What I Learned from the Indian Visa Application


India Visa Application

What are with these questions on the visa application for India??? Well, I’m glad you asked, we really need to get to the heart of the matter.

India… India… India…

We're not that scary, really

You need not be afraid India…

The very sound of it brings flooding visions of spiritual quests and holy leaders. You know that just going to India will bring new waves of shock, excitement and adrenaline like you’ve never experienced. There’s no doubt about it, India is different, and they want you to know right away…. so they start with the ever-so-interesting visa application.

You will be forced to seek deep inside yourself to ask those difficult questions such as ‘What is your religion?’ Sure, that’s an easy question for many out there that fall into one of the dropdown categories, but for the less defined, such as myself, you find your first challenge. And your inner voices start to discuss,

Your Religion…

...But I can be quite peaceful

…I come in peace

“Christian because you went to church as a 5 year old”

“No way brother, you are clearly Buddhist, just think of all those quotes you see from Buddha posted on Facebook”

“Clearly, you read the Tao of Pooh and saw the value in the uncarved block”

“Ahh… but remember that Youtube video on Jainism, you felt strongly about its 4 major principles… whatever  they were”

“Zoroastrian… that sounds neat, do we have time to look it up, maybe you’re that?”

“Buddy, you’re clearly an atheist if you are using Facebook or Youtube as sources for your religion”

“Atheist is so strong… write Agnostic… after all, are you really convinced that god doesn’t exist?”

“Wait, what’s the differencet between atheist and agnostic… one must mean against god, the other against religion, no? Shit, if that’s true you really can’t write either”

“Do you think you can write… ‘Other… On a spiritual quest’?”

“Are you really one of those to write ‘Other… Spiritual?”

“You have to write something, it says to clearly describe what ‘other’ means”

ugh… damn… okay Other… undefined… I wonder how that’s going to look. Can’t worry about it now, let’s hope it’s not a red flag, and continue on.

I fit right in, you won't even notice me

I fit right in, you won’t even notice me

Current Employer…

“Certainly can’t write ‘unemployed’ … just write down your last employer before you skipped town 5 months ago. Remember to call them and let them know, hopefully they won’t hold a grudge.”

Current Position…

um… on Sabbatical?

Countries visited in last 10 years, (limited to 100 characters)

“Hmm… look through your passport and the first 10 you see? Maybe try it chronologically, or alphabetically? Should you skip ones like Colombia based on reputation, or Cayman Islands as you were only there for a stopover?

“I wonder if you can just put abbreviations and hope they get the point that you’re just passing through”

“Maybe you should not mention the countries where you overstayed visas and hope they don’t find those stamps… but if they do find them, it’s pretty suspicious looking.”

“Okay, first ten stamps it is… moving on”

Looks like I'm crossing by water
If I can’t get in the easy way, I’ll swim there!

Father’s Birthplace

” Do you think they mean where he was actually born, somewhere in between Nazi Germany and Communist Russia that he doesn’t know anything about… or where his passport inaccurately claims he was born (in Canada), despite not arriving there until he was 3?”

“Canada sounds good… plus it ties in nicely to your own nationality”

Has your father ever had another citizenship?

“Just write ‘No’ and hope that they’re not better at researching your past than you are.”

Sponsor in India…

“This hotel looks good… hope they don’t call them. Note to self, make a reservation with a hotel before applying for an Indian Visa, or find a contact in India that you can claim to be your sponsor.”

Sponsor in France…

...Or maybe I'll find an underground passage

…Or maybe I’ll find an underground passage

“What? Seriously? The French didn’t ask you to have a sponsor when you arrived, but now the Indians care… are they afraid that you’re fleeing France… and landing in India???

They are aware that there’re easier ways to flee a country that fly around the world right?”

Intended Destinations in India…

“Right, where was my buddy’s wedding again? Googlemaps it is…”

Port of Departure…

“Don’t say you have no idea… it looks suspicious… You still have Googlemaps open right?”

Whew, that’s done. As long as you didn’t write ‘Pakistan’ anywhere I think you’ll be alright…

End of the Line

The spiritual journey into the heartland of religion and belief has already made me search deeper into my very being than I had expected and prepared for. I’m starting to wonder who I am, where I come from, what I believe, where I’m going, and why I’m going there. But after all, if you don’t stop to ask yourself the questions, how can you know when you find the answers? Now I just need a photo… easy enough.

What? I'm harmless

What? I’m harmless

Hold on… what does it say on the website, “The photos taken in French photobooths will not be accepted”

What the hell does that mean? You best be kiddin’ me if you think that I’m leaving the country just to get a photo just to try to leave the country!

What is it exactly that the French did to you India?

I mean, is it this difficult from every country, or is this just a residual resentment that the English left in place when they parted ways with India?? If anything, shouldn’t you love the French?

Come on, equality, freedom, fraternity, doesn’t that sounds good to you? If nothing else, can’t you at least find common ground in having a tough history against the English?

I’m Canadian and totally harmless. I promise to not stay and add to your problems of overpopulation. Nor will I start any sort of holy war, and no I haven’t been to Pakistan…

Will you please accept my India Visa Application now?

Jonny Jenkins

Jonny Jenkins

My name is Jonny, my friends call me Stef. I'm Canadian born, but don't find my identity based upon some borders that man drew hundreds of years ago. I have begun to make my way through the world, travelling and living in many different countries and cultures. I believe whole heartedly in staying longer and going deeper to get the best understanding possible of many different perspectives of life. In order to do so, you have to speak the language. I am no polyglot, but have started to put more emphasis on learning languages in the last few years. I have learned Spanish, relearned French, and started in on Portuguese, German, Indonesian and Malagasy. When it comes to the third world, I am willing to help where they (and not I) decide they need it... in the first world, I am hoping to inspire and motivate people to live more engaging lives.

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