Really, I never felt that pre-requisites in courses at IITK were ever much of an hindrance. At least they always seemed logical. But the pre-requisite of opening a bank account at ICICI Bank has done something to me which is best described as "पाँवों के नीचे से ज़मीन खिसकना" in Hindi. Nice phone banking facility they have which you can avail even before you are a customer. Yeah, you can apply for an account over a phone. You call them up. Follow the instructions and get to a call center staff, who would tell you about the product which he/she has repeated so often that you can see that they can not talk slow enough for you to be able to comprehend. But since you have already figured out enough about the product by talking to the people, you excuse them and straight away say "yes" on being asked whether you would like to apply for it. You are given a reference number and told that a DSA would meet you "within two business days". After calling up 3-4 times over next 12 days, finally someone comes in. He isn't the same person whose name has been told to you time and again by the call center staff. Has he run away?? Anyway, this person has already called you up thrice on that day and is still late by 3 hours from his last appointment, but you have to be in the office anyway – so you excuse them again. He comes with a form, you fill it up, you hand over the documents and lo! It turns out that there was severe miscommunication. The cheque you are required to give has to be a self-addressed cheque. It won't do if it is from someone else to you. What the hell!! How can I give a self-addressed cheque, I do not have an account yet. I have closed my earlier one before moving from Lucknow and am now trying to set-up one here. That's the reason I have applied for an account.
"Will you take cash?"
"Ma'm, to open an account with cash you have to go to one of our branches."
After waiting for 12 days, you are extremely irritated, but then there was a miscommunication. So, you have to live with it. Fine I'd go to the branch, with the only regret being that I should have known this earlier had the agent come "within two business days" and could have gotten an account earlier.
Anyway, I rush out of the office, go to the branch. But no! Even there they won't take cash. What is that supposed to mean? I do not have another account. I want an account, that's why I am here and applying…
"Sorry, Ma'm. Does your company have a salary account agreement with us?"
"Are you married?"
"Does your father or brother have an account in some bank?"
"They do have it, but they are not here. Take this cheque from my company."
"So, I need to have another account before I can open one at ICICI Bank."
I throw their application in a dustbin and walk out. Do not know whether to laugh or to feel irritated. Banks (any business, for that matter) would love to have competitors like that, don't you think so? They are doing the business for their competitors.
Darn! I am seriously tempted to go banking "old-fashioned way" and get an account with a nationalized bank. Truly amazing.
A friend gave the right analogy: You must eat Tiger Biscuits before eating Parle Biscuits. Else, we won't sell you the Parle Biscuits at all!!