“Dear Customer,

welcome to the exclusive world of Titanium Rewards Debit Card”, the letter from Axis Bank reads. And oh year, it really seems to be exclusive. So exclusive actually that the bank nearly drove me crazy before I got the card. But from the beginning.

When it was about time to open a bank account, I contacted my landlord, who is the manager of the A-block club and an important man in my residential quarter. With me in tow he stomped into his relationship bank, raised an alarm and proclaimed loudly that I, his tenant, need a bank account. Now. I felt humble.

In his presence the paperwork was surprisingly easy – for Indian standards, obviously. I only had to hand in my lease agreement, a passport copy, a copy of my visa and the letter that states I got the visa, a copy of the residence letter of the Foreign Regional Registration Office, a copy of the tax card, a copy of my employment contract and several photographs. But I came prepared.

Then, as it is usual in India, the address must be checked. So a young lady and her male colleague came to my office to see if I’m really there. I was. This habit still makes me wonder, because I want to give them my money, not the other way round. Shouldn’t I go and check them out? But anyway, all would be done soon, the young woman promised.

But how soon is soon in India? After a couple of weeks, I called and heard empty promises. I walked in the bank branch and heard empty promises. I made my landlord call and he heard empty promises. Every time the lady told me: Tomorrow.

One day, she didn’t say “tomorrow”. She asked me to come and fill in some forms. Apparently I filled in the wrong ones in the beginning, namely the ones for locals, not for foreigners – but I’m officially a resident of India, so I don’t see the difference. Well, they do.

Next time she asked me to come with some copies of my passport. But wait, I said, you already have these copies. Yes, she replied, but you have to sign on them. So I went to the bank and signed.

Ready to clear? N0. She needs an address in Germany, the young lady told me the next time. But I’m a resident of India, I responded, now really unpatiently. Anyway, she said. What to do? I finally gave her a payslip that has my name as well as the address of my company in Hamburg. It worked.

And then…. tataaa: The account got cleared.

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