Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Match point

All those who have been following my Pakistan saga, if you thought the story had ended, well... surprise surprise! :|

As I mentioned in the shortest post ever written at Sayeshaz, my visa got approved on Monday and I was supposed to pick up my passport from the Pakistan embassy at 4:30 pm today.

Now Prof Z's class was at 6:30 pm today, so I made some precise calculations according to which if I managed to pick up my passport by 4:45 pm or so, I'd just be able to make it to class in time.

I reached the Embassy at about 4:15 pm, and was shocked to see a dozen people in the waiting room, even though the collection counter hadn't opened yet. "Oh man! Hope the queue moves fast", I thought to myself and sat down.

At 4:30 pm, the guy at the reception came to the waiting room and said, "Counter is now open. Ladies first."

"Ladies first." Magical words to me at that point in time. One of the only times I did not react with a "Ladies kisko bola re? Bhai ko ladies bolta hai? Apun bhai hai bhai, bhai logon ke saath hi queue mein rahega!" I did not hesitate in taking advantage of the phrase which I thought was only an Indian thing.

There were only three "ladies" in the queue, so I was at the counter pretty soon. I picked up my passport and after checking the basic things - 10-day business visa, 90 days validity - I made a dash for the lifts. As I waited for the lifts, I happened to open that page again and nearly fell.

There was a little stamp on the page that said "Visa valid for Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi only".

Now I had two choices - I could either run back and try and sort it out, or I could rush to class and come back the next morning. But then I realised that if I had to go back to the Embassy one more time (today was my fifth visit), my mental health could suffer.

So I dashed back, and told the guy at the reception that I was going to conduct seminars in all the three cities and not just in Karachi. He pointed to the counter - which was now teeming with the "men" whose wrath the "ladies" had incurred by cutting the queue earlier. Obviously, they were nowhere close to letting me cut their queue. So the reception guy said, "Madam, you can wait in the waiting room."

Nahinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn, not the waiting room again! I knew that if this wait was anything like that wait, even a cab could not get me to Prof Z's class in time. Ironical since I'd blogged only yesterday about how he doesn't let students in after 6:30 pm.

So I waited but luckily it was my turn soon. I told the guy at the counter my problem and he said, "You only indicated 'Karachi' in your form. See?" He pointed at my form.

"But your form asked for 'port of entry'. That's why I wrote Karachi. It did not ask which cities I intended to visit in Pakistan."

"You should have written all three." He said.

(I didn't even know they issued visas for specific cities. If I worked at the Indian High Comm na... and if he'd applied for an Indian visa na... I'd have given him a visa which would ONLY be to some godforsaken village where forget flights, even buses don't go, only bullock carts do. But this was no time to get angry.)

I knew that I could not go back to reapply. This whole thing had been both physically and mentally exhausting for me. My company would just find it simpler to replace me with a Singaporean because of the 'apply on monday, get visa on wednesday' rule that seemed to be applicable to Singaporeans. I felt like screaming a la Sunny Deol "Taaareeeekh pe taaareeeekh pe taaareeeekh!"

"Calm down, calm down, calm down." I told myself.

And suddenly out of nowhere, a barrage of urdu came tumbling out of my mouth. All this while I'd been speaking in English, but I think I had reached the limits of my patience. Aur jab Sash ko gussa aata hai, woh hindi/urdu bolti hai!

Sheesh, what all words I used - 'zikr' and all! If I hadn't been so upset, I'd be patting myself on my back.

Then I dunno what exactly happened, but the guy at the counter went inside, came out after a minute and handed me my passport. I looked at it and there was another stamp on it "Visa valid for Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi only".

Phew. Phew. And oh, did I mention PHEW???

There was no time for me to have dinner, so I decided to pack a burger from MOS and eat it during lesson break. As I waited at MOS burger while they prepared my order, I sent a quick sms to my Marketing Manager to tell him the good news and about my fight for Islamabad and Lahore, his reply came "Hope we can really go there." Apparently, the seminar organisers had warned him that we may have to cancel the trip because of some tension in the region.

Great. Jusssst what I needed at that point in my life. :|

It was like someone out there was using every power in the world to stop me from going to Pakistan.

Playing a game with me. Testing me. Round after round after round. Of course, I had my own set of invisible powers backing me up here so I could go through each round victorious.

Round 1
Invisible power - Creates possibility of parents freaking out and not granting permission to go
Sayesha - Manages to convince parents by telling them how good a move this is for her career.

Round 2
Invisible power - Causes problems in obtaining visa
Sayesha - Manages to obtain visa

Round 3
Invisible power - Causes issuance of visa for only one of the cities
Sayesha - Argues her way out in urdu and gets the stamp for all cities

Whoever you are, playing this little game with me and enjoying it so much, I have something to say to you.

