Thursday, November 09, 2006

MISSIONARY MAN , ANKI AND BELGIUM


Talking about a mundane day, endlessely and earnestly comes naturally to me. However, I had promised myself that my beloved blog will never turn into an online journal, actually I have perfectly matched dysfunctional friends who are force fed tales of my trials on a regular basis, but for once, I will not hide behind the anonymity of prose and poetry. Since the insomnia-gods have taken over my soul and my destiny, I will quit pretending I am sane and start pretending that this blog is anonymous and narrate the events of a regular day which might lend credibility to my notions. Besides, I don't think anyone can sue me for this. I hope not.

Now, a 27 hour sleep deprived girl is not exactly the happiest of people at 8:30 am, especially if your mom is trying to wake you up.
Mom, I never slept, what are you waking me up from?

So, on my refusal to grant my services as 'the girl who will get the visas stamped', I willingly invited a deluge of taunts and a long lecture on my failure as a.....well...travel agent.

To clear things up, its not that my mom does not understand my physical limitations, but if you have a mother who has her whole week planned ahead of her and you are the unemployed daughter who pretends procrastination is her only real hobby, then you really cannot argue your way out of this situation. Besides, my mom has finally accepted that her daughter is slowly turning into a zombie and she really has no sympathy for young zombies, cleavage-baring tops and non-B-School crowd. But thank God for little mercies, atleast she doesn't blame my new "disease" on the noise (read music) that has been playing non-stop since 30th June, interrupted only by sporadic power-cuts which is when the computer gets a chance to restart. She blames it on the "buri nazar" (read evil-eye) ; my own nazar.

Yes mom, you cannot be farther from the truth-I have cursed myself.

So, on realising that the noise from my mom's room is unbearable and the only thing that stands between my mom and her flight back to my dad is my laziness, I got up, wore one of the nine fuckin' black tees I own, put on my blue denims, found the Osho chappals, gave up on my two inches of black-brown hair which resembled a crow's nest and turned the ignition of my car.

Yes, I had emerged from my self-imposed exile and suddenly I was scared to drive. 28,673 kilometers later, I realised I cannot drive but wasn't driving like swimming, one cannot un-learn it, or was that cycling. A few more words from my grumbling mom, and my driving skills returned instantly. So begins my adventure...and yes, I will call it an adventure, because its no mean feat venturing into Delhi on the day MCD was going to resume the sealings and traders were pretending to violently oppose them. So incase you are still with me, here goes.......

Getting our medical fitness reports from a rather shady testing lab in New Friend's Colony was quite easy, but getting to the Kuwaiti embassy in Chankyapuri turned out be slightly tricky.
Its just that navigating a zillion roundabouts is not my forte , however, twenty-four such revolutions later one can definitely reach the Kuwati embassy. But, alas, there is no parking available and its rather risky leaving the car in front of the embassy lest you want it to disappear forever. The nice guard instructed me to go to the Rail Museum's parking lot, and so after a few more revolutions I found the deserted parking lot, only to realise that I was no longer in the vicinity of the K embassy.

Who cares, I decided to walk diagonally, because isn't the diagonal the shortest distance between two opposite vertices, no, wait maybe I was wrong, but my love for the pythagoras theorem and my lack of application skills as exemplified by the million mock CATs, GMATs and other forms of shats I tried my hand at helped me discover the beauty of the diplomatic enclave.

I was walking up a narrow road which really belonged to Dehradun and not Delhi and continued my non-ceremonious revolutions around the identical round-abouts in this part of the city. I am sure many before me might have discovered this, but pleading ignorance, I hereby propose my own hypothesis- One can guess what to expect in a foreign land by observing the architecture of their respective embassies.

Philippines was uninviting, New Zealand was deserted, Bhutan resembled a marvelous Shaolin
temple, Poland was way too intimidating and Belgium, well someone please do something about the ugly-ass facade of that red building

Soon I passed the layout-map of the Diplomatic Enclave. The world was flat again but shaped like a trapezium. UK and Australia were neighbours, the Nordics decided to stick together, USA was
un-spotable which I presume is a good way of mis-leading atleast a few H1B Visa aspirants and Iran was missing! Too bad, I found myself in front of the K-Mission once again and now all that separated me from my mission this morning was a road.

Aha, Belgium caught my eye again, there were eight Indians standing patiently in a queue outside and I realised that I know absolutely nothing about Belgium. What the hell, let them go to the mysterious land of Belgium, I should concentrate on my impending vacation to the most boring place on this planet-Kuwait. Infact, certain studies have concluded that the Kingdom of Brunei is supposed to be a funner place , too bad some obscure newspaper rejected my job application in Brunei. Ouch! that really hurt and incase you are wondering why I applied to K of B, this is how desperate I am.

