Passport Application Verification Process


I’ve got dreams. Everybody has some dreams they want to fulfill. You know, like owning a restaurant or becoming a world famous dancer or becoming a pop star or eating a quiche the size of Texas. I too have a dream *cue Tangled OST, “I’ve Got a Dream”. My dream is to go to Canada for my post graduations. And hopefully, if things work out for me, I want to settle there.

So, I have taken the first step towards fulfilling my dream of going to Canada- applying for a passport. I applied for it a month ago actually. And a few days ago I went for the verification process in the passport office. Now the thing is, our passport office workers have interesting ways of doing what they have been assigned to do. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to insult anybody here, all I am saying is that it is fascinating. The whole process is kinda fascinating. I will tell you why- here’s a counter to counter report of the conversation I had with them.

                                               My Passport Verification-a-logue

Counter A:

Official: Hello, sit down.

Me: Thank you.

O: Look straight into the camera please. Tuck your hair behind your ears, they need to be visible.

M: okay. *click*

*does some verification thingy on the computer.*

O: May I have your documents please? Thank you. So where will you be going with your passport?

M: Canada.

O: oh, why?

M: To study.

O: When will you go?

M: After my graduation.

O: where do you study now?

M: XYZ College, 2nd year.

O: What do you study?

M: Psychology.

O: why psychology? Why not any other subject?

M: Because I like psychology.

O: okay. When will your braces come off?

M: 6 months or so.

O: Great. Did anybody accompany you today?

M: well, my father came because even my brother is getting his verification done today and he is a minor.

O: I see. Okay you can go now. Look out for your name on the screen and go to the assigned counter.

Counter B:

Official #2: Document for address roof please.

M: Here, my voter id card.

O2: Hmm. You look better in this photograph than the current one here [passport documents, the one I got clicked in counter A]

M: *stare at her for a second* Thank you?

O2: So why did you cut your hair?

M: *stare at her incredulously for two seconds* Because I had dengue and I lost a lot of hair after that so I chopped it all off.

O2: I see. But don’t cut it again. Grow your hair this time. You look good in long hair.

M: okay? Thank you…

O2: you can go now. Wait for the next counter number.

 

So, I was waiting in the waiting room for my name to show up on the screen. I waited for 15 minutes and then the guy from counter A shows up and says-

O: not done yet?

M: *in my mind- you can see me sitting here, waiting. So what do you think?* Nope.

O: okay. *goes away. Only to come back 10 minutes later*

O: I see you’re still not done yet.

M: *in my mind- No shit, Sherlock.* Nope.

O: Go to the front desk, they will tell you where to go before your name shows up on the screen.

M: okay, thank you.

*Find out where to go, go to counter and wait for the guy before me to finish.*

Counter C

Official #3: So many mosquitoes here today. I totally killed 4 of them with my wallet. Someone has to tell the sweepers to clean this room properly today.

*continues to discuss mosquitoes with four other officials, who also cease their work to talk about mosquitoes for the next 15 minutes, I kid you not.*

O3: *to the guy before me, who also contributed to the mosquito talk* Okay, you can go now.

*proceeds to stare at me for a few seconds after I hand him my documents*

O3: Are you a Bengali?

M: *stare at him with open irritation: Yes.

O3: *smiles broadly* But you look like a Marwari!

M: *give an exhausted half smile*

O3: Okay, you can go then.

He did not even check a SINGLE document. Just flipped through the folder. I waited for FORTY minutes to answer if I am a Bengali or a Marwari.

And thus, 2 and a half excruciating hours later, all the documents were verified and I walked out like victorious warrior who just got his limbs amputated. Okay, I am grossly exaggerating, but whatever. I am just glad it is over.

Canada, HERE I COME! Right after I manage to graduate. 

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I’m Trilingual! Almost.


