Posted by: gdevi | December 21, 2010

A Passage to India – Days 1 and 2

It is hard to travel to India if you are an Indian citizen and hold an Indian passport. Maybe this is why all Indian immigrants to the US immediately get their US citizenship. Well, silly me with my Indian passport after twenty years of living in the US. So through the year I never looked at my passport and it had expired and now I have to go to India to see my father who is very ill and I am in New York to renew my passport. I left home yesterday morning around 5am by Susquehanna Trailways –parking is a nightmare in NYC and my friend Terri had offered her apartment to me to stay–so I took the bus and the bus dropped me off at the Port Authority around 12:30pm. I took a cab from the Port Authority to Terri’s apartment on Central Park West. Thanks Terri! Terri’s apartment is on the west side of the Central Park and the Indian consulate is directly across on the East side — East 64th st.  All day yesterday I tried to find a flight out of NYC to India–christmas time is the worst time to look for last minute tickets. Egypt Air had a seat for nearly 5000 dollars! KLM had one for 3000 dollars! I want to avoid UK since Heathrow is practically shutdown because of the snow. So finally my brother sent me the name of the Friendly Travel Agent in Dallas who bought him his ticket and they think they might be able to find me a seat at least on standby on Emirates. Good and I am keeping my fingers crossed. This morning I went to the Indian consulate to submit my application for an emergency passport. If you are in the same boat as I am then these are the things you would need to bring with you and please make sure you have them all ready to go. If you miss your chance you will end up at the back of the queue. And man when I say queue, I mean queueueueueue . . . .

Online application form for reissue of the passport completed and printed out

Complete copy of your current expired passport

Copy of Proof of immigration status – copy of your Permanent Resident card (Green card) both sides

Three passport size photographs – color and 2 x 2

Fee of 150 dollars (expedited service) and 5o dollars for the passport booklet  — cash or cashier’s check — they prefer cash

Copy of Proof of current residence — utility bills, mortgage statement

Copy of Current bank statement

Copy of Proof of marriage if you want your spouse entered in the passport – you don’t have to; I didn’t since Krish and Dayani are US citizens

Copy of your flight itinerary or airline reservation

Letter from you explaining why you need expedited passport service — (death bereavement grave illness etc explained)

I would advise you to go early to the consulate. It is just like India — a huge line snaking out of the consulate front door. Apparently now you cannot take even a purse inside and you would be asked to leave any kind of bag, backpack, purse, diaper bag, baby bottles anything. Everything is potentially a weapon, I guess. It is best just to have a small folder with you with your papers. Already people were irate when I got there. So we stood there in the chilly weather for an hour when the consulate opened. I felt right at home when I entered. Several time big men tried to push me aside to get ahead of me.  Go ahead, I said. Que sera sera. I waited in line and finally got an efficient consular official who read everything and said she was going to issue me an expedited passport today at 4:30pm. How wonderful. So now I am waiting at this Starbucks near the consulate till 4:30pm. The friendly travel agent also let me know that he found a seat for me–confirmed! — on Emirates — leaving JFK tomorrow the 22nd and reaching Trivandrum on the 24th morning and coming back on January 7th. My brother has left already and he should be able to pick me up when I reach home. We both come back on the 7th. Mama will miss Christmas with you and Dad and Savitri ammumma, sweetie! Open your presents–mama didn’t get a chance to wrap them properly–sorry. I hope you like them. I will miss your Christmas concert; I really will. Have Dad record it for me to watch when I get back. Have a good time, good Christmas and happy new year, all of you!

Thanks Nic–I am reading — finishing up — Child 44 the Russian mystery you gave me. Very interesting book! Total boogaloo! Oh these Russians!

Ra ra Rasputin lover of the Russian queen, They put some poison into his wine

Ra ra Rasputin Russia’s greatest love machine, He drank it all and said I feel fine!


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