Zaheeb Ajmal reports:
12 noon: Shanti Rishi is at the Sargana branch of the State Bank of India. Veiling her head with the drape of her red saree, she approaches a clerk at one of the counters. He instructs her to approach the Branch Manager, a bespectacled man sitting in a cabin by the counters. Shanti Rishi tentatively approaches him.
Shanti Rishi: I would like to open a bank account.
Branch Manager: PAN card?
Shanti Rishi shows him her PAN card.
Branch Manager: Aadhar card?
Shanti Rishi shows him a photocopy of her Aadhar card.
Branch Manager: This will not do. We need the original. Ask someone to bring it from your home.
Shanti Rishi is flummoxed. She only has her husband Pradeep’s phone number saved on her phone and he is away in Jammu. Nevertheless, she gives Pradeep a ‘missed call’ on his mobile. When Pradeep returns her call, she asks him to call one of their nephews in Sargana and come to the branch with her Aadhar card.
12:30 p.m.: Shanti’s nephew Deepak comes to the branch with her Aadhar card. Pradeep had called him a while back and instructed him to retrieve the card and take it to his aunt.
Satisfied, the Branch Manger gives Shanti an application form to fill. He also asks her to get the form signed by a guarantor, someone who already has an account with the branch. Shanti Rishi takes the form from him and tells him she will come back once she has the appropriate signature.