Oh how I dislike the Brits right now. Oh how I loathe them right now.
You see… this weekend i.e. 2 days from now, I was supposed to sit my happy ass down in a plane and fly to Londontown and attend Casa’s graduation ceremony. Because friends attend friends’ graduation ceremonies.
I have an Indian passport. Always have and probably, most likely always will. I haven’t jumped on the passport switching bandwagon yet and I don’t see a strong reason to do so. I guess I have always felt that a passport is an integral part of your identity and your roots and you can just exchange or return it like it were a pair of shoes that didn’t fit right. There probably are valid reasons for changing citizenship but in my mind, practicality isn’t one of them.
But an Indian passport is, sometimes, like not having a passport at all. You need a visa to go anywhere and everywhere and for someone like me (or Casa), it’s a fucking pain in the ass, and not to mention an expensive and endless effort. Even though you have a real job and a decent bank balance, you get treated like crap at most embassies and even though, you have no desire to immigrate to some fucking beach town that has no real economy, you are inevitably treated like you intend to.
I am currently on my fourth passport, yes fourth – each with a unique number, each with all pages exhausted on needless stamps and visa stickers. Everytime I apply for a visa to a country I have already visited, I have say “Yes” to the question “Have you entered the XYZ republic under a different name or a different passport?” Groan. Yes. Let’s furnish an exhaustive cover letter about the 3 prior passports and why they had to be cancelled.
But back to the loathsome problem of the data which is the blasted UK visa. If you are considering applying for a UK visa, kindly un-consider this decision because it is simply not worth it. You are better off going to another country. There is a painfully long online form at the end of which you are charged a fat sum of money (part of which pays for return mail). Fine. Then you are sent a document. You print this document and go to….wait for it… US HOMELAND SECURITY to get fingerprinted. This is by far the most cordial and human part of the process and I am not being sarcastic. Once you get fingerprinted (all ten fingers, twice, like a fucking criminal), they stamp and sign this document. You shall now put this document into an envelope. Said envelope will contain all your passports, your original paystubs, visa documents, bank statements, urine and stool samples, etc (okay I am kidding about the last one but frankly that is the only one these bastards deserve). ALL ORIGINAL FUCKING DOCUMENTS. Never mind that you’re shitting yourself with fear putting every evidence of your identity and trusting it to faith and a courier service. Okay, you send the documents over to the British Embassy which is located…..ummm…I don’t know… 1 BLOCK AWAY from your office. Why? “We don’t take walk-ins”. You get an email a day later that your application has been received and that it takes “5-10 working days”. You are a bit surprised because according the website, the New York office takes an average of 2 working days. You hope for the best and in any case, you expect them to be done quickly because with reliable evidence and a five figure bank balance you don’t expect them to shit around with your visa. You don’t book a ticket, of course because you dont actually know when they will give you a visa, nor for how long, nor when it is marked for.
No news from the embassy yet. They dont’ answer the phone nor “entertain visa status queries”. They have a “pay per minute” phone line that costs 3$ plus tax (PER FUCKING MINUTE? What is this a phone sex hotline?) which you cannot seem to dial out to from any of your three phones. You wonder where exactly this money that they charge goes because clearly you don’t get a modicum of respect considering that your most precious documents are with them. On another note, the ticket prices fly through the roof. There is almost no way that you are going to make it to your friend’s graduation. You think to yourself, Oh maybe I should have applied earlier. But no, they don’t let you do that because they don’t post-date the visa and besides you can’t have them hold your passport hostage when you have other trips planned already. Uhhhhh……………….
This is undignified, disrespectful and unnecessary. Make no mistake, this shall be my last visa application to the United fucking Kingdom. I am seriously pissed off and this apathy and incompetence is a bit much even for the inventors of bureacracy! Fuck you.
Make that a “royal” fuck you.