Thursday, 14 March 2013

FRRO, quality time and must-reads

Dear reader,
Today I went to FRRO to have my visa renewed.  FRRO - just utter those letters to any expat in Mumbai - and run and hide! Just kidding- but at least I think every expat in Mumbai will have a story for you about when they went to the Bureau of Immigration in Mumbai to apply for a visa or extension of visa. I do too!

Now, this was my second time there, so this time I was well prepared: physically with an uploaded phone with music, a book, coffee, water, newspapers and an energy bar and mentally: I can do this! They are just doing their job. Breath Eli! Breath! Read your book. Enjoy this as quality time! Just go with the flow!

The first line you will meet is the line where you get a number ( for your Counter and Token). Then, head off to the waiting room (you can try to pop your head in the counter room, to see if your counter is available, but most likely they will tell you to sit down and wait - in the waiting room) I know I should go with the flow, but today it was getting a bit out of control in the waiting room. One guy had not brought all the papers and started to yell (didn't get him anywhere of course!), a large colony of babies decided to show their support by crying their lungs out while their stressed-out-parents were running around with bottles and diapers. A screaming dad was chasing his screaming 2-year old around, trying to force her to eat a brownish banana. A German back-packer couple were singing in a corner (oh yes!) and then the electricity broke down, so no air-condition..

Amazingly enough, I managed to finish 4 pages of the wonderful "a strange and sublime address" by Amit Chaudhury, before I was caught up in chatting with the Germans, a Lebanese couple and a French lady. I finished my coffee too, and then it was my turn to enter the room and my Counter.

To make a long story short: I walked out of there with my renewed visa, and even managed to finish more than 4 pages in my book on my way home. By the way, this is a book we read in a book club I am in, and the intriguing story is from Kolkata. Since I have read a lot of books from Mumbai lately, this was a nice change. Hhm, might have to visit Kolkata one day! I told you before about some of the Mumbai-must-reads. Lately I also read Katherine Boo's Behind the beautiful forevers (thanks for the tip-Mia:-)) - a strong tale of an area of Mumbai which is quite special to me. The book is from the slum hut areas close to the international airport, where the NGO I work as a volunteer for is situated.

So there I was, driving home and was doing a bit of reading too, but do not think that means that I have lost my enthusiasm for looking out the car window. Oh, what an exiting city we live in - and with my bright and shiny renewed visa - I am ready for new days and new adventures in bustling Mumbai.

Stay tuned dear reader!

Reading, studying - quality time also elsewhere in Mumbai:-) 

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