Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Royals Way


My visit to the UK Visa Office today was quite an eye opener. I started off quite early & reached the Sahar Road office by around 07:45 AM. We were initially made to stand outside the office in a queue. With the summer sun blazing on top of my head, I was beginning to feel drained already. However what served as a surprise energy boost was that the office opened to the public sharp at 08:00 AM. I was pleased beyond words to be out of the harsh heat. The security person at the entrance gate saw each visitors passport & issued a token according to the mode of payment. Then I was guided to another queue. This wait lasted for around 15 more minutes. Then I was taken in. My purse was 'thoroughly' checked (not the sort of checking done at our malls, which is more of an insult than security) & I was aksed to keep my cosmetics, medications, food & water outside in a plastic tray. Then I was frisked inside a cubicle & was then re - directed to the cash counter. The man at the counter checked my hands for any stray marks before aceepting the money (rules state that your hands should be clean, no henna, no cuts or bruises). Such honesty & value for money is good! After I had handed my cash I was given another token & made to sit in front of some 10 counters. The best thing was there were no 'special cases', 'reserved entries', 'friends of officials' that were allowed in between. Another thing that could be commonly seen was that you work for yourself. No one will offer you any sort of assistance, you ask & find your own way. The instructions provided were crystal clear not leaving much room for doubt. After the money was taken all my documents were taken at counter 7 and sealed in a cloth bag. This cloth bag was handed over to me & I was asked to sit in queue for the biometrics test. The biometric test too was only on a first - come - first - serve basis. Once inside the biometric booth I was asked to look at the camera for a full picture of myself. After that a passport size pic was also taken on another cam. Then were taken my fingerprints of both the hands. This machine is same as in the Indian biometric booths. You press your fingers on the machines screen real hard & still harder till the only sound you wish to hear is the approving beep from the scanner machine. After that was finally done I was out of the office & it was only 10:00 AM. I was amazed as to how smoothly the entire process worked out with no room for any problems!

One thought which stayed with me throughout this process was that we strive so much to copy the arrogance, style, clothes, & every other stupid thing of the British, but then why dont we copy (just copying blindly will do here) their discipline & systematic way of work. It will solve majority of our nations problems in a jiffy

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