It was a rainy day and I was so apprehensive to drive to DC. I made sure I had my driving directions ready before anything else, and yes the rest of the paper work I would need to take with me. It was not as bad as I expected until I reached the Dupont Circle, and hell yes that's a good name for that center of the city. I did go in circles around Dupont like only 6 times before I took the right left turn - mamma mia!
I finally saw the place I had targeted and of course to no surprise there was no parking within the building. The security at the entrance was dressed in full suit. I was expecting a more traditional outfit including a turban maybe!!! I drove by him and asked to see if there was any legal parking around the place. Now I was not surprised when he sounded really unhelpful. Park in some available legal space he said, yes of course Sir... but where? Hello!! Oh well, I quickly realized it's no use talking to him. I did find a legal spot in a diplomatic area (no am not one of them)... but temporarily I had no choice but to be one.
I parked my car and instructed my beloved to be careful and not get towed before I returned. I was already tired man! I walked to the building about a few blocks away and realized that I was just in time (about 2 min late) for my 9am appointment. The snobbish security asked me if I had an online appointment. I said 'yeah' and looked away.
About 15 min passed by and the doors were still closed. IST.... 9am - I should've known. I was looking at the door up the flight of stairs to open anytime, while the security kept looking down at the side of the building. There were stairs leading into the dark someplace below and he kept smiling and nodding at someone down there. I took a few steps past him and looked down the flight of dark stairs and to my shock there were a few people waiting in line outside the door down there.
As I moved down the steps, Mr.security brisked ahead of me and stood in line as well. He wasnt the security I thought he was. He was ahead of me waiting in line. This office was unmanned from the out.... no harm! I was about 4th in line and slowly people joined us. The man behind me was fanning himself feverishly with his file, oblivious to the fact that he was hitting my head every single time. I was beginning to lose my patience. It was a working day, and I wanted to get this over and done with and go back to earning my bread and butter. I dont want no fights - not here. We could have used some benches outside while we waited for the 9am appointment until 9:30. Oh well, at least the 2 elephant statues outside felt like 'home' and were very 'comforting'.
The door opened finally and people walked in making conscious effort to stop them from jumping anybody else in line. It's such a natural instinct that its so hard to hide when we get together - especially in such places. The wending machine was so dirty outside that it would be lethal to buy a drink from it. Not that I was thirsty... I could have used the restroom but did not dare try. Will wait another couple of hours until I get back... really.
As we waited on our seats inside, the head hitter walked up to the gentleman next to me and asked him if he would sign some form as witness. Witness to what? I wondered.... As the guy signed and printed his address under his signature, I was beginning to get the feeling that I might be a second target. And I was right. Head hitter walks to me and requests me to sign his form as second witness... oh baby... yeah right!!! I was already containing myself from blasting him outside for hitting my head constantly with his file.... so this was my moment.
I looked at him like one would look at any stranger and fixed my eyes glaringly into his. "Excuse Me? I dont even know you. This is a legal document I assume, right?" He nods yes. "Am not gonna sign any paper for you or reveal my address to a stranger. SORRY!" He said never mind and walked to another guy for help. The gentleman next to me stood up and looked at his wife who was staring at him already in anger. He did get the message loud and clear both from me and her. He followed the head hitter and asked to strike his signature off and his address as well. 'Good Morning' I thought to myself. He almost grabbed the form from his hand and struck through it. Head hitter had to leave his business unfinished - the form was of no use anymore. I made sure I did not look his way until he left the building. One Down from behind me... 3 more to go ahead of me.
The Counter opened and the first person in line was called. I had the fear of an examination settling on me slowly. I did feel a little sick as this began. The first victim went forward and placed his file on the counter. The Lady scrutinized his documents and said loudly, "You missed to fill in your middle name". The victim was as surprised as me back in my chair. I did not fill in my middle name either. The online form did not ask for a middle name!?!? DUDE!
It was almost like the current victim heard my thoughts and repeated the same to her. As I was trying to recollect the online form I spaced out for a few seconds when loud arguments snapped me out of my trance. The victim and the Lady were yelling and screaming at each other. "Why cant I hand type my middle name in the form?" he shouted and she responded back saying, "Go ask the Indian Government that question". Oh geez!! Now I have to find the "Indian Government" to get this answer, I better sneak out without embarrassing myself. Exactly when I was planning an escape the Lady asked for some one else to bring their form to check and I just stood to LEAVE. The timing was so IMPERFECT and she beckoned for me. Oh God please save me from this torture I thought. "Show me your form" she demanded. I knew I already failed the test, so why even bother to correct my paper, yo!??
I disclosed to everyone in the room that I had made the same mistake even before I handed my file over to her. "Sorry Madam, we cant accept your application either" she stated. ALRIGHT I was just leaving myself anyways. I dare reveal my true feelings to her... I smiled and said Sure - no problem ma'am. Thanks!
As I walked out the building I hoped that head hitter wasnt waiting outside for me... one battle at a time. Today I had just too many and it wasnt even 9:45am. I felt better when I saw my car was still safe in the diplomatic parking space. I jumped in, and drove as fast as I possibly can within the destined speed limit inside DC. I just got lost again like another 6 times before I hit the highway back to VA.
I will have to go back another day, with my middle name typed on the online application. But for now, I wont think of it.... am safe heading towards work and driving away from the Indian Embassy. My passport can be renewed another day. For now, my life is back to normalcy!!!
- NOT another 'simple southy'.... Just call me a Madrasi...
Keep the Cheer!!