Wednesday, January 21, 2009

US visa interview Fiasco Part 1.

As proved in the previous post, that the 'P' Word will surely get me a blog comment, Let's get this ritual out of the way by saying Pranav can go fuck himself. :P I am not even worried about having to see his ugly little mug come summer because I got a US visa and I will be vacationing in America baby! (Oh, BTW, it was Obama's first day today. congrats and good luck to him.

So, this whole Visa Interview fiasco, let's go back when it all started. October this year. Well, let's call it part two of the US visa fiasco. Because I had given it a thought and tried getting an appointment when I was here in Canada before April 08. But this time, there was a little more motivation. Including, but not limited to my depression, need to get away, see something new, etc. Aayush Arya was also going to be in San Francisco in January 09 so I could get to meet him while experiencing sights and sounds of... a warmer place. After failing to get an appointment on my own, naniji offered some help, and most importantly, some much needed hope.

My mamaji, who's name I realized I shouldn't publish in something like this blog. He already has a wikipedia page and everything. The story is, secretary of a congressman tried contacting the US consulate in canada to try and book an appointment for me, but as it turns out, they wouldn't give someone an appointment on someone else's behalf. So a little disappointed, I tried again, and wht do you know! I did get an appointment. But that was on January 20th 2009. My grand plan was to get a visa by december so I could go there during my christmas holidays. Well, those I spent here, playing squash and developing a massive right arm. (no joke, my right forearm is visibly bigger than my left and also stronger)

Come January, I still have hopes of getting my visa and going to visit Aayush in SF before he leaves for no mans land again. I can afford to do that because I am absolutely, positively NOT interested in working on a portfolio. And no, Dipika didi, those messages you sent me don't help! So I go about my life, casually preparing a document checklist on Evernote (by the way, if you haven't checked out this awesome service, you should). I went to the college the other day, printed off the forms, (BUT STUPID FORGOT THE APPOINTMENT LETTER!) Emailed dad to send me some financial documents and I was done for the day.

Then, one day before the visa interview, I get those documents from dad, I print them out, which is, in itself, an event. I'll just say, you had to be there to see me sweating like I was on fire. I was also supposed to get a letter from naniji saying that they have offered to cover my expenses while I am there. But I didn't get it. So in the night, I called up naniji, and she said she'd email me a letter tomorrow. I said okay, if I feel that's important, and if I have the time, I'll print it off tomorrow.

I had a class at 8 on tuesday which I had planned to skip because I wanted to leave early for toronto. But mom calls me up EARLY in the morning and I am all sleepy and grouchy so I hang up and lying on my bed in disgust, I fall asleep again. I wake up a little too late according to the plan. Not just that, I realize as I'm going through my checklist that I hadn't printed out my appointment letter. Fuck! So instead of going to the GO station, I must head to sheridan and print it out. So I run to the Learning commons, looking like I've just been raped in the butt. After successfully printing off my appointment letter, and the DS 158 form, (just in case) and the letter from naniji, I put them together, and headed to the college bus stop.

I took the #20 bus going to the GO station and got there about 45 minutes before the next train to Toronto. I hadn't eaten anything since morning. But right then, I couldn't think of eating anything. I paced back and forth on the platform, hoping that by some miracle the train would come early than the regular 11:30 time. Me and my wretched luck! Train arrived at the designated time. Which is bad if you consider that it takes 45 minutes to get to TO and I had to get from the Union station to 360 University Avenue. Also on the books was a quick trip to staples, which according to Natansh 'is right in front of the consulate' to buy a express mail envelope.

On the opposite side of the street from the Consulate, there were some brown people holding canadian and American flags. I read "tamil-Canadian community congratulates Obama.." as I awalked back and forth in front of them, trying to figure out where the entrance to the consulate was. Some photographers and Videographers were there. And after a while the bulb clicked. The building across the street was the consulate and not the building on the side of the road they were standing. And I walked right up to the front entrance where a security guard told me I need to use the back entrance for the visa apointment etc.

And sure enough, there were people lined up out in the cold. As I approached, a security guard told me I will have to wait in the line. I told him I have a 1 pm appointment. He said "all that means is that you have an afternoon appointment. You still need to get here, line up and you will get in eventually." This is a fucked up system! It's below fucking zero today, and they just want us to freeze to death outside. Also, they wanted us to leave our electronic devices outside. And I decided to trust another lady who came there with her friend with my nokia E60 and ipod touch. (I also wrote down her name and phone number.) We decided to meet at a nearby Tim Hortons after we're done.

After the routine security check, before we were led into the waiting room, a lady was going through everyone's documents and taking them with the self-addressed envelop inside. two people were sent back for having filled out the form by hand instead of typing it online on the computer. First queue in the waiting room was just to get people to sign some part of the form and for the officials to verify that the person on the photo was indeed us. etc. We could then take a seat and wait for our name to be called out. I assume this was done so that they could queue up people for the interview, according to the order in which they came in.

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