Last week Turbanhead wrote about how exasperating it sometimes seems when trying to get your documents in order to travel abroad (in terms of dealing with the often clueless bureaucracy). NRI worldwide recently reported on a few anecdotes that suddenly don’t make Turbanhead’s ordeal seem so bad:
An American officer manning the counter asked her if she was a singer. She replied that she was Â— and was shocked when the gentleman asked, “How about singing a nice song for me?” Sonali landed on her feet, though, and joked that it would cost him.
He reiterated his seriousness, and ultimately, she had to hum a line or two. It was a “funny feeling”, but that was how she got her visa three years ago.
The story goes that none other than Asha Bhosle was about to be asked to prove she could sing, had an Indian staffer at the consulate not intervened and averted the faux pas! This incident could not, however, be independently confirmed.
That reminds me of those old cartoons where Yosemite Sam would shoot his guns at Bug Bunny’s feet until he danced. Michael Higgins tips us off to yet more consulate related humor on The Renegade of Junk blogsite:
Yesterday, I sent my Indian passport off to the Consulate to be renewed. The preliminary groundwork that needed to be completed for this purpose was, to say the least, a trying experience. In fact,in general, any activity requiring interaction with my fellow citizens of this country has become a trying experience.
The first step in my endeavour involved getting 4 passport sized photos. The Indian Consulate, in it’s infinite wisdom, has decided to stand apart from the rest of the world and maintain it’s unique identity by specifying a photo size of 3.5 cm X 3.5 cm (the regular passport photo size is 2 inch X 2 inch). The minute I came to know about this, I knew it spelt trouble. And, my apprehensions were confirmed. In the photo shop, my conversation with the teenaged girl behind the counter went like this:
Me : Hi, I need a passport sized photo, 3.5 cm X 3.5 cm.
Girl : Umm… we only do US passport size. You will have to cut it out yourself.
Me : Ok.
The girl then snapped my photo, got it printed and I asked her if I could measure it to see if was big enough for me to cut off a 3.5 X 3.5 section from it. She brought a ruler scale.
Girl : Wait .. this is a millimeter scale. Let me see if we have one with centimeters on it.
Me : Wait, we can use this one.
Girl : No, see, it says millimeter on it. Let me get another one.
Me (“serenity now, serenity now”) : No, wait, we can use this one, one centimeter is equal to 10 millimeters right?
Girl (confused) : What?
Me (trying to point out the millimeter bars using my fingernails) : See, this is ten millimeters, that is equal to one centimeter…..
Girl (warily) : Ookay….
Me : …… so 3.5 centimeters would be equal to this. (I show her on the scale with my fingers).
Girl (still not convinced) : Umm.