Our RWA, like any other RWA in our universe, is like a circus where even acrobats strive to tickle the funny bone of residents. If you think this is untrue, let me tell you about the day they asked me to complete a form.

Form? – I asked – What sort of form do you want us to fill?

Just a few important details. We are planning the way our parking space needs to be planned. – said one of the members who loved the word ‘plan’ way more than anyone else there. I was later sent a sheet of paper with a number of questions and blank spaces.

Right after the name, flat number, and the car registration number came the first bouncer. They wanted me to write my driving license details. I immediately called up the secretary and asked – Why?

We need it.

Are you an NGO collecting data for the RTO?


Then why do you need a person’s DL number to plan parking-space?

I don’t know… one of the other members got the format done by his office clerk and we just had a print photo-copied for others.

Ah! – I replied – It must be so as many of our laws are just being pushed from one century to the next without a revision. But it is fine.

Any other question – he asked.

Form filling can be funny- artwork by Arvind Passey
Form filling can be funny- artwork by Arvind Passey

Yes – I said – The form asks me to fill the approximate space I need? Come on, if you can forward us a forwarded form, you can also copy and paste space details.

The secretary expectedly did not understand anything, so I had to ask him to ask people if they had more than one car. If yes, they would need to fill-in the same details for other cars as well.

Other cars? – he asked as he appeared genuinely confused – but why will others fill numbers of cars that belong to others?

Forget it – I said – you’re doing a great job, sir. But just tell me why you haven’t asked us for our height and weight?

And date of birth – he added and seemed excited – yes, I am noting this down. Will suggest this in next meeting. Talking on the phone while sitting five floors above his flat, I was rolling my eyes and making all sorts of funny faces without uttering a single word. This was turning out to be an incredibly memorable conversation. This man was unwilling to understand that the form they had sent was asking for data that they had no use of. I was on the verge of asking him to include the email IDs of all my cousins, attach family photographs, and details of trips abroad as well… all for deciding on who parks where within the block!

I wondered if this is what every form was like and a cursory check of a few forms on the internet tells me that this is indeed the case. At this rate, the form creators might begin asking for an increasing number of irrelevant details simply to make the form lengthier and impressive to their owners. This data collection race is a disease worse than any pandemic could ever aspire to be. It isn’t just forms that are funny, but the entire exercise of mindless data collection is a joke.

I remember going to a company owned service station and was surprised to be asked by the security guard there for my phone number.

For what do you need my phone number?

It is there in my register – he said.

I told him that these details were already with the company and that I had no intention of letting him note my number. There was a short argument, but I stood firm. He stepped back. There are forms that ask you to fill-in your Aadhar card, PAN, and even the driving license number without citing any reason for it. We need to wake up to this indiscriminate collection of data that could be misused by others and not wait for the Supreme Court to intervene.




Arvind Passey
18 July 2022