Saturday, June 27, 2009

I've Got The VISA Power!

Genre: Life

Three months of preparation for those crucial 30 seconds- this is how I can describe my US Visa procurement procedure in one line!

The D-Day was 26th June 2009. Scheduled appointment time- 08:15 am. I reached Mahalaxmi at around 7am and was thanking my fortune that inspite of it being late-June, there were no signs of rain. But I guess, I did that a little too soon. The moment I took the last turn towards US Consulate, it began to rain. And how! Within a minute, it was pouring cats and dogs! The typical Mumbai Monsoon was here!

Protecting myself, and more importanly, my documents, I rushed into the US Consulate building, was asked to go through Security Checks in a tremendous hurry, immediately put in line for Finger Printing and asked to take a seat. All this was done so fast that it took me full ten minutes to regain my composure. And then began the long wait for my turn for the interview. As a policy developed for reasons best known to US Consulate alone, token numbers are called in absolute random order and called out only once. If you miss yours, you are gone! After hearing scores of random numbers being called out, my friend M who also had the interview scheduled at 8:15am was called at 9:00am. I was not so lucky. I had to sit through the number-calling for another 30 minutes before a male voice in American accent spoke from the loudspeakers- "Token Number 954, Window Number 6!"

Immediately I rushed to the counter and this is the unabridged version of what happened in the next minute-

The Visa Officer (VO) was an American male in his thirties, looking quite relaxed and smiling.

ME: Good Morning, sir.
VO: So, which university you going to?
ME: Virginia Tech.
VO: Why Virginia Tech?
ME: Coz it has great courses in my field of specialization- Wireless Communications
VO: What's a Hokie?
ME: It's a bird which is the mascot of Virginia Tech..
VO: Is it really a bird?
ME: It looks like a bird to me..
VO: (interrupting me, concentrating on typing something) You know what, its actually not a bird. Everyone thinks that it's a bird, but nobody actually knows what it'll come to know all this when you go there.
ME: Ok..
VO: What's your GRE score?
ME: 1460
VO: Smart guy, eh!
ME: (with a smile) Thanks sir!
VO: Your Visa has been granted. Your passport will be couriered to you in three days.

This entire conversation didn't take more than a minute! Yay! I've got the Visa!

When I exited the Consulate at 9:40am, it was still pouring heavily and the road outside was half water-logged already! And the best part- by 10:30, the rains subsided and by noon it was dry again! It was as if the Rain Gods wanted it to pour only during my Visa Interview!

If you think this was fun- wait a's not over yet! The impatient people that we are, we decided to personally collect our Visa-marked passports from the VFS office the sme evening rather than waiting for them to courier it. To kill time we went upto Sterling and saw New York - first-day first-show sitting in the first-row! (Don't ask me how was the movie!) Finishing it, we took a cab to go to VFS and the peak hour South Mumbai traffic played the villain. The Passport Collection window at Mahalaxmi is open only from 5:30 to 6:00pm and at 5:45pm, we were still at Peddar Road, stuck in a terrible jam. Our cab driver suggested we take Bhulabhai Desai Road but it was equally packed. It was 5:55pm and we were still around a kilometre from VFS when one of M's friends informed that the counter was probably closing! This sent M into a panicky, tense and almost-hysterical mood (something I have never seen before from her!). The cab dropped us at 5:58pm, we ran across the road, gave our bags to some of M's friends waiting there, ran downstairs to the VFS Office, had our documents photocopied and collected our passports just when they were about to shut down all counters! Success at last! What an amazing race against time!

For me the last part of the adventure was the ride back home- since I had all my original documents with me, instead of braving the peak-hour locals, I decided to take the BEST's AC bus. I boarded AS-4 at 6:25pm from Haji Ali and 2.5 hours later, using three different modes of transport and spending Rs 65, I eventually reached home only at 9:00pm, beaming with joy, proudly carrying in my hands the passport with the shiny bright US F-1 Visa stamped on it!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Genre: Life

Off late I have been in hibernation mode, coming out only once a month or so to post. This apparently has my well-wishers worried and as a result, I have been bombarded by quite a few of them with all sorts of Tags that I am expected to fill out. With nothing much else to do, I've decided to fill out a really long one! Here we go-

1. Last beverage
Ice-cold water. The best way to beat the sweltering Mumbai heat

2. Last phone call

Incoming: Citibank- "Sir, we can offer you a free credit card blah blah..."

