Friday, December 15, 2006

Visa Power - Go Get IT!!!! Part 1

For all the ignorant and hapless souls who are not in IT industry let me make one thing clear. In Indian industry, which works on the 'Global delivery model', getting a Visa is not a big deal and it does not necessitate an applause or a congratulatory note. But, looking at how harried I was, I very well deserve this note.... To know more, read on -

Every confirmed employee applies for a Visa and so when I applied for it, I was not too kicked about it... I mean why should I be. Its not distinctive but another trait of the herd that I am in. So, with zero enthusiasm I filed in my papers - for the forms sake. But little did I know, that this would be a rough ride :)

So, the process is I submit my docs to company, they courier my petition to consulate and then I get a stamping date and eventually a visa (hopefully I am smart enuf to clear the interview). So, this is how my hurdle race began coz hurdles seem coming everywhere possible. A rush for filing petitions started which resulted in premature closing of the cap.... So, the cap closed on 26th May and my papers got filed on 27th May... "Chalo!!! Mera America ka sapna adhoora rahega yeh saal"; I thot but I wasnt particularly dejected or anything (thanks to my extremely low enthu levels)... Forgotten all about my visa, I start my daily work and one fine day I get my work permit number.... If I had an ordinary name, i wud ve to check this twice or thrice to know if its me... But clearly, my unique name made this exercise redundant... So, hajar forms to fill now... DS-156, 157, some silly questionnaire etc... As usual my enthu levels ensured that I just about meet the deadlines for every phase.... Meanwhile, HR department noticed my inactivity and I started to get mails to move my a*@!&$... Shuchi, one of my colleagues who had her visa stamped by then, had to put through a lot with me buzzing questions in her ear all the time (amidst SEV 1 IMRs and COGNOS Servers going weird)

Finally, I give my papers to the Visa department waiting for them to block me a date... Here's a catch, the date has to be taken within 7 days else the online forms you fill expire.... And guess what... Visa Dept successfully gets my account expired.... :( So, the hajar line form to be filled again :(( Did that and finally got a date 13th Dec 2006 - 11:30 am slot... Phew... One job done...This was done in the second or third week of November so clearly, by the time December came, the low enthu levels plunged lower.... Now, the visa department gives all the documents arranged in the order... U just have to collect those, attend a briefing session given by them and then go to the interview and get visa... Hajar ppl did it before me, so I knew nothing could go wrong with me... But, life has an uncanny knack of teaching me lessons I dont want to learn...

11th Dec - 16:00 hrs - I got a huge set of docs... in the order specified... My briefing session got postponed... Still as cool as a cucumber, I came to my desk, put everything in the drawer and started my daily work and very easily forgot about the Visa thingy (In my defence, that visa dept guy said, "arre dont worry... just check the checklist and get the originals... everything ele is taken care of...") So, I had nothing to worry... also, y get scared about the interview... that firang wont know as much about the work as I know... isnt it?? Then, I was talking to Shuchi on what possible things should be taken care of before the interview and she was giving me the procedure to be carried out there... There was a mention of finger printing analysis and how fussy these Americans are abt it.... And we both looked at my finger stunned... I had mehndi on my hand... and guess what!The color of mehndi was darkest for the index finger which is to be used... A lil panic set in... call Ashok (Visa guy..) she suggested... I cud not get through to him... I called Sangeeta... Another friend who had her visa interview done in the past... She said there should be no marks on the finger... Panic!! Anxiety!! Sweat!!! In the middle of december that too... I sopke to every girl on my floor on possible ways of removing mehndi in one day.... people lafed... gave suggestions... ridiculed... and tried their best to help me... Deepti called her father who assured me nothing would happen... But my silly dimaag kept saying - "of course he never put mehndi na... how would he know??" It was 7 in the evening and the situation was - I had the docs but no session, I had a cab but mehndi on my hand and I was laid back before and now I was laid under lot of stress.....

1 comment:

Viraj Datar said...

Applying for the Visa - $200
Printing out all documents - $10
Catching a bus back to Mumbai - $8
Trying to find a cyber cafe open with an Adobe 6+ version - Priceless!!

hahahaha.... isse tu kuchh seekhi ki nahi? Shubh kaam mein deri nahi karni chahiye!