Monday, June 16, 2008

A discourse on Indian administrative policies

Apparently, cricket happened today. I wouldn’t know; the Indians authorities detained me in an over-crowded, under-red nasty corporate room for the entire day.

It was like the 21st century equivalent of the Black Hole of Calcutta.

I had to get a visa for my sub-continental holiday. Oh you bastard, India, you couldn’t have made a normally painless procedure much worse today.

First off, I completed their damned forms weeks ago, but for my hellishly busy life, I was unable to submit them.

However, since my obedient pen-pushing, the buggers had changed the system – unbeknownst to me. So I turn up at the Indian High Commission promptly first thing this morning, on my day off.

Eventually, some incomprehensible goon starts bleating at me,

“A blur Vec toria a blur blue” he said, whilst pointing at an obscure piece of paper on the room.

I squinted at it,

“Visa applications have been outsourced. These are now being handled at Victoria. Fuck off.”

Where in Victoria, I had no idea. Fortunately, work was just around the corner, so I actually went into office on my day off. Searching the internet for a bloody map, fielding “I thought you were off today?” remarks.

Only, I would of, if anyone talks to me. Mercifully, this is one torment I do not presently endure.

I go to office at Victoria. Chaos is all about me. It’s like human-marmalade factory. A woman barked at me: “HAVE YOU APPLIED ONLINE?”

I simper.

“YOU IDIOT, GO AWAY AND TRY AGAIN.”

So back I go to the office, conveniently located on the other side of London. To re-fill those bloody forms. And then get on the same bloody train back again to Victoria.

Now, I have some experience of dealing with third world officials. There are two approaches to take.

Method one: obsequious toadying. Hardened travellers don’t have spines: the customs bureaucrat has a chip on their shoulder the size of Sourav Ganguly’s head, use it against them and flatter your way across the border.

Method two: the British Bluster. A technique used by many colonials throughout time, you bamboozle the official with your feigned air of superiority.

So, in I went, opening with “Now, I say, look here”, when Madame Card Index pointed me towards a ticket. It said 2180. I looked at the board. It said 157. My “methods” nullified in a second. Damn, she was good. Damned good.

The next eight hours were spent losing my sanity, and convincing myself I was a battery farmed chicken. It was a fantastic experience, being sandwiches between man who endlessly informed me of his housing opportunities in Harrow and man who belched vivaciously and joyfully for all he was worth.

£40 and a day off well spent.

Damn your eyes, India!

13 comments:

cdak said...

overcrowded? beurocratic intrigue and shennanigans? sounds nothing like India then! an amazing place but admittedly these are two issues not generally on the tourism brochures...

Spigot said...

you'll only get the squits as soon as you get there, you do know that, right?

Spigot said...

cdak thanks for the link to 4point5inches btw... favour returned.

D Charlton said...

Loving this - there should be more Kafka-style stories on cricket blogs - bad luck Ath, but made for an entertaining read.

Anonymous said...

Yeah i hate the way us people from the sub continent still think we're under colonial rule and practically worship white people, i'm actually really glad that that woman stood up to you.

The Atheist said...

Oh, I was so pissed off yesterday. I was well up for raising another imperial army and invading all vaguely "foreign" places.

The RAGE is still strong. Who should I blame? Everyone?

Yes. Everyone.

Miriam said...

Atheist, I think you should blame yourself.

The Atheist said...

That's mean.

You're mean.

Miriam said...

It's not mean. It's just that you can't HANDLE the truth.

I am not mean. I am firm but fair.

Miss Field said...

Just wait til you get there ;)

The Atheist said...

That's twice you've made me break down in tears, Miriam. *sniff*

Missy, I am sort of expecting it there, but, not here. I was unprepared. And angry. And many things besides.

Anonymous said...

Well. Just don't get into any of them taxis, not even the three-wheelers either.

Sometimes I don't, sometimes I do said...

Haha! Wait till you get here. And you thought it was spelt f-u-n, didn't you?

:)