3. Last text message

Vodafone- "Your bill is overdue. Please pay immediately. Ignore if already paid. "

4. Last song you listened to

Arziyaan from Delhi 6. In love with it off late

5. Last time you cried
Yesterday while bidding adieu to college friends after the last trip :(


6.Dated someone twice?
No such luck yet

7. Been cheated on?

8. Cried yourself to sleep?
Once upon a time

9. Lost someone special?
If "lost" refers to death, thankfully No! "Lost contact", yes!

10. Been depressed?

11. Seen ghosts
Yes. On TV

Blue, White, Red


15.Made new friends
Yes, a lot of them.

16. Fallen out of love


17. Laughed until you cried

Yeah... on the Kerala and Uttaranchal trips!

18. Met someone who changed you


19. Found out who your true friends were

Yes! Very much!

20. Found out someone was talking about you

Surprisingly, yes!

21. Kissed anyone on your friend’s list


22. How many people on your friends list do you know in real life ?
50% I guess

23. How many kids do you want to have
One. Small family, Happy family

24. Do you have any pets
No, unless you count the fat rodent that refuses to leave my home

25. Do you want to change your name

26. What did you do for your last birthday
Met up three of my most special friends and had a small dinner party with family

27. What time did you wake up today
07:55am- by the deafening horn of Rajdhani Express as it sped past my house!

28. What were you doing at midnight last night
Sleeping, what else?

29. Name something you CANNOT wait for
Shift base from Mumbai, India to Blacksburg, USA

30. Last time you saw your father
Today morning

31. What is one thing you wish you could change about your life
Too many to jot down

32. What are you listening to right now
The fan inside my CPU humming loudly

33. Have you ever talked to a person named Tom
Yes. He was with his friend named Jerry.

34. What’s getting on your nerves right now?
My MTNL net connection. Getting disconnected every ten minutes!

36. Whats your real name
The same as my imaginary name

37. Relationship Status
Single and Happy, though open to getting committed if I find that special someone

38. Zodiac sign

39. Male or female

40. Natural Hair color?

41. Hair color now

42. Pet Peeve

43. Need Glasses

44. Long or short
Long.. for most of the things that can be categorized into these two

45. Height
Almost six feet

46. Do you have a crush on someone
Yes. More than one at present.

47. What do you like about yourself?
My knack of paying attention to minutest of details

48. Piercings
Naah. I like my body as it is.

49. Tattoos
A few times in childhood- the blue and pink colored ones that I got free with chewing gum!

50. Righty or lefty


51. First surgery
None yet. Touchwood!

52. First piercing
See #48

53. First tattoo
See #49.

54. First best friend

55. First sport you joined

56. First pet
A pair of pigeons making my room their maternity home

57. First vacation
Valsad, my hometown!

59. First crush
A certain girl at school when I was in third standard!

60. First alcoholic drink
Benadryl Cough Syrup


61. Eating
Cadbury Dairy Milk

62. Wearing
White tee and track pants- my uniform when relaxing at home

63. I’m about to
shut down the pc

64. Speaking to

65. Waiting to
have food... can smell Palak Paneer being made in the kitchen

66. Want kids?
No. There's still time for it.

67. Want to get married?
No. There's still time for it.

68. Careers in mind?
Professional Photographer at Nat Geo


69. Lips or eyes

70. Hugs or kisses
Both, depending on the situation

71. Shorter or taller
A little shorter or same height

72. Older or Younger

73. Romantic or spontaneous

74. Nice stomach or nice arms
Nice hair

75. Tattoos or piercings
Actually none but since most Indian girls have atleast one piercing, will go for that

76. Sensitive or loud
Sensitive and a little loud

77. Hook-up or relationship

78. Trouble maker or hesitant
Hesitant trouble-maker


79. Kissed a stranger

80. Drank hard liquor

81. Lost glasses/contacts

82. Sex on first date
No! I am not that despo!

83. Broken someone’s heart
Maybe yes, though intentionally, never!

84. Had your own heartbroken

85. Been arrested?
Yes- while playing Road Rash!

86. Turned someone down
Never had to face that situation so far

87. Cried when someone died

88. Got someone into trouble intentionally


89. Yourself
Very much

90. Miracles
Sometimes, though I prefer calling it Destiny

91. Love at first sight

92. Heaven

93. Santa Claus

94. Kissing on the first date?

95. Angels
Yes! I have three in my real life!


96. Is there one person you want to be with right now?

97. Had more than one boyfriend/ girlfriend at one time?

98. Do you believe it’s possible to remain faithful forever?

99. What’s the one thing you cannot live without?
My parents and best friends

100. Posting this as 100 truths?
Gita pe haath rakhke kasam khaata but then I would be charged for misbehaving with a woman!

An open invitation to everyone- if you find this Tag interesting, please go ahead and answer all these questions on your blog and leave a link to it here or answer them in the Comments area of my blog if you do not have your own blog. Go ahead, enjoy!
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My World...My Views by The Blue Indian is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.