You know what? It's not funny anymore.

It's hilarious.

And I'm not kidding. Really.

That day, I almost cried. Today, I laughed. I think I am done with all the fluctuating emotions I have experienced in the last few days. I can't afford to devote any more of my time, energy and emotions to this. And so I started laughing at myself, at all this. I have been laughing about this ever since I walked out of the Embassy's glass doors.

And now I know for sure that no matter what happens, I'll be fine. Even if I can't go, I have the Pakistan visa on my passport to show off to my grandkids, you see.

So that's it. You do what you can, and I will do what I can. And we'll see who wins. And frankly speaking, I am fully aware that you have the upper hand. But I won't give up without a fight.

All right buddy, so what's comin' up next?



58 comments:

asha said...

gold,

hi sayesha,

way to go babes!

dekho, sab badhiya hii hoga.

itni adchane clear ki hain toh ab prob dene wala bhi thak gaya hoga. woh bhi soch raha hoga, kis key saath panga mol liya, iss ko ab chup chhaap jaane dete hai.

so pack up yr suitcases. once tickets haath mein ayi toh blog pe likhna, hum apni shopping list bhi update kar denge.

HALLA BOL!

asha

Inder said...

international saazish... plot by undesirable elements... :P :P :P

Dev said...

BRONZE? :D

rads said...

hahahhaa.. am so sorry you had to go through such drama :-)

Duhita said...

But it's only now that the fun begins right?:D Muahahahahha!

Anonymous said...

what....attitude you have!
Love it!

*inspired*

singh said...

I don't know whether to applaud your brave outlook or fear your paranoid tendencies :)

Maverick said...

congrats.... for the win

Anonymous said...

Finally did you make it in time for Prof. Z's classs?

Adarsh said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Adarsh said...

coming up next: A Flight..and much more to PAKISTAN !!!
Hv a gr8 trip.
:)

(the earlier comment had a typo)

Deeps said...

The suspense is killing me. Did you attend Prof Z's class or not? :-p :-p :-p.

satish said...

tareekh pe taarikhh pe taarikh pe taarikh..(Phew!)

aapka dhai kilo kaa haath dekhke darr gaya hoga bechara!

:P

Koi Pahailee said...

o come on,
be fair
its not you but some invisible good power taking you out of these troubles...
and good good...happy u got the visa
have fun
i was in Karachi a while back and I fear it might let you down as they are building 15-20 bridges all across the city and at once (our planning), so the city is made up of 'diversions - constructions ahead' which lead you to khadas and kacha raastey!
nneeeways, hope u have a good time in Pakistan and hope you dont judge too much. Its my country you know, jaisa bhi hay, mera watan hay!

The Smiling Girl said...

Phew... bigger phew... after all the tension, tujhe finally Visa to mil gaya na re..
thts a feather in the cap, atleast for an Indian.. :)

Now the next is the tension in that area.. i just hope its all fine..

Love ur attitude, darling!!! :)
Enable my profile and profile pic, check it out!!:)

Chirag said...

Balle Balle Kudiye, chuk ditte phatte! Have a great great trip! Waiting for you to come back from Pakistan and share all ur wonderful experiences with us! Lage Rahoooooo Sayesha Bhai!

Anonymous said...

Rock on, sistah!! :D Sometimes, there is a reason why this invisible power happens. Let it and trust whatever happens. :)
TCO

Sakshi said...

way to go. Sayesha in Pakistan. Bhai jarela hai anjaan nagar. Kick Ass.

Sayesha said...

#Asha,
Ab toh yeh din aa gaye hain ki ticket milne ke baad bhi I won't be sure. Airport pahunchkar bhi I won't be sure, and after getting there also I won't be sure! Singapore waapas aakar hi I will be sure ki haan bhai Pakistan gaye they hum toh :)

#Inder,
:P

#Dev,
Yeah :)

#Rads,
First you laugh, then you say 'sorry'. Me thinks you are that invisible power! :|

#Duhita,
Yeah yeah, fun hi fun hai aap logon ke liye... ghar pe baitho and padho Sash ki kya waat lag rahi hai :D

#Anon,
Thanks! :P

#Singh,
My thoughts exactly! :|

#Maverick,
Not yet buddy, not yet. Let me get back. Only then we can be sure that the trip's gonna happen :)

#Anon,
Yeah, babay! Jussssst in time! :P

#Adarsh,
Tere muh mein low-fat ghee and artificial sweeteners! :D

#Deeps,
Yes I did! Jussst about managed it on time! Dhaakki tiki! :D

#Satish,
Dhai kilo ka haath?? Mera haath dhai kilo ka hai?? X-( Ruk yeh dhai kilo ka haath jab tere gaal par padega na... tab tujhe asli weight ka andaza hoga! :/

