Friday, June 20, 2014

An old car for an old man visiting his old country!

"You have not filled out the correct immigration form" the female officer told me with an expression that suggested a combination of irritation and disgust.

I don't blame her; after all, if I am being asked to work at midnight, I too will be cranky as hell.  Or, perhaps she was just being a Ramamritham!

"Do you have the form here?"

"No, it is there" she said pointing her fingers to a far away fixture on the wall.

I walked up to that one.  Two holders for forms and neither seemed to have any papers.

I walked back to her and reported that there were no forms.

She was even more irritated and disgusted.  "It is there in the wooden one."

I went there and fished around inside.  Dammit she was right.  There was one form.  One f*ing form was all that was there in those two bins together.  Couldn't these folks at least restock that damn thing?

Having filled it out, I waited for her to finish processing the person at her counter.

Meanwhile, a younger man waiting in line was getting visibly upset that I was making a dash for the counter. "Sir, the line is here" he advised me in a very Indian manner of spoken and body language.  I couldn't be bothered.  "She asked me to make a correction to the form" I said as I walked up to the counter.

The utterly smile-less officer stamped the passport and I moved on.

Welcome to India, I told myself.

I am sure the Indian visitors get a lot more hassled by the process when they visit the US.  But, hey, I can only blog about my own experiences ;)

I paid upfront for a taxi and walked up to the parking lot.  A driver led me to his cab.  An old black Ambassador with a yellow top.  It looked so old and beaten up that I worried it might not be air-conditioned.  "Does this have AC?" I asked him.  He nodded an affirmative.

It was stifling inside the cab.  I removed my shirt and stuffed it into the backpack.  Welcome to India, I told myself.


Ramesh said...

I am surprised by your experience. Indian immigration has improved immensely from the bad old days - these days its amongst the best in the world. An average time at the counter is 1 minute and the waiting time is seldom more than 10 mts.

There is only one arrivals form - for Indians and foreigners alike. So how come you filled up a wrong form !!!

Yes, the smile may be missing, but that is a common problem everywhere in the world. France, Italy, Poland lead in the grumpiness stakes.

The mighty Amabassador is on its last legs. HM have finally stopped producing it. Another five years and you won't see a single one on the roads.

By the way, the feminine equivalent of Ramamritham is Apithakusalambal. Mention this to your mom to get her laughing uncontrollably !!

Sriram Khé said...

Bad luck of the draw this time, my friend. Shit happens! ;) But, to a wannabe writer, it means more materials to write about .... hehehehe ;)

Do you remember when HM introduced the Contessa? Some serious case of coloring outside the lines that was. Am glad the Ambassador is on its way out--long, long overdue.

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