellowed and had some effect of my emotional pleas with authority. He rang the concerned ATM counter and asked for some specific records/ documents. After an hour or so, as I was waiting outside the managers chamber, the crude manager left his chamber for some unknown destination, but with an instruction to me, that I should contact manager systems after fifteen minutes. I was eager to know about my money, so dutifully I abided by the orders and landed around systems manager. Typical JK bank employee; the systems manager was calm and cool but full of mockery. He took my plea so coldly and callously, that I could now anticipate the fate of my money, culminate into climax of my spouse’s extortion dream, but my bills on my person did not allow me to yield so easily. The systems manager in his typical style rolled out a long and narrow roll of paper like a seismology report bringing fresh tremors in my already shocked body.  He checked for my withdrawals on this roll, and the mysterious withdrawal of five thousand as communicated by the computer system was not there. I had a sigh of relief, but loss (extortion) of my money was haunting me. He pulled some forms; made few entries; pressed some buttons on his computer and told me to go as the money (lost money) stands credited to my account. During these moments of crisis I mustered some courage, and asked systems manager about this long roll of records, he mockingly said, ‘ it is ECG report’. How shocking and shameful for an officer of a reputed bank, who other wise was supposed to restore confidence in me and console me. Later on I came to know from a lesser know bank official that the long recorded roll of paper pertains to ATM and is called J.P.

After this three hours ordeal I rushed to my dear ATM. This time ATM was kind enough to return my hard earned money, and I felt a visible sense of rejuvenation, security and confidence. This was really an arduous task, which had a test of my nerves and crisis management skills.

It was my first ordeal in my twenty-five years banking experience. The machine, ATM had made a mistake unknowingly but was not harsh, and discourteous, on the other hand the human resource (bank staff) made mistakes knowingly and was harsh, discourteous and full of mockery.

So my life partner’s bad dream had almost practical bearing on me at J&K Bank’s ATM counter where I was almost subjected to extortion and humiliated. Now onwards I will take every dream seriously and heed to the words of caution.

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