Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The New Delhi Diaries (Part 1)

DAY JEERO (18th August 2007) : None

Papa and I reach UP Bhavan and sleep off the Shatabdi fatigue to rejuvenate and conserve energy for the VISA interview tomorrow.

DAY ONE (19th August 2007) : VISA Power - Went Got It

The line in front of the US embassy is long. Chanakypuri is beautiful. I find people stapling stuff on my passport, I am ushered in, fingerprinted, my identity - one more entry in a voluminous database - is preserved for all eternity. Line 2 is the longest. It says "Non Immigrant VISA" overhead.

It is funny to see Americans at the consulate talk in Hindi with the people who've opted for Hindi as the interview language. "Aap Amrika kyun ja rahe hain?" or "Aapka da_maad petrol pump mein kaam karta hai?" etc with a liberal dose of the all-too-familiar Amreekan accent!

My turn comes and I move to the window full of answers to as yet unasked questions. But the interview turns out to be a joke (not that I mind it!). A few routine questions : "What for?" (Ans : "...PhD..."), "What scores?" (Ans : "Whatever(!)") and my VISA is approved! What a wait for something this easy!

Then Papa and I went around seeing Dariyaganj, Chandni Chauk and saw fleeting glimpses of Lal Qila and Jama Masjid. Here, seeing it up close I began agreeing with Bajpai that Mughal architecture is so regal, majestic, imposing and intimidating that our little Lucknawi (read Awadh) architecture seems puny and uninspiring at best.

The evening saw us come to Vasant Kunj to Babloo Mama's place. Bittu bhaiya and Bholu bhaiya were also found there. Thus the rest of the evening was spent in having good food and lots of carrom/movies on the huge LCD TV.

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