Destination, Distinction or disarray?
The Visa process has been bothersome for me, and the worldview was divided- "but it isn’t", "but it is"! And the opinions flew rapidly all around me with experts opining their knowledge on the visa procedures!
I firstly could not put the application form together immediately! Why? I had no idea where my education certificates were! I have never needed to show them as proof to anybody! My sister kindly volunteered to look for them and moved heaven n earth to find those papers- voila! Finally
I was equipped to apply with all armoury, Bless her!
The application was filled by the travel agent, I cursorily glanced through it, not really reading anything- and autographed it with a flourish, in my mind I was saying, “America, here I come”! And the form was submitted to the the US Embassy
Can anybody be so wrong as I was! That one mistake of not looking through all details had me anxious n stressed n agonized n...for ever! The information regarding my name, my address, my job details was so wrong! Who had filled this form? My travel agent. Who had signed this form? Mee! So who was to be blamed here for these mistakes - definitely Mee, because I didn’t take the pain to pour over it!
My interview was now about 12 hours away, and the Travel agent goes online and corrects the mistakes, and submits it all over again!
Morning dawns, I take a printout of the final submitted form, and bravely quell all the nervous ticks and frustration by outwardly expressing calm and being my normal self, I head to the Visa application office, from there get into a rickety, dirty, smelly, sweaty, tin trap called a bus that takes me to the consulate where I get a token and wait for my turn to be interviewed
Now all that angst n anxiety yday and day before and the day before – all of it has created a nervous churn in my tummy and I do my utmost to take my attention away from my nervousness by concentrating on the fellow Indians who are all patiently waiting their turn, some look grim, some nervous, the kids chirp normal and the parents look furtively around. All this stress for what, I ask! Too bad I will not get the Visa- their loss not mine I said bravely to myself. That’s when my nervousness’ stopped n calm returned, My name was called out, I went and cheerfully told them about the award and my trip for the 2 questions that were asked by a perfectly pleasant American lady, and I was outta there! Done! I still dont have a clue if I have got the visa or not, I will only know that when my passport eventually reaches me.
So what was the agony about, I ask myself? I think it all, now boils down to my burning desire, to see the USA- I have been all over the world even to some remote, less traveled paths abroad- but USA has always eluded me- as a client , Starbucks left before they came to India, Mary Kay is here but has an Indian managing the affairs, so what were my chances of getting to the States. You might ask why did I so badly wanted to go there? I am not sure...!
America's marketing of itself has been too effective I think. Schoolchildren can recite its claims to democracy, liberty and equal opportunity as readily as they can associate McDonald's with family fun and Nike with athletic prowess.
On the other hand - much anger too is directed at the U.S. it stems from a belief--voiced as readily in Argentina as in France, in India as in Saudi Arabia--that the U.S. already demands far too much "consistency and discipline" from other nations; that beneath its stated commitment to democracy and sovereignty, it is deeply intolerant of deviations from the economic model known as the "the Washington Consensus."
To my mind the strongest "brand attribute," that shines for the States is its embrace of diversity. Like Bush argued, "in a free society, diversity is not disorder. Debate is not strife."
Not sure if I wanted to close this with a Bushism, but as it turns out , it does capture it for me!
Posted by Mee at 21:30