#Koi Pahailee,
Yes I indeed acknowledge that I too had my own invisible powers that got me out victorious in each round... and that included a lot of good vibes from my blog readers! :)

And I'm not going there to judge. If I were, I wouldn't be going. :)

#SG,
Arre haan! Yeh toh socha hi nahin tha! Trip nahin bhi hua toh kya, I can show my grandchildren ki dekho tere grandma ke passport par Pakistani visa hai! HAH! :D

#Chirag,
Thanks, bro! Hope you're right :)

#TCO,
That's true... which is why I have not yet called it an 'evil' invisible power. It's just 'invisible power'. :)

#Sakshi,
Thanks dearie! :)

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

I know what is in store for you: I know exactly what... wait till the port of entry immigration officer sees the double stamp on your passport :D

All the best!!

Jay said...

Yo! :-)

Hari said...

May be a bomb hoax in the flight?

:D

Kidding! Now stop swearing!!

Anonymous said...

Don't worry yaar. Remember positive vibes can do lot of wonderful things. I'm sure you will go there, enjoy every bit of attention you get and come back and write a post about your experience in Pakistan :)

-Lakshmi

PizzaDude said...

Your reply to adarsh's comment Tere muh mein low-fat ghee and artificial sweeteners! really cracked me up! =))

Can't wait to read your account of the intended trip

Nirwa said...

And did you attend the lecture/ :D

May the Force be with you! :D

Sumana said...

Just when I thought your VISA blues are over ;-)

Did you manage to attend the lecture?

Bulbul Gopalani said...

Congrats on ur visa... and I thought such things happen in India only (maybe they only happen to Indians)... anyways, bhagwan jab deta hai jhapar phaad ke deta hai.

Iday said...

Good that u got it sorted out immediately.
I think u'd have been made to see that Waiting-Room-Video all over again :D

I really hope u get to see the land. Just for the heck of it :)
I guess u deserve the trip for all the trouble that u've gone through till date!

The Pirate said...

acha hi hua bhai... ye ladies type emoshion vemoshion main vaise bhee kuchh rakhela nahi hai kya... end main jaake sirf watt lagta hai sala isse...

ab dekh sala kaun rokta hai bhai ko jane se...

bhai ko jana maangta!... fod ke rakh denge... bas bol do ek baar bhai!!!

Vandana Bhatia said...

You crossed so may barriers already and had there been no hurdles, you maynt have remembered these incidents. They made your memory girl and I loved your narration on this :)
Hope you get through your trip soon !

Bhaarat said...

Yeh sab bhai log ke life mein ekdum normal baat hai. Bhai log ka emotions bhi ekdum intense hota hai aur short time mein u turn bhi leta hai. Matlab tereko fikr ka koi jaroorat nahin.

Anonymous said...

"Whoever you are, playing this little game with me and enjoying it so much, I have something to say to you."

If only you realized that He/She/It who/that you think is playing "against" you, is just playing by Himself/Herself/Itself!
Making you believe that you are in control of "your side" of the game, while you are nothing more than a puppet is probably the most ingenious stategy He/She/It could have adapted. Wake up Sayesha, there is no "your side", much as it might disappoint you.

Abhishek said...

f*** man...for gods sake....ahy dont u try being in the US embassy next yr....instead of the Indian...so that i could get my US visa approved by "lady" sayesha next yr ...if i get an admit in a sahi coll...????????

think over.

Raju Bathija said...

Last two paragraphs are really well written. More power to you.

Good to know that you have got visa .

All the talk of global village come to mean nothing when one goes through such gruelling process for the visa.

Di said...

really wish u get to go...i wud love to go someday tooo.. :-)

RandomThoughts said...

Atta Girl! Way to go! Did u make to ur class on time that day?

All the best & hope your dreams come true!

Rashmi

The Smiling Girl said...

Thts like a good girl's attitude..
Always hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst.. :)

Grandkids ko bolna ki SG nanima ne bhi try kiya tha Pak ke visa keliye.. (phekne mein kya jayega yaar!)

Sudeep said...

chalo paki magazines n video dekhne ka faayda toh hua..

did u ever take panga with mushi dude?

Sudeep said...

aur tune bola hi nahi ki Prof Z ke class ko pahunchi ya nahi time se?

Rohit Talwar said...

Ab woh kuch nahi bigadega! Inshallah!

Vinesh said...

haha! have a good trip :-)

Sayesha said...

