Suffering from formophobia

Suffering from formophobia

By Bikram Vohra

Published: Fri 9 Aug 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 9 Aug 2019, 2:00 AM

If I was given a shot of truth serum and asked what I really loathe, I would say, forms. I hate forms. Forms scare me more than tarantulas. Filling them in drives me into paroxysms of rage; I have seen grown men break down and I can truly appreciate their feelings.
You may not be aware but it is called formophobia and is recognised as a condition. The scariest part of this exercise is that you do not know whether to tick 'yes' or 'no' and whether it is applicable to you.
Wanted a visa the other day and the form was duly downloaded and a black ink pen bought and we bathed and settled down at the table to begin this saga. I remember the old days when they would ask on the immigration form what your country of domicile is. I never knew what to write. Then they would say point of embarkation and I would get all muddled up, like we have landed at three places since yesterday, which one works, what if they catch me in a lie. Then what is the difference between the billing address and the shipping address. And what about those parts that you are not supposed to fill in? Followed by the quiz contest: if you fill in Section A, then you can fill Section C, but not Section B.
And the space is never commensurate with the answer. How many times have you been to this country in the past 10 years? The space allotted is about half an inch - how the hell are you going to get all your trips into it?
Banks make you fill in forms. The have your money and they have full knowledge of your spending habits; they know more about you than you do, but you still need to fill in forms. Insurance companies want all your history from infancy through the measles and mumps to the present day. You feel ill just filling it in.
Apply for a job, fill in a form. Get sacked, fill in an HR form with the executioner grinning hideously as you read the fine print.
Okay, you get the drift. And why do they always leave .45 of an inch of space above and below each line so you have to squeeze your name in block letters and it looks like a dog's breakfast. No one is stingier than the form designers. I think they are hired because they are naturally nasty and mean. Have you ever seen a generous 'here go for it, lots of space' form? Ever?
Then they ask for your mother's maiden name and it baffles you because you are a grandparent yourself and what on earth are you going to do with my mother's details? Does having it make it easier to track me if I default?
Then there are those multiple signatures. Have you ever filled a form and left out at least one of those 'tick here' places and then had to look sheep-faced when it is pointed out? Sign every page and if you have an agent, he has placed little pencil crosses where you have to sign, and it is dollars to doughnuts you will leave out one of them. because I did not notice the penciled cross, look, I am sorry, would you like me to fall on my sword and kill myself?
And then the appendices that come along with the main form.
You'd think by now in this hi-tech age, paper would have become obsolete. No way. And even when it is online, you still have to print it, fill it, scan it, sign it, resend it and then it gets rejected because one of the columns with the mandatory * was missed.
One day, they will have forms to fill so you can get a form. They will be called requisition forms. Uh oh, we already have them.
Then brave you goes into battle, loaded to the gills with scanned colour copies of 27 different documents and fetch up at the counter when your number is called and they go through the sheaves and your heart is going boom-titty-boom-titty and then the counter person looks up and says where is Form 13b, we cannot accept it without 13b, and where is the affidavit, it is not stamped. That is what I would like to do, mister, stamp you.
wknd@khaleejtimes.com




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