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Tyranny of the American Embassy, New Delhi?!

By J.V.Ravichandran


J.V.Ravichandran

  
Illegal encroachments, mental MTNL, demented DVB, demeaning Delhi Police are some of the words used to describe some of the public service offices in Delhi but no words equal the feelings when it comes to expressing the dealings of the American Embassy, New Delhi. Utter disdain to INS approvals, a  policy of at least 'n' number of callous rejections,  without any reason, a policy of "inform the visa seeker as less as possible and when impossible not to inform, misinform through the receptionist !". These are some common views expressed  by many in Delhi who have experienced the high-handed dealings of the esteemed consulate.

The receptionists responding at "4198000"  answer, "American Embassy..". "Sir, I want some information regarding H-1 vi...".  "Please dial between 2.00 p.m. and 3.00 p.m and ask for the NIV section." Between the said time, the telephone line will be constantly engaged. After 10 days of dialing, I found out that there was an auto number from where to get the information. The receptionists, perhaps, had been  thinking that callers like to chat with them and hence did not bother to redirect the callers or maybe the auto number was introduced only later !  The answering machine supplies the barest information like the visa issuance fee, application fee and some couple of documents which I already knew about.  Many cannot go to the Embassy to seek information personally, but telephones are an integral part of modern day communication and one can use this instrument of technology in lieu of personal appearances but somehow the American Embassy does not see eye to eye on the need for effective and proper form of communication or maybe, it is the  prerogative of the Embassy to remain aloof on most such matters ! 


With hardly any clue on what all documents to attach with my application, I decided, finally, to carry all my documents which totals to around a hundred !

At the gate of the consulate, I was told by the security guard that my documents were to be submitted into a drop-box. I was stunned. This was the  first time in my life that I had heard of such a thing !


What blasphemy ! How can anyone be  expected to drop their most important documents including passport into a post-box ! With a "sorry-pardnur-i-dont-buy-your-stuff", I   tried to reason with the guard saying that I had  talked to the Embassy only yesterday and nobody  had informed me about this box ! The guard calmly handed me a sickly looking yellowish pamphlet  and told me to go the address mentioned in it. I  looked around for help and noticed a notice  board which contained the same information. So, I  decided to drop my document and my passport  into the drop-box wherever or whatever it may be. I puzzled my way  to the office, some 20 odd kilometers from  the consulate's office, as to why the consulate should have set up a post-box, 20 kilometers  away ! Upon reaching the address, I found some 10 odd  people standing outside a small building.   After asking around, I found out that the counter would open in an hour or so. The receptionist  at the Embassy did not even bother to inform about this facility to a caller who had made at  least a 50 calls in 10 days !

The doors finally opened and I headed straight for the message board and the list in it (of documents to submit) was entirely different from the list told to me by the Embassy and "photocopies" were to be submitted too ! Fortunately, there was a photocopier in the premises,  albeit at an exorbitant rate ! But, of course, the explanation was ready  - for the 4-times-more-than-the-market-rate being charged there - the  photocopier was not meant for commercial purposes !!  I guess, everything connected to the American Embassy  redefine existing and acknowledged views and opinions ! When  I headed for the counter with all my documents in my hand, I found a surprise help in a girl, just out of her teens (I mention this because it must have been a first time for her too),  applying for her H-1B visa. 

The counter assistant gave me a "don't worry smile" and took my documents. Without any ado, she removed one document, the INS notice of Action, and  handing it to me said, "Get me a photocopy of this". The girl, applying at the adjacent counter,  yelped with shock, "Why ? Nowhere is it  written that a photocopy of this document is   required." Again, the counter assistant gave me a  "don't worry" smile, (may be the American Embassy and its associates take me for a easy plaything !) and said, "I want it". I did as requested  and she took a sum of Rs. 300.00 from me towards "handling, processing and couriering charges".

Within a couple of days, to my shock, I received the whole set of documents, sans the application fee draft, with a letter from the Embassy stating  that a document (which I had submitted) was missing ! I realized I had paid Rs. 300.00 to the handling agent (T.T.Services) for  mishandling my application and had been duped!  The Embassy later revealed that a field in the document was missing and not the document  itself, as mentioned in the letter from the Embassy !  Strange ways of communication the American Embassy, New Delhi, adopts when the whole world functions on smooth, modern and efficient forms of communication not to mention how the Embassy chose to revoke an application approved by INS  which is as good as an approval from the White House !   Rumours or maybe it is the truth, has it that the  security guards have a side business of which the Embassy or the Embassy staff does not approve !   And the ones to suffer in this war between the security staff and the Embassy are innocent visa- -seekers whose careers are decided not by the sponsoring company or the US rules or the US economy but the whims and fancies of the counter staff who interview or rather, who interview according to instructions and questions fixed for them by the security guards ! Not to mention how qualified the guards are or how the Embassy allows such  a practice!
 

Please address comments to - mymails@jvravichandran.com

J.V.Ravichandran introduces himself: I am 35 years of age and live in New Delhi, India. I am a software developer, dramatist, poet, artistic director (I have directed 4 English plays). I have developed 4 computer games plus some business softwares namely, GREYcells Ludo, GREYcells Bricks, GREYcells Tic-Tac-Toe and GREYcells Brainvita plus GREYcells Accounts for manufacturing units, GREYcells instograf, GREYcells Speedsheet, GREYcells Independence and eDove.

I have dramatised Catch-22, the famous novel by Joseph Heller, which is available on my homepage. I have also written a book on C and C++ called "C+C++=EC" that too is available on my homepage. I have written a few poems too which are available on my homepage. I also write articles on C#(Pronounced C-sharp) at www.c-sharphelp.com and www.punecsharp.com.

More details about me and my career can be found on my homepage at
http://Members.Spree.com/Business/Semantix.
My E-Mail ID - jvravichandran@yahoo.com.