How did I start my day? Well, thank you for asking. I started it by going to the Indian Consulate here in Paris because they requested an “in-person interview” about my visa application. It gave me the warm fuzzies when the travel agent told me that she’s never had this request before. Yay me…always the trailblazer.
Anyway, I ask the travel agent if I need to make an appointment. She tells me no, just show up sometime this week between 9:30 and noon. I was like, “Are you sure you can arrive unannounced at the consulate office?” TA, “Yes.” So that is what I did. And, e-family, what do you think happened? Do you think this process went smoothly? Spoiler Alert…it did not.
I arrive around 9:30am to beat the rush and catch folks in a good mood. I had learned from my visit to the French Consulate in Washington, DC that some of the workers aren’t morning people but I decided to take my chances. And crapped out. I wasn’t rolling 7s or 11s, y’all.
However, I arrive and speak with a nice African gentleman working the gate. As I explain the purpose for my visit, he waves me thru and I go up to the front desk.
Me: Bonjour, Madame! I’m here for an interview regarding my business visa to India.
Deepa (that is what I am naming her): Why are you?
Me: *thinking — “I just told you.”* Says out loud, “I’m here for a visa interview.”
Deepa: Do you have an appointment?
Me: *looks pitiful* No, Madame. I was told by my visa agent that I did not need one.
Deepa: *unaffected by my pitiful look* Who told you that?
Me: *clearly Deepa isn’t processing my clear communications with her* My travel agent. She sent me an email stating this fact.
Deepa: You can’t just show up at the office without an appointment! Show me the email!
Me: *woosah* *shows her the email*
Deepa: Yes, it says clearly right here that you are supposed to show up for an interview.
Me: Wait…what? Yes, it says I don’t need an appointment.
Deepa: Exactly! You did the right thing.
Me: *Deepa is lost in the sauce at 9:30am*
So, Deepa then asks for my paperwork…which I don’t have since it is with THE INDIAN CONSULTATE OFFICE. I inform her of this and she was like, “How do I know who you are?” *Jesus take the wheel and my visa application* I write down my name and passport number as that bit of advanced security seems to satisfy her. Deepa then goes to speak with person in charge of my visa application.
You are probably thinking…it can’t get any worse, right? WRONG. See, these jokers are what Charlie Murphy likes to call “habitual line steppers.” Which means they will cross the line each.and.every.time.
Setting the scene — Deepa walks me up some rickety steps, down the hall and to a large office where my piece of paper with my name and passport number are sitting. I sit down in from of Mahdi (the name I’ve selected for this gentleman) and he continues to shuffle and look thru sheets of paper for 3 minutes. I’m steadily looking at him like, “Sir?” He finally acknowledges my presence and we have the following exchange.
Mahdi: Why are you here?
Me: *Take me to the King* Because I was told I needed to come in for an interview regarding my business visa to India.
Mahdi: Hmmm. *picks up my passport* Page 51 is blank. Why?
Me: *clueless* Can I please see the passport to understand your reference? *he passes the passport and I see that it says to “see page 51” for endorsements. I’ve never noticed this and nobody has EVER questioned me about it…and y’all know how much I use my passport.* I don’t know what that is about. I’ve never been asked about it.
Mahdi: *looking like, “gotcha!”* Where you come from?
Me: Washington, DC but I live in Paris now.
Mahdi: But this application says Washington. There is no DC with it. You do know that Washington is also a state?
Me: *wanting to get sassy in the mouth but holding my mule so I can get this doggone visa* I don’t know why the travel agent didn’t put DC on it. I’m sure it was a simple oversight. And, yes, I am aware that Washington is also a state.
Mahdi: *looking put upon like I asked him for a ride to the airport* Do you speak Hindi?
Me: No, is that a requirement? *can’t help myself*
Mahdi: Where you plan to go in India?
Me: Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad
Madhi: Hmm, what is this on your forehead in the picture on your French visa?
Me: It’s a smudge.
Mahdi: I thought you wore a dot on your forehead like some Indian ladies. Have you been to India before?
Me: No. *and at this point, it doesn’t look likely that I ever will.*
Mahdi: Looks like you missed your flight. *They took so long processing my visa that I had to reschedule my trip for late February*
Me: I know but it’s ok.
Mahdi: What’s the capital of Washington?
Me: *confused* The capital of Washington? In the United States?
Mahdi: So you do know about the U.S.
Me: *taking out my phone to get Jesus on the main line* Yes, sir.
Mahdi: Okay, I will approve your visa. Have a nice trip.
This is my life, y’all. I promise you that I cannot make this stuff up. India better be a freaking dream with everything I’ve had to go thru to get this visa 🙂