Ok, impatient mom was waving violently and screaming
guddu guddu! which would have been embarasing if there were people around. (I really don't care about the ones going to Belgium).
So as I walked towards the K-mission in slowmotion, I wanted to be anywhere but here, I mean there's Ethiopia, Brazil, UAE....what the fuck....even Belgium will do for now.

I reminded myself, atleast I am not outside the Iraqi embassy and my pace quickened.

To clear things up once again, I don't really mind going to Kuwait for a fortnight as long as I can pretend that I was freelancing in Iraq and add that to my three-page resume. Also, oil is a major attraction- no , I am not a member of some neo-imperialistic sympathy cult, its just that petrol costs eight bucks there and the truth is that the father gave the daughter a car when she turned nineteen but forgot to give her the money for petrol.

Fantasies about smuggling cheap petrol back into India and buying some useless i-pod accessories helped me pass the next fifteen minutes after which I dejectedly joined my mom in the zigzag queue out side the K-mission. It was no co-incidence that everyone in that line was from Kerela and I found myself amidst a rather agitated sounding banter in Malyalam. Now, my mom wasn't too happy about being left out of the conversation and she decided to interrupt this alien conversation using our national language- Hindi.

"Its unfair that they accept visas only for an hour, what about the people behind us in the queue?"

Half-expecting that mother and me will soon be transported to the end of the queue, the oldest amongst them nodded his head in agreement and continued his sermon. My dissatisfied mother also continued championing the cause of under-priviliged visa queue people while I spotted some excitement in Belgium.

The most beautiful six-feet-four-inches of human flesh and blood that ever walked this part of Shantipath-Chankyapuri had come out of his den. This tall-white-ok a weird shade of pink-but breathtakingly handsome Belgian was standing across the road and my weak heart couriered a mental note to my responsible brain- must visit Belgium before I die; also hypothesis stands disproved, while my eyes gazed longingly at the perfect lines that were his body, face and limbs. If we ignore the hot Belgian girl with him in a hotter mustard mini-skirt and the fact that he disappeared around another of those wretched roundabouts in exactly seven seconds- my day had been made.

It was time to be ushered into the fortress that was the
K mission (maybe I should mention Saddam's death sentence to the nice guard) but we just took two steps to the left, turned right - one step forward and we had entered the submission room. The nice missionary man took our passports and the already stamped and approved resident visas with a smile. He gave me a form and I happily sat down to fill it. Name, Passport no. Phone number. easy easy easy, the rest I was unable to fill. Now, it is not a difficult form, if you don't forget to bring the air-tickets, photocopies of all the documents, and your dad's address in Kuwait. Before my mom could start another lecture on my failure as a travel agent, I handed the form to the missionary man and pretended nothing was wrong.

Now he is the sweetest
missionary man alive and I mean it inspite of my general disdain for diplomats who enjoy diplomatic immunity. They can stab me, chop me, fry me and never will they be arrested, but this one took my incomplete form gladly with the I-will-manage-somehow expression on his face. He then demanded one photograph each and 6000 rupees- the processing charge. A wide smiled appeared on my mom's anxious face and I knew I had been saved from a second trip to the K-mission. She quickly paid the fees but strangely he asked me to write my name on each note. Maybe they plan to return me the money in Kuwait.

I obliged and autographed the wad of notes.

Mission accomplished.

Mother and me happily began our trek back to the Rail Museum's Parking lot, but only after the nice guard refused her permission to use the ladies room. Perhaps diplomatic immunity won't save them from the natives pee. Actually , I have no business complaining, given that the concept of public restrooms never really caught up in my country which prefers to return urea to mother earth in copious amounts. I guess the Ministry of Public Health forgot long ago that we were the ones who started agitating against colonialism and racism by keeping South African loos clean.

This time I knew my way around the roundabouts and I assumed the role of a tourist guide, showing my mom the
Shaolin temple with pride as if I had built it. She was not too impressed. I think her strained bladder walls can be blamed for that.

Back to the car, paid the parking lot guy and reached the main road with the maze of round-abouts stretching before me. Again I applied my diagonal rule and reached the ring road without getting too dizzy, but before I could celebrate my mom gasped loudly-

lo guddu!!!

We had forgotten to give the nice
missionary man our passport-sized photographs.

U-turn......and a repeat performance.