FRRO BONDING

My Visa Extension turned me into a regular customer at the FRRO office in Hyderabad.
I ran into old faces, new faces, made new friends, got toasted self.
Particularly interesting are my African brothers and sisters. They immediately jump into conversation with you simply because you are black, not stopping a minute to know if you are actually interested in the conversation or not.

I could tell the Nigerians apart from every other black community from the moment I set my eyes on them. The Nigerian swag can never be mistaken. With heads held up high, nose turned up, sometimes with amusement in his eyes and sometimes with utter disgust, the Nigerian observes his surrounding.

Everyday, people whine and complain about India, everyday the FRRO office is filled with citizens of the world coming to register as new entrants, extend almost expired and sometimes already expired visas and every other visa related issues. You have no business with the FRRO if you will be in India for less than 180days, so everyone who comes to that office plans to stay longer in the country. India is fast becoming an educational hub for IT professionals or wannabes. You find a lot of Chinese coming to study English in India, the Arab nation is also well represented. You find most Northern and Eastern (the Tanzanians are dominating India) studying here also. The Nigerian community is relatively small, but they are still a sizeable number.

On my first visit to the FRRO, I went to find out details of the Visa extension process. The official did not even waste mouth in telling to carry my head straight to the Ministry of Home Affairs (FRRO division) for extension. On my way out, some Hausa boy followed me to the bus-stop, He shall did introduction and all, collected my number...the boy call tire I no gree pick up call after our meeting.

One day, a guy came in to get his exit permit and upon opening the passport the officials found out that the entry visa expired 3years back. He had been living in India for the past 5years on an entry visa for 2years, I did not get the exact country but he is from one of them Arabian countries. The official was dumbfounded and did not know what to do for a very long time had his mouth wide open. Imagine that was one African especially Nigerian, na for police cell he go find himself before explanation.

I was in New Delhi from 10-13th of November, I must say I fell in love with the Nation's Capital. New Delhi is beautiful, despite all the crime story, I know it is a city I can live in if I had a choice. My trip to New Delhi was an all expense paid by the coy. New Delhi is actually far from Hyderabad, it is 27hours by train and 2hours by air. I had planned to go directly to the MHA office from the airport but unfortunately for me, there was some sort of Public holiday in Delhi on that day. I spent most part of the day sleeping, then buzzed up some friends who gave me directions to some of the tourist attractions in the state. I had dinner with a Mauritian ex-TCS intern who was leaving India the next day. Later that night, I attended her farewell party in a club called Zook in the Saket area of Delhi.

The next day, I was in the MHA as early as 8 for my extension interview. I was actually expecting to spend the whole day in the office but to my surprise I was out of there in less than 1hour. I had planned a trip to Agra which is about 3hours from Delhi the next day, but I woke up sick the next morning.I spent the day holed up in the hotel room with no friend or place to go to. In Delhi, I ran into a lot of Africans, particularly Nigerians. Some dude even immediately started speaking French to me, assuming I was from one of them French-Speaking African Countries. I guess there is a way, we as Nigerians identify each other, without even saying a word. All the Nigerians I met, I could tell from afar were Nigerians and immediately starts speaking Pidgin or just stop me and say, you are Nigerian abi.

The Visa extension process was not even as straightforward as I had thought. After my interview, I was told to go back to Hyd and await their decision. The decision was supposed to be sent directly to the FRRO number and I was to show my application number to the officials in Hyd and I shall be informed of the MHA's decision. I was fed up at some point, everyday something was needed, I had to get a new rent contract, change my address, landlord had to be physically present at their office to confirm that I am living in the said flat. I finally got my extension stamped 2 days before the entry visa was to expire.

In the process of all this wahala, I met this Iraqi, whose cousin had also attended the visa interview with me in Delhi. He is studying Bio-genetic something something,conversation with him was really good. He came to visit and sat with me all through the day I went for my visa stamping. We went on identifying people, I telling him which part of Africa, if I could not guess their exact countries and he identified all the Arabians. We talked about Saddam and govt of our countries. I was careful when threading Saddam Hussein's issue, I don't want anyone getting offended by my comments, because I can so misyarn sometimes. We met once for lunch on one of my lazy weekends, but I started giving my self brain when I heard "I would like to cook for you in my flat". Biko, hunger no do me reach that level. I know I have a prejudiced mind, but really I am just careful with everyone here even with my fellow Nigerians. I cannot talk ngbati ngbati story.


Pictures from Delhi:
My room at the Parkland Hotel

Red Fort
The cycle rickshaw

The Jama Masjid (Mosque)
India Gate
♥ Lara  from Incredible India

'Lara A

7 comments:

  1. Thank you, thank you for changing the background color. When I opened your post, my eyes smiles! The visa extension process seems to be as annoying as ever. We went though that in Macedonia, even having to have the landlord present. Seeing the Red Fort brought back memories, more memories when I saw the bicycle rickshaw. Hub and I toured Old Delhi in on of those things. The driver, tho, wouldn't let us off when we exited the city. Indeed, he sped up and entered the roundabout traffic, swerved to avoid hitting a car and sent me flying into the traffic. Hub jumped down in time to divert a car that would've rolled over my gorgeous head. That saved, the right side of my body was a mass of bruises, with the right foot in terrible pain. Nothing broken, thankfully, but I was on crutches for three weeks. The people less likely to help by holding a door for me? Why my own, Americans.

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  2. I agree with you that Nigerians always stand out even with other Africans. I'm glad you got your Visa stamped for extension, it sounded very complicated but it must have been nice to visit and explore New Delhi. I love the colorful pictures.

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  3. Nigerians know how to stand out, and that is what makes or breaks us. What is that orange thing in the 5th picture? Is it a kind of fruit?

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  4. Glad to know you got your visa extended without much kinks. I am quite surprised to hear that the process was free of bribery unlike what i see in Bollywood movies ;)

    Here's a toast to you having the best of part 2 in Incredible India!

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  5. Your picture with those girls is so cute. Lol at nbati story haha!! Why you dey fear nau? :p

    Adiya
    Muse Origins
    Muse Origins FB

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  6. Hyper...wetin? Good thing you have Nigerians over there [then again, where won't one find Nigerians]. Disappointed [not surprise] even in India, you still have that mentality of "I can't associate with you because I am better than you" I experienced sh!t like that in London but I tolerated it because I know in Nigeria that same person can't tell me nothing.

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