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Why are you going? Why are you going alone with your children? Why are you not going with your wife? - Just some questions you will face at immigration

Why are you going? Why are you going alone with your children? Why are you not going with your wife? - Just some questions you will face at immigration   | Photo Credit: Sreejith R Kumar

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How not to make it across the border even when your papers are in order

You are in a good mood, greatly encouraged by the news nowadays. Why, just this week, Swami Nityananda went off to Ecuador, they say. Mallya and Modi are enjoying the hospitality of Her Majesty the Queen. How very easy it has become now to go wherever you want to, no matter how many court cases and crimes you’re carrying in your suitcase on wheels. Such a generous travel policy must surely be acknowledged. In fact, you must immediately travel yourself. Haven’t your kids been setting up a whine to go abroad like all self-respecting citizens do?

Now, with these new relaxed rules, you assure them you will. You get the visa forms which are each 17 pages long. You spend 18 days taking secret printouts from the office machine, Meanwhile, your visa will take another 19 days to process. You will have to show bank accounts, tax returns, tickets, hotel booking, certificates of marriage (where you have to prove really, it was you, you can’t help it that you’ve put on 45 pounds since!) and evidence that you are not the lowlife criminal that your passport picture depicts (you had a tooth extracted that day!) – and other proof that you have been supporting the roads and railways of your country and will return to do that pronto. You will then get a reject because you are an immigration threat and they suspect that the moment you land in another country, you will dig a hole, lower your heart rate and hibernate like their bears or meerkats or other holesome animals.

Or you may get lucky and get a visa. Your wife’s visa is denied because you automatically entered her fake age which she had you memorise and which stays constant. Since you have non-refundable tickets, you must go without her.

Finally, you and your kids join the winding lines at the airport, and get stopped at Immigration. Why are you going? Why are you going alone with your children? Why are you not going with your wife? Does your wife know that you are going with her children? Where will you be staying without your wife? When will you be returning to your wife? Where is your marriage certificate? But that doesn’t look like you. Stare at the camera. Stop blinking. Stop smiling. Tell your child to stop climbing the counter. The Security Check is worse . Go back and join the queue without your watch. Now without your shoes. Now without your belt. Now hands up while we frisk you – oh, your pants won’t stay up without the belt? Is this your pen? Your inhaler? Your comb in the back pocket? Dangerous weapons. Follow us to the Interview Room.

What is this white powder on your body, they say. Drugs? It is prickly-heat powder you plead. You try to make a dash for the plane, your kids are already boarding. You are captured, flattened to the floor. “But, but,” you say, “You made it so easy for the crooks to escape. All I did was steal 17 printouts.” Your picture, while holding on to your beltless pants, makes it to every terrorist database.

Where Jane De Suza, author of Flyaway Boy, pokes her nose into our perfect lives.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 5:15:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/vanishing-cream/article30115224.ece

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