Posted by: Thomas | April 29, 2008

Day #28 – India

People were telling me to try public transportation to feel the real India, and I did. I took tuk-tuk or auto as they call it over here. It is public and it is transport. J I was so ready for today. The first thing I did today was to go to the notary institute to notarize the financial affidavit that they needed at the commissioner office. I went there yesterday (Monday) and apparently it was a holiday for them. I asked what kind of a holiday, the security guy said “Vacation”. Hm, interesting. Anyway, I had to pay the notary guy to notarize the document. He was happy when I showed him the money. Last time he didn’t even wanted to look at me.


With the smile on my face I went to the registration office to see the commissioner, or the first guy in the line to get to the real commissioner. I knew he would find something new that I have missed. I just knew it, and of course he did find something. He wanted my US employment contract. And before, I asked him if everything else was OK and if I needed anything more, and he said no, only the notary stamp. Luckily I had my Letter of Assignment with me, so I asked him if that would be sufficient. After looking at it for half an hour and complaining he said yes. This guy caused me so much pain already. I went to make 2 copies and he finally singed it. I didn’t even say “thank you”. Anyway, this, my dear readers, was only the first bump and the biggest one so far on the mission to get registered in India.


Basically to cut it short, you have to go and see 15 different people after the first signature, and none of them is telling you what you are supposed to do or what’s happening, they just point you to sit and wait. I was watching closely what they were doing. They took my files and just put it away and start chit chatting among themselves. I went to the second guy, had to pay a small “fee” to him and he got the things done immediately. I had to pay this kind of a “fee” to a few more people to get all done within 5 hours. Anyway, all of these 15 people I had to go to basically just sign and put a stamp on it. So my files were full of signatures and stamps (office seals). I wish I could take a picture. Then I had to go to the bank to pay a delay fee of course of US$30. The bank was about 1 mile away. And this is the procedure at the bank just to make a deposit on an account.


I got a paper from the commissioner office that contained amount, account number and 5 different seals on it. I had 2 copies of it (Everything here you have to have in copies). Anyway, first guy in the lobby had to check the paper, put his 2 seals and signatures, then on the upper level of the bank I had to go to counter number 1 to pay. The guys put his seals and signatures. Then he sent me to counter number 4. (First I was confused, but hey, I want to get this done). The guy on the counter number 4 basically just singed and took one copy. (I am just wondering why the first guy could not do that). Everything here in India you have to go through bunch of people to get one simple thing done. Not efficient at all, but since the nation has over 1 billion people I guess they need jobs.


Here we go again, then the driver took me back to the commissioner office and they are about to have one hour lunch so I had to hurry up. One of the many guys asked me to make a copy again of the paper and my passport and if I want to get this done before the lunch time I had to pay him a small “fee”. Then I ran to another office in the same building to get the permit. The guy said “sorry, I have one hour lunch now”. I was sweaty, hungry, irritated, frustrated and on top of that today I am sick again (stomach problems – thank goodness there were no accidents).


I didn’t even have energy to talk to him. I just asked him what the “fee” was asked him if he could sign it. On this counter there are 2 persons. One person that types the latter then he hands it to the other guy who just stands there and signs. Of course he had to put his stamps and seals on it too.  Then they tell me to come back tomorrow at 4pm to pick the permit. Without permit I cannot leave the country and I am going to Nepal this weekend and Thursday is holiday (May 1st). I am hopping all will be fine tomorrow. I just need to pick it up apparently. But yeah, in this country to get something done you have to pay “fees”. It is not much, it is basically 100 rupees, which is about US$2,5 to each person. After full day today from 10am till 3pm I was hunting for signatures and seals.


This experience was just a little bump on the road of my life and I will get over it. The thing is that you have to see things from the positive perspective no matter what. If you get into some strange situations or hit the wall so to speak, you have to think positive and there must be a way out. If you can’t go through then you have to go around, and if you can’t go around, then you have to go under, and if you can’t go under then you have to go over. There must be a way. I just have to look back at this particular experience and laugh about it. It is indeed a learning experience and I certainly hope it will never repeat.


Now when this chapter is closed, I am ready to move on and forget about this whole situation. No matter what situation you can control it. You can turn the moment all over and turn it all back the very next moment. I am the only one who can chose if I want to be happy or sad that particular moment or a particular situation like the commissioner one, I also know that I and only I can chose if I want to cry or smile, be bad or be good, sad or glad, happy or unhappy. It is all up to me, and of course up to you for your own life. I chose to be happy. Every minute you are sad you are taking away 60 seconds of happiness, so I chose to laugh, smile and be happy instead. It is much better that way.


As you already could have noticed from my posts, the life here in Bangalore is very different. Here people don’t have any sense of time. Apparently ‘Kal’ in Hindi means yesterday and also tomorrow, as I have learned today. So you see, it doesn’t make sense. Also, today I have learned that I was not the only one who struggles with the foreign registration office. Many foreigners have gone through the same hassle and problems. I just want to point out that Bangalore is not India, and I am looking forward to explore India and go to different places such as Mumbai or as it was previously called Bombay, explore Delhi, etc. Yes, I do have problems communicating in Bangalore since lots of people here don’t communicate clearly. They are not able to say no for example.


Or, for example, the driver of the tuk-tuk that I took today took me to his shop instead of taking to the place I simply asked him for. I wanted to go to city center and he took me to his shop. I told him multiple times during the drive that I don’t want to buy anything and that I am not interested in looking either. I just want to go to the city center. His response was: “No problem, just 5 minutes look in my shop.” It is really irritating, you have no idea. I had to give up and let him take me to his shop. I just went out of tuk-tuk, spent 2 seconds in the shop; basically I just went in and immediately out of the shop. “Can you take me to Brigade Road now?”, I asked him, and he said: “No sir, just 5 minutes, look, no buy.” But I don’t want to buy anything or even look at anything. I just want to get to the damn Brigade Road. After telling him 15 times and at the end when I said that I would take another auto, he then took me to the place I wanted to go. I really don’t understand how some people function.


The same happened to me in Goa. I am on the beach in my Speedos for Christ’s sake, and people are approaching me to buy tee. After telling them that I don’t want tee or that I don’t even have money on me or anything and showing them basically that I am almost naked, they still trying to sell me things. “But good price, sir”. After telling them once again that I don’t have money on me or any pants or anything and showing them around to see that there is only sand around me, they response was: “Good tea sir, very good, good price”. Well, actually the Duch girl took all of my cloths and went to get a drink while I was swimming in the ocean, that’s why I had nothing on me but Speedos. It was kind a funny. And yes, they did speak English very well, thank you very much. They speak English in Goa much better than people in Bangalore.


Being sick today and after this crazy day I went to the spa again. I am so happy for spas and the person who invented the spas is a genius. I felt so good after steam sauna, Jacuzzi, massage and relaxation at the 20,000 square foot spa at the Leela palace hotel, which is the best hotel in Bangalore. Now I am relaxed and ready for the next day in my life.


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