My grandfather is worried about me.
If you didn’t know already, I’m from India. East India, to be precise. From the state West Bengal. I was born and mostly brought up in the capital of Bengal, Calcutta. My mother tongue is Bengali. But, I don’t know much about it. I can’t read it, I can’t write it (naturally), I can barely speak it. I can, however, understand what a person is saying, if I’m spoken to in Bengali. It’s shameful, really. I know. But in my defense, I was in another state when they started to teach us a third language (first being English and second being Hindi), so I learnt Sanskrit instead of Bengali and then when I got back to Calcutta, I just never got around to learn Bengali.
Now, my grandfather is worried that if a guy ever writes me a love letter in Bengali, how will I read it? I will not know what he has written in it. I won’t know whether he wrote that he loves me or that he thinks I’m an egotistic brat and there’s nothing appealing about me. Or if he wrote about eggplants. I’ll never know. If I ask somebody else to read and translate, it would not be personal and exclusive anymore.
Then my grandmom whacked him on the head with the newspaper, yelling about how he’s putting funny ideas in my head and how I’m too young to get a boyfriend anyway. My grandpa doesn’t agree, though.
I tried my best to explain to him that I won’t get involved with anybody who can’t write me a letter in English. It seems to have done the job for the time being.

My question is, how will I even get a boyfriend? One who writes love letters, at that. There’s a dearth of decent guys around me, as it is.

Oh, also, I noticed today that most of my blog readers are from India, USA and UK, in that order! And Philippines, Canada, Germany, Australia, Pakistan, Mexico, Malaysia, Kenya, Brazil, Kuwait etc, in that order. I was so happy to see that so many people from so many places tolerate the nonsense I spout 😀
So, thank you for reading! ^_^
You guys really make my day everyday!

Karma is Catching Up, I Think.


Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in a kingdom called Calcutta. Okay, well, she wasn’t really little. And it wasn’t really a kingdom. She was quite grown up. Legally, an adult. And Calcutta was far from being a kingdom. It was a city. A city full of chaos. A city where everything moved at a terribly slow pace. A city, where all its inhabitants seemed to sleep forever. Nobody seemed to want much from life. A city where nothing developed, except for streetlamps and flyovers. In spite of all this, it was called the city of joy. It used to be the capital of the country. It used to be beautiful. The girl couldn’t understand how the beauty of the city eroded into what it became. But it was still home. Though it was beginning to feel like a cage.

The girl wanted to go out. She wanted to visit places. She wanted to leave the country and roam the world. She wanted to experience all the cultures, wanted to see all the beauty the world had to offer, wanted to meet different people. She wanted to live. But times weren’t easy for her. She was trapped in the city. She had to remain there for three years to finish her graduation, after which her father had promised to send her wherever she wished to go, within reason, by any means.

He was a good man, her father. He always took care of her. Never let her want for anything. He would give her everything he could before she could ask for it. But the girl wasn’t spoilt. She valued things. She valued everything. And she knew that her father would keep his promise.

She attended a supposedly good college. The college had good name. But that was it. Like every other institution in Calcutta, it was all on the surface. Initially, she couldn’t fathom how the college managed to maintain its name. Then one day, it all made sense to her. NAAC, an accreditation body, funded by the government, had come to visit and inspect the college. It would later grade the college. And of course, the college had to look its best for them. Then the grooming started. First, they started painting. No, not the entire college. Just the patches where the paint had come off over time. And it wasn’t even the same shade of dull yellow. It wasn’t done a month before the visit, though. So the entire building was smelling of paint when the NAAC representatives came to visit. Smart move, she thought to herself. And they made all the students of the college wear semi formal clothes as well. And, they actually installed WiFi for those three days. They scrubbed and dusted and cleaned and polished every corner of the college. They even painted the boards black. The girl was flabbergasted. It all made sense to her, how the college maintained its name and grade. It was all a facade. They were all pretentious, to an extent. No classes were held for the girl and her batch that day. So she did not know how the NAAC representatives graded their teaching method and all.
That day, she realized that they were all faking it. The authorities, the students, the teachers. Every one of them. Perhaps the entire world was faking it, she wasn’t sure.

But anyway, the girl had learnt to accept a lot of things in life, so she accepted that too, with a smile on her face. For, what else could she do?

Days dragged on and on. Classes were tiresome, schedules were tedious.
One day, she had the greatest and most uncontrollable urge to use the washroom. Nature was calling her. Not softly either. Nature was screaming through a mic into her ear. So she decided to use the college washrooms. Usually, she avoided public washrooms. But that day, she couldn’t. She just couldn’t. And of course, when you know you should avoid doing something but you do it anyway, it comes back and bites you in the arse. The girl got an E.Coli infection. The college had once again proved that it was not what it should be. That day, she realized that they had never come across the new age product called “disinfectant” either. She could not attend college the next day. So she stayed back at home, sat down on her bed armed with a bottle of water and a bottle of medicine, flipped out her phone and typed all of the above down.

Okay, bye.