I thought I would re-activate the data card that I bought and used a couple of years ago. But, of course, that is now old technology, which wouldn't work.
"Ok then, I will buy a new one" I told the customer service person.
"Do you have the ID documents, sir?"
"Yes, I have come ready with my passport, and copies of the passport" I said as I took all those out of my bag.
She looked at them, and said, "we need an immigration certificate too."
I told her that I don't have any such certificate and that the passport has the Indian visa.
"No, sir, they would have given you an immigration certificate stating that you are here in this country for a reason."
"What reason? I am here on a tourist visa and am staying with my parents" I explained. But, it was clear I needed that certificate in order to get the new data card, which will be my on-ramp to the internet. No data card, well, no internet.
"Do you have any Indian ID, sir? Maybe your bank account?"
"I don't have anything Indian. I have been an American for too long."
"Sorry, sir, without the ID we can't create an account for you."
I was clearly stuck. No point cursing the system--after all, these protocols had been triggered by one too many terrorist incidents.
At least, here in India, I don't have to strip down so that I will be cleared to climb into an airplane, which is the case back in the US. At the Portland airport, I was shocked to find quite a few men standing around in their jeans and undershirts--because they had removed even their sweaters before proceeding through the latest scanner.
It was my turn and the TSA agent suggested that I remove my sweater. I asked him what would happen if I didn't. He said I might be pulled aside for a pat down.
Guess what? I retained my sweater, and the agent was not too happy to feel me around :)
India requiring all these papers is a similar response to terrorism. So, I asked her, "what else can I do?"
"Your father can open the account, sir. He will have to bring the original ration card, a photocopy, and a recent photograph."
Uncle Sam failed, and it is dad to my rescue!
Thirty minutes later, I was back there with dad and all the supporting documents. He signed on the dotted lines, and ten minutes later, the agent installed the data card on my laptop and, presto, I was back online.
It was time to pay. "So, after you didn't want to take my US passport, will you accept my American credit cards?" I jokingly asked. Of course, it was rhetorical!