The VISA quagmire
It was September 2019, I boarded my flight to Delhi to submit my documents related to my Visa for my UK trip. For days I have been watching a number of videos on what documents are required to get a UK tourist visa. I was over-consuming content and things got worst when I started looking for those YouTubers whose visa got rejected. I stuck to the basics and went by the government’s official guidelines but it didn’t cease my apprehensions.
Three months prior I visited Nepal which got me the very first immigration stamp on my passport. The difference was as an Indian national, you don’t need a visa to visit Nepal. Back to the present, I went to the visa office in New Delhi and submitted all my documents. I promised not to consume any more content regarding Visa till I get my passport back.
In the first week of October, I got my passport delivered at home. It was in a sealed envelope and normally when they reject your VISA they send a detailed one-page reason with your passport. I glided my fingers on the envelope to feel for any of such paper and eventually, when I opened my passport I was looking desperately for the thing I had sleepless nights for over a month and there it was right at the back page, The UK tourist Visa. I was all set for my UK trip.
UK TRIP – FIRST REAL FOREIGN TRIP..
I won’t call Nepal as a foreign trip, in my head, its countries like UK, USA, Australia which come under that category, trips that make you toil hard to even make them corroborate for you. 12th October 2019, my flight to Birmingham was all set.
It would take 9 odd hours to reach the place and I could feel the adrenaline rush. The kind of look the immigrant officer gave me made me feel like a threat that shouldn’t board this plane and is unsafe for the country I am visiting, he was taken a bit back considering I am on a tourist visa as most guys of my age were on a student visa before he finally allowed.
At the waiting area, I closed my eyes and imagined the places I would be covering in the next 12 days, from the bus rides to the London eye, everything was on my bucket list. The most awaited boarding announcement was eventually made and I was all set to what was going to be the most exhilarating 12 days of my life.
This was apparently my first international flight, I had no idea how I will keep myself occupied in these 9 hours, the plane was inundated mostly with Punjabis which came as a sigh of relief. The last thing I wanted was to be surrounded by foreigners in this marathon flight.
I spent my time watching the movie “Padmavati “and reading one of Agatha Christie ‘s famous thrillers. The flight was truly spectacular, realizing that I was above places like Russia, the Netherlands gave me goosebumps. The flight attendants were very cooperative too and I would never miss the tea they served, as a matter of fact I in person went back to prepare my own tea to which the crew abided.
Turbulence will always be a part of a long flight especially when you’re flying above the sea, I expected a lot of it but thankfully this flight didn’t turn out to be a real roller coaster making me pleasantly surprised. Soon the moment arrived that all the 200 odd passengers were waiting for, the beautiful U. K looked even more pleasant from the skies. The lush green lawns engulfed with beautiful houses that appeared like small bricks from 15,000 ft altitude were simply a scene to saviour.
The moment the flight landed at Birmingham Airport, a popular Shahrukh Khan Song started playing, very characteristic of Air India.
The airport was mostly empty but my experience was different than what I had at the Delhi Airport. The passengers were mostly of my age who’ve come for higher studies which made me kind of an exception. The immigration officer asked me the general questions about, the purpose of the trip and where I will be staying.excitement got the better of me and I fumbled and couldn’t make a normal sentence for my life, the thrill of being in a country some 8,000 km apart got the better of me which even the officer realized giving a smile with the stamp.
WHERE’S MY PASSPORT!!!
After leaving the airport premise and boarding the bus which will eventually drop me to Dudley, an unbelievable stuff happened. I remember putting my passport in my pocket and was assured it was placed in the comforts of the same before panic struck.
I searched my right one, no passport, then searched the left, no passport, did this left, right another 10 times but to no avail. Then I searched for my handbag, again the most precious document is nowhere to be seen. I feared the worst that I have dropped my passport in the airport itself. By this time the bus was already 10 minutes into its journey and I went to the driver trying to look as calm as possible and informed him the same.
The driver told us that we will figure something out post dropping the other passengers. I was devastated, how can I be such a big fool. By this time the entire bus came to know what a mess I have made. Once again, I searched for my handbag and felt something in the lowest compartment and found the gold mine, there it was, my passport. I kept it too secure and forgotten myself, I informed the driver about the same and the entire bus cheered. What an adventurous start!
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