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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

My Passport Experience

Went to NYC to get my passport renewed. Had to get up earlier than usual and took off to the railway station. Secured the tickets after waiting in line and reached penn station NYC. Had to walk a couple blocks to take local subway that took me to the indian embassy uptown. Then walk some more blocks to join the serpentine queue waiting at the embassy! Walking in that bitter cold, I couldnot believe these were the very lanes we used to enjoy strolling down when we first came to US!! Some relief when my portion of the queue reached indoors! While waiting for 5 hrs in that jampacked room , I had to hear the woes of so many disgrunteld co-applicants. Some of them stood in the passport line for more than an hour when they actually came for a visa. Added to this , standing there for so many hours ( you guessed it - insufficient seating) made the weather outside look pretty ok.
Finally when she accepted my application, the lady at the counter tells me to come on monday evening to pick my passport..WTF...It was so crazy...my head just went for spin..just with the thought of repeating the whole travel and wait ....

While walking back I remembered my stay at bangalore 10yrs back where I first applied for my passport. It was a simple application. A few rupees of appreciation to the local cop and the postman and you had your passport!!

Anyways, I was happy I got my passport on monday with NO errors!

4 Comments:

  • Sorry to hear about your woes. Compared to that my experience at the Indian Embassy in Wash. DC. seems like a walk in the park. Couple of things I did not like were:

    ** No parking. I had to park at least a half a mile away and walk

    ** They insist on payment by cash and the nearest ATM is miles away at DuPont Circle. I mean who carries cash these day? Come on!

    They expect people to come prepared without providing sufficient information via the web or phone. The concept of customer service has a long way to go when comes to indian govt.

    By Blogger Harsh, at 2/14/2006 3:55 PM  

  • Nice to know Harsh...

    but yeah...why do they have to accept 200 applications when they have only some 10 seats for waiting..

    why cant they give some appointments!!

    By Blogger Surya, at 2/14/2006 4:06 PM  

  • Some Indian perspective to this..

    These days we get web appointments for the applications, and you have to appear in person to apply for a passport, so no middle men and no 'rupees of appreciation' to any one.. Thats the good part..

    Bad part is, you still have to wait about an hour in the Queue and about 2 Hrs inside.. I got my passport renewed last July.. actually had to go twice (and toil for 3 hrs) since my drivers license was not accepted as address proof!

    But hey! I see improvements in the system.. :)

    By Blogger Darshan, at 2/15/2006 12:52 AM  

  • Darshan,

    My comment was not an attempt to bash India. Far from it. In fact I wish all of us stayed away from India or US bashing and focus on just the facts. As a matter of fact after staying here for so many years I have a new appreciation for India and indian culture.

    I agree the improvements are there for everybody to see. But here is my pet peeve. When a person comes here, he/she immediately starts following the rules such as traffic rules or standing calmly in the queue or acknowledging the presence of another person when passing him/her on the road by way of simple hello or heck even keeping the cleanliness in the bathrooms. But when the same person is back home he/she immediately goes back to "old habits". May be even you and I are guilty of this at some point or the other. My question is: when we learn something "good" from a culture, regardless of whether it's indian or american, why can't we just follow it consistently.

    Some people never learn to change things for better. Looks like people in the Indian Embassies still think they are in India. Only thing good about that, I guess, is 'they are consistent'. :-)

    I think it all comes down to personal value system.

    By Blogger Harsh, at 2/15/2006 7:19 AM  

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