My sister Rita is a funny woman. She asks me on the phone, “Don’t Australian visas have anti-theft thingies?” That was, after an email my younger sister received that said 'please come with authority letter to collect passports'. I replied, “Don’t be so optimistic, these foreign missions are all filled with psychos and can stop giving you a visa for any small error.” She says, “Oh well I am not a criminal or a cheat!” The problem is logic does not work with embassies. 

My friend Cheri has been waiting for a year now to get her minor daughter to Australia and this, after having filled every required forms backed by supporting documents. The embassy says the case is with the visa officer and it is in a yes or no stage! When I got my long term visa for Australia, they wanted a salary statement of the husband. He explained that there is no statement and whatever comes is an online statement. As expected the embassy in Delhi did not accept the online statement and kept the application on hold for want of better salary statement. Finally the dickheads accepted a letter saying the man is employed in the firm. I mean what is the proof of authenticity of the document?

A friend who was travelling to America even had to fill up the question: Are you a terrorist? He had every mind to write oh yes and no! Why is the process of gaining access to a different country such a pain at times!  It is now 7 am India time and I cannot wait for the clock to strike 12 pm when I will hear the news of my sister’s passport status. For a first time traveller, getting a western country’s visa is like passing through major exams, it seems. The clock is ticking and my nervousness is rising. I want the news right now.

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