Returning home - Part III

Apr 06, 2008 in

Part I: Travelling after my pants
Part II: In deep shit
Part III: 100 hours

100 hours

…But then, by chance, I saw a PCO (phone booth), quickly I looked up the number of the FRO and called them. I resolved to shout at them, threaten and assure that these people, my boss and AIESEC MAY represent me. A SMS arrived at that point which I only read after I finished the phone call:

13:39 Vikram Their office closes at 5 and I dont think theres any bakshish u can give them to stay after 5

I was just reaching the point where I made clear that I am on my way to Chandigarh, yes, but will NOT be there in time but at about 5:30 PM…! …when he interrupted me and said “OK we will wait for you”. That… after this much stupefying stone-hard bureaucracy was what I expected the least. Startled, I said “OK thanks” and hung up. There was surely a lot of triumph in the following SMS.

13:46 Tobias I just called them from a PCO. They will wait for me. Im not sure if they just said that to get rid of you phoning them. Plz plz plz go there before they close and see that they dont. There is too much in the game right now that I want to take any risk.

13:54 Vikram Ok. They close at 5, Ill be there at 4:40 so that they dont close. What time will you reach there?

13:55 Tobias 5:30 PM

Then, the display of my mobile showed “battery low” again and I turned it off. Now, I just had to get into no traffic jam in order to not come too late. Luckily there was none.

27.03 17:15 — 15 mins after the FRO closed — 20 km to Chandigarh!

At about 5:15 PM, planning to delay things by sending a SMS like “I am nearly there” (which wasn’t true), I turned on my mobile again and promptly got a SMS:

17:06 Vikram Theyve given me your exit permit. Please call me

And really, they did. After all this, they decided to just give it away to someone?! After saying again and again that I have to appear there personally, personally!, personally!!?? This could have been a joke but it wasn’t! I was so furious but at the same time so relieved after three days of worrying that I started to laugh. Finally it was over, I got that paper. Shit. Never again.
When I arrived in Chandigarh, I had even some time left, so I ordered a pizza, packed my stuff and had a chat with Jens and Joern who just came back from Pakistan and had a lot to tell. After saying goodbye, see ya in a few days etc, I got on a bus to Delhi. I was so jolly that I even sang in the bus for a while ;)

28.03.08 02:00 — 4 hours till departure
From the bus stand in Delhi, I fetched a rickshaw to the airport. I still didn’t sleep really and was still ill but somehow your mood adds to your state of health. However, finally I reached the security controls at the airport – where one has to show the passport and visa. That was about the limit…
Before I reached the airport I noted one thing about my so-valuable exit permit paper (which was just a filled-in cloze with stamps on it): The last sentence said “His / her recent photograph is affixed herewith.” and instead of a photograph from me, there was just this little box with a red cross on it.

Because I was not sure if the officer would bitch around about this, after all there were official stamps on it. On the other hand, he looked very grumpy. So I first only gave him my passport and flight ticket, watching him closely… Well, there was not too much to watch, he barely looked at the visa for 3 seconds, stamp, done.


He didn’t even wanted to see it?! AAARGH, didn’t he know how much worry, stress and work was in that, how valuable this paper was for me… how can he just stamp that away??
Man, now I really want to see my face back then. Speechless, I grabbed my passport and went on to the baggage controls. Wow, why is it soo random? Well, the most important thing was that I could bord the plane. Whatever.

28.03.08 15:00 — 3 hours till the flight to Hamburg
I did not fly to Hamburg directly but with a 6 hours stop in London Heathrow, Terminal 5. On the flight to London, even though it was 8 hours, I did not sleep because the entertainment was just too good ;). Everybody had an own multimedia entertainment computer with a whole lot of movies and music on it.
What I didn’t know when I arrived at Heathrow that Terminal 5 was just opened the day before. And naturally, there was a lot of chaos, even a lot flights got cancelled and delayed during the first days. The flight to Hamburg was luckily only one hour late, so I got home the same day. At Heathrow, I again didn’t really sleep, only took a nap for one or two hours. The terminal 5 was just too interesting – very new, nice architecture, displays everywhere, a brandnew shopping centre built in… after India, this felt like science fiction. And if not for the countless big TVs in the spacy waiting halls showing BBC news, I wouldn’t have noticed that Terminal 5 was supposed to be chaos. There were issues with the baggage processing system… By the way, do you know this Monty Python Song? Kinda fits :D

Anyway, after I arrived at my parents home and was about to go to bed, I calculated that I was more or less awake now for about 100 hours!
After I dozed off, I did not get up for one and half days… :)

(The End ;))