Indian Visa

It used to take forever to get a visa to go to India. I would have to take the train to Chicago and go to the consulate, wait around for hours for someone, anyone, to talk to me. Then after filling the application form, the man in charge would tell me, “ok, come back tomorrow at 4 pm.” How could I do that? My train back to Quincy would leave at 5.45 pm , and I had a return ticket to get on it the same day.

I would tell him,”Please can you process the visa today itself, because I have come by train, traveling 300 miles. I need to return tonight itself. I have office hours tomorrow and I cannot stay overnight in Chicago”.

He would glare at me for the inconvenience I was putting him through. There was disgust on his face. After five or six minutes of pretending to be very busy, he would tell me, “if you want it today itself, there would be additional charge of $50.” I knew very well, that that amount would go in his own pockets, but I had to agree. Then he would tell me to return to the visa office at 2 in the afternoon. And I would finally get it, the original fee for the visa of $60, and the extra $50 that he expected, and was paid before he handed the visa to me along with my passport.

This was far better than when the visas were issued out of New York offices. We would request the application form first, and after receiving them, and sending them by express mail, we would just wait and wait and wait some more. So many times I had to call the embassy in DC. No one picks the phone up in these places. We would finally get the visa weeks later.

This happened every single time I traveled to India. My country, my birth place. The men who worked in the consulate, extended their corruption on to this land. It was pitiful.

But now, there is a difference. Applying on line, for an e-tourist visa was a breeze. I applied for it yesterday, and I received it by email this morning, even though I was told that it might take about 72 hours; and that would have been okay too. But, now I have it in my hand, and secure within the pages of my passport.

I think this is the first time that has happened. Apparently the new Prime Minister, Modi, has eased travel for Indians who live abroad.

I am hoping to leave for the wedding on the 10th of August, and will return perhaps by the 24th or the 25th. I had thought that I would stop over in London for a couple or three days on my return; but M thinks that perhaps we could both travel later and go on a vacation to London and Ireland. We’ll see about that. So, it is just to India this time, and I am going by myself.

Today is our 48th wedding anniversary. Not bad for an arranged marriage, eh? No, we didn’t do anything special. He wanted to take me to a fancy restaurant here, and being Ramadan, I just didn’t feel like going out. So we just had a simple meal at home.

Have a great evening and a wonderful weekend.

About Zakiah

I write poetry and some fiction, have a book that was published in 2012. . . Stray Thoughts/Winged Words. I have four grandchildren, ages 16 and half to almost 16 months. I love the ocean, and grew up along the Indian Ocean in South India. I am a retired physician. Don't know much else to say. Thanks for reading. That has been my profile for so many years. My daughter Saadia a great poet and story teller, has two sons; the oldest grandson is now 21 years old, doing architectural engineering at Missouri S&T in Rolla MO. His younger brother is almost 16 and taking driving lessons seriously and is in High School. The other two grandsons, children of my son Sayeed, are 9 and 5. I have recently published another book titled Gulistan, A home of Flowers. It has stories and memories of my childhood and of a distant land which I still consider as my HOME., even though I have lived here in the US for more than fifty years. Hope to see you on my blog.
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14 Responses to Indian Visa

  1. mrswrangler says:

    Glad the process is quick and easier now. Congrats on your long marriage. Have a great weekend.

  2. slmret says:

    I’m so glad your visa was so easy this time! Between a new PM and lots of technological advances, it sounds as if the process has really been improved! And even better that you might go again later for a longer visit! The planning for this trip is going to be almost as much fun as the trip itself! And special congratulations on your 48 years of marriage! Many hugs to you 🙂 !

  3. I’m glad to hear things are easier now. And congratulations on the anniversary. ❤

  4. sunsetdragon says:

    A very blessed and happy 48th Anniversary.
    How wonderful hat you got your visa so quick online and I bet you are looking forward to going to your trip.
    Be well and have a wonderful week end.

  5. Tree says:

    I’m glad to hear the bureaucracy has lightened at least a little with the modernization. Taxes used to be complicated; now you can file online and get your return electronically. Even the DMV is easier sometimes. Sounds like you will have a great trip. Happy Anniversary! Wow, 48 years!

  6. Glad the process has gotten better!
    Congratulations on your anniversary! The kids and grand-kids do add SO MUCH joy! 🙂
    I’m so excited you get to travel to the wedding! 🙂
    ❤ and HUGS!!! 🙂

  7. jstnotherday says:

    Hi Zakiah,
    You said,
    “I knew very well, that that amount would go in his own pockets”
    and all I could think was, ‘Wow, do you really think that is true, even in this country?’ I hope you don’t take this wrong, it is just what I thought… hard to convey in writing… essentially it just confounded me. It is not a thought I ever would have had.
    Lovely to hear about your 48th anniversary, and that you will be able to attend the wedding in India. I think computers have just all around made alot of things easier.
    So, you are still in Ramadan? I was thinking that the month of Ramadan had passed.
    Sending well wishes to you,

  8. Glad the visa was easy to get this time. And happy anniversary 🙂

  9. theinfiniterally says:

    There are some terrific advantages to modern living. My wife is about to deposit a check with her iPhone. Go figure how that works. I am so glad you will be able to go to the wedding. I hope there will be many photos that you can share with us. I hope it was a happy and lovely anniversary!

  10. marica0701 says:

    I remember when my dad had to renew his green card a number of years ago; it was a very lengthy process that even needed a several-day trip to DC. Sheesh.

    Glad that the process is much smoother and quicker for you now to get your visa! Enjoy your trip to India, and I send my belated anniversary wishes to you!

  11. Computers ease the adminisitration but they have two faces . They can be dangerous too .
    I am glad you had you visa quickly
    I wish you ane your husband a happy wedding anniversary.

  12. So glad you get to go to the wedding.
    Happy Anniversary. That’s a long time for any couple these days.

  13. rudyhou says:

    belated happy anniversary to you and M. as for the indian visa, i thought american passport holders can go to india without the need to apply for a visa?

    • Zakiah says:

      American passport holders can go anywhere (it seems) without having to get visa, except to India and may be Pakistan. The process has become easier though.

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