Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Another day, another tangle with bureaucracy

Today, some cause for celebration: My employment visa has been extended. The babus have truly smiled upon me on this most glorious of Tuesdays!

My experience at the FRRO was BY FAR the least unpleasant it has ever been; though it did last about three-and-a-half hours, I somehow managed to wrangle a fixer from my company, who made the process much less bewildering than before. She was not just any fixer, but a fixer who specializes in relocation, a fixer who routinely spends time at the FRRO and knows how to handle every qualm brought up by the clerks, a fixer who speaks English and is utterly unflappable and balks when the bureaucrats make a lovely French (?) woman in delightful striped pants cry. I'm working up a verse in the fixer's honor, provisionally entitled "An Ode to Competence." (Aside: It's quite sad, as the beloved hubby pointed out, that competence is such a breath of fresh air to me these days.)

With a capable, strong woman facilitating the process, I got to spend some time people watching. If you're a people watcher, the FRRO is, indeed, a prime location. My favorite sighting today was a group of three women and three children, all under the age of five or so. The children were dressed in identical -- and likely handmade -- outfits of knitted, nubbly red yarn, intricately designed stitches and black stripes and fringe, yes, even fringe; the women waited stoically for their numbers to be called as the kids squirmed, their cheeks approaching the Valentine's massacre color of the sweaters and bloomers they were all trying desperately to shuck off.

Adorable, and I only hope their visa/immigration/extension-related business went as well as mine did.

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