Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Just another reason I love India

So yesterday was a rather stultifying day of red tape; I spent 10 consecutive hours at the Ministry of Home Affairs, primarily being 1) told to wait, 2) laughed at, or 3) asked why I didn't want to be a housewife. But let's put that aside for awhile. Bitterness is so passe.

The new black is belligerence, which I would like to illustrate with a short conversation shouted between a visa seeker and a visa officer.

Officer: "Why are you here again?"
Seeker, a middle-aged balding man, his rumpled purple Oxford shirt unbuttoned to reveal a delightful mass of gray chest hair: "I am needing visa! I am from Italy!"
Officer: "But you haven't followed any of the visa protocol!"
Seeker: "I have seen India! I have seen enough of India! No more!"
Officer: "One by one, you have violated the rules of the visa protocol! There is visa protocol!"
Officer: "We will put you in jail! You will be behind bars!"
Seeker: "I don't want JAIL, I want a visa! I hate your country! War!"

What surprised me most, perhaps, was that rather than being trucked off to Tihar, this individual was given what he wanted. Five hours before they addressed my concerns. I think the best thing for me to do is to stop trying to make sense of this utterly chaotic, irrational place.


VR said...

Nothing to do with this post... but just thought might interest you...at least the name!

Rochelle said...

I love your blog! I'm sorry to hear you're leaving India soon. I just arrived (more like re-arrived, as I visited last Fall) this Spring and got married. I've enjoyed reading your views on living in India.

It sounds like you've had a fun time (note sarcasm) getting your visa handled. I hope we don't have too much trouble, as my new "H" is a chronic procrastinator. We still need to get the certificate from the Gurudwara, which we need to register the marriage.


I hope you continue your weblog after your relocation.

Zoey said...

Hey Rochelle! Glad you like the blog. Are you based in Delhi? Perhaps we could meet up; I'm still here for about another month and a half.

How goes the marriage-certificate process vis a vis the gurudwara? We opted for a civil marriage, which was its own little slice of bureaucratic hell, but S's parents wanted us to have a ceremony at the gurudwara (we didn't, for various reasons). But I'm always excited to hear from someone who understands just a bit of the existential angst related to being an "outsider" (for lack of a more descriptive phrase) in the subconty!

Rochelle said...

Hi Zoey! We live in Chandigarh, a suburb of Mohali. But sometimes we travel to Delhi for my husband's work and stay with his brother in Gurgaon, so it's quite possible we'll be visiting Delhi in the near future. Hopefully there will be more than a 1-day notification. Things move fast around here.

We now have the passport-sized photo of us on our wedding day as requested, and we just need to type up a statement and take it to the Gurudwara. Hopefully the secretary will actually be in the office during the posted office times. It seems that office hours are more of a suggestion there.

I've been encouraging my hubby to get this going, since my visa expires in mid-August and bureaucracy is slow.