#Sudipta,
Eeeesh! You mean mean guy! :O

#Jay,
Yo-yo! ;)

#Hari,
You too???? ARGH! :@

#Lakshmi,
Hope so hope so! :)

#Pizzadude,
:)

#Nirwa,
Yes babe I rushed into the class with 5 mins to spare! PHEW! :D

#Sumana,
They're far from over. Actually visa blues are over, trip blues have started! :/
ps: Yeah, just about made it for the class. :D

#Bulbul,
Bhagwaan ne toh chhappar phaad kar mere sar par hi gira diya! :| :P

#Iday,
Oh man! That video... one more screening of that video and I'd have SCREAMED! :O

Thanks for your wishes yaar! :)

#Pirate,
//bhai ko jana maangta!... fod ke rakh denge... bas bol do ek baar bhai!!!

Hey bhagwan! Watch your words pakiya, tere words hi apun ko musibat mein dalenge! :O

#Vandana,
Thanks :)

#Bhaarat,
I hope tu sahi bol raha hai... agar teri baat galat sabit hui na... bhai tapka dalega bolta hai! :/

#Anonymous,
Didn't really need a reality check at this point in time, but thanks anyways dear :)

#Abhishek,
Hahaha! Aur tujhe kya lagta hai - bhai tereko easily visa de dega? Muahahaha! Bahut kathakali karna padega beta! *evil grin* :D

#Raju,
Thanks! :)

//All the talk of global village come to mean nothing when one goes through such gruelling process for the visa.

Totally agree! :)

#Di,
Hope you get to go yaar! :)

#Rashmi,
Thanks! Jusssst about managed to get in class on time! :P

#Smiling Girl,
Ab grandkids ke saamne phekna hi hai toh aisa karte hain, unko bolte hain tu swatantrata ke andolan mein gandhiji ke saath saath chali! Teri umar ka andaza bhi ho jayega mere grandkids ko. :D

#Sudeep,
Haan yaar, pahunch gayi... with 5 mins to spare! Lekin man.. the way I ran in my high heels! :O

#Rohit,
Thanks! :)

#Vinesh,
Thanks! :)

Rebellion said...

hehehe,
Don't worry Sash.. No matter what the power, am sure ul go :) Am telling you na, trust me :P

After all we got the visa, we got VISAA POWERRRR. Okay, real bad joke that was!!! :P

So keep all the stuff ready, start shopping and don't forget to pack your digicam haan :D

All The Best,
Take care,
Aarti

qsg said...

Wow...loved the post and the attitude... bilkul dhinchaak likha bhai! :)

Best of luck...!

Hari said...

Hey! What do you mean by "you too?"
I was just kidding!! I wish you all the very best in ur trip and hope that you have a smooth trip without any hassles.

Waiting for your Pakistan experiences. Two months back I got a chance to visit Calcutta. It was the first time I was visiting a place out of South India!! If I found a city within India so very enchanting and intriguing because it was my first time there, I could imagine your excitement in visiting an all together new country!!!

All the very best.

mysorean said...

Sayesha:
May God Bless you!
No invisible power can be bigger than our willpower. And it's been quite evident in your case so far, right?! :)
So, you will go to Pakistan and successfully do those seminars! All the best!
Btw, read all your posts. Brilliant pieces of writing each one. Blogrolling you!

The Inquisitive Akka said...

That's the spirit Sash!!!! :)

The Smiling Girl said...

abbe.. meri badnaami mat karna be tere grandkids ke saamne..
Unko bolna ki Reservation ki fight jab hua tha, tab main school mein hi.. :)

*hopes to become younger for Sash's grandkids*

The Smiling Girl said...

Wow.. looks like RT is competing for the worst PJ Queen award with her Visa wala joke... Lookout Gems, u got competition!!! :)

Rishit Jain said...

Hahahahaha, hilarious post! Reminds me of this song, "Panchhi Nadiya Pavan Ke Jhonkey, Koi Sarhad Naa Inhe Roke".

Sayesha said...

#Aarti,
I can't believe tujhpar mera itna asar ho gaya... tu mere type jokes maarne lagi! :P

#Gems,
Thanks babe! :)

#Hari,
Wow, you stepped outta South India for the first time? Must have been amazing cos every state in India is like a country on its own! :)

#Adi,
Hey, welcome to Sayeshaz, and thanks for your kind words :)

#Akka,
Thanks! :D

#Smiling Gal,
Haan haan! I will tell them that when Pluto was kicked out of the planets' list, SG was in kindergarten! Khush? :D
ps: Aarti seekh rahi hai... abhi mere muqable uske jokes kaafi theek thaak hai... poorer and poorer hote jayenge meri sangat mein.
*looks coyly at nails*

#Rishit,
Hans rahe ho tum bhi meri plight par? Welcome to the club! :P

Rebellion said...

ROFLLL @ your reply to SG :P

Thanks Sash bhai, yeh jaankar khushi hui ke aapko mujhpar garv hai, main aapki ummedon par khare utarne ki poori koshish karungi :P

hehehe :P
Take care,
Aarti

Kroopa Shah (Kr00pz) said...

Congratulations!!

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