• The Vanilla Gorilla

Trapped in India

Updated: Jan 9, 2018

When the decision was made for me to come over to India, it was with the assumption that I would be doing some volunteer work and also training for SUP events. First, you can't volunteer to help anyone if no one wants your help. I'm still working on this. Second, I haven't paddled more than 5 miles since I arrived in the country. There are no places to paddle in the city I'm living in. Needless to say, things aren't really going as planned. To compensate, I hit the gym daily, and last week I got to surf and paddle a little bit. Swimming is out unless I want to embrace the green hair. I think if it was easier to get anywhere (traffic, money, distance) things would be different.

Alas, I try to put on my happy face. Look on the bright side. I just keep thinking happy thoughts.

If I think I can do it, then I can. I don't need to get lots of training in.

I started yesterday off right, with some authentic hot yoga. I needed to clear my head (and all of my sweat glands). That was HOT! Ninety minutes of HOT! I had recently received the news that after arriving in India, the HR rep working for Corning quit. That usually wouldn't mean anything, except that the paperwork for me being a foreigner and living in India never got processed. That also may not have been a big issue, if they had cared to tell me before the 14-day cut-off. After 14 days you just have to pay a fine and wait 7 days for them to issue your resident permit. Again, this usually would not be a problem, except that I have already registered for the Holland 11-City race and bought my plane ticket to fly out Saturday - and if you don't have your India resident permit they won't let you LEAVE the COUNTRY!!

The rest of the day wasted away in a facility that far exceeded its occupant capacity. Huddles of queues extended from various Hindi labeled counters with glass fronts blocking any form of useful communication between the worker and the impatient patron. This facility was the FRO, or Foreigner Registration Office, a place so bureaucratic I had to sign in just to look at the building, after which I had to confirm my eye color on paper... no shit. This place made the DMV seem like a Baskin Robbins.

"You know what they should do? When you walk in the door, they should have somebody hiding just punch you in the face. 'Cause at least after, you can be like, 'Ah! Alright, well, waiting in line's not so bad after the punch in the face!"  -Dane Cook on the DMV

You get out of one huddle, to go stand in another, just to get sent back to the previous line. I finally got the handle of being straight up rude. After being bumped back in my huddle a few times I started getting pushy. I started throwin' bows, stepping up, and pushing my papers through the holes in the glass counters. Finally, I made it to where an officer entered my information, SLOWLY, onto a computer. Some guy came and stood 1 inch from me and the officer entering the information and read over her shoulder all of my info. I finally just stared at him. Straight into his eyes. His sixth sense finally kicked in and he looked over and stared back. There we were, in a staring contest 4 inches from each others face. I don't know what country he was from, but he was smelly. I'm sure I was at that point too, there is no A/C in the FRO. I didn't break. At last, I very bitterly and deliberately said, "Excuse me." He continued to stare into my eyes. "The officer has told those who are next to SIT over there in queue." Stepping back, he didn't relax his gaze, but made his way to the sitting area.

In terms of all of the officers working there. I had on my SUPER HAPPY face! I was extremely nice, friendly, flirty, and all smiles. I had to make a plea to expedite my resident permit so that I can leave the country on Saturday. Happy thoughts.

The first woman said no.

She sent me to her boss.

He said yes... but that I have to go back in on Friday and sit down with him and he'll sign it.

Seeing how everything works in this country... we'll see if I actually get the permit. I will be bringing large sums of bribery cash with me. And I'm also going to make some "back-up" plans...

Wish me luck! (And send all your good vibes my way, I need them!) 



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