If you read my post of a week and a half ago, about my epic struggle to get registered as a Foreign Researcher in India, I have an update.
We left off with my having completed all forms, gotten all signatures, having stood in long, hot lines at numerous counters in two different police stations, inveighing and pleading, squirming and twitching before the faces of the bureaucracy. After those many hours and several days of effort, I was told to return in 10 days to pick up my certificate. Okay.
Yesterday, one of the very kind souls at the United States-India Education Foundation kindly called the FRO to ask about what time I should drop by. I was told, “any time between 10 and 1 and that I should bring all my papers.” Okay!
I was ready.
I hired my tuk-tuk and headed over. I had a foreboding feeling, but I figured that was just being gun-shy after my earlier traumas. So, I get there, and ask where to go to pick up my certificate. I am told this, by about ten people I kept asking and re-asking:
WE HAD A COMPUTER MAL-FUNCTION. YOU NEED TO GO TO THE WEBSITE AND APPLY ONLINE.
I was able to understand that all my forms and my application had been lost. I had to start over. That whole epic struggle of a week ago and all its progress had been for naught!
I had to use the ‘ONLINE FORM” which 10 days before I had been told NOT TO USE.
I had to find an Internet cafe, because I would need to fill out forms, scan documents. print things, copy things. Cyber cafes are not so numerous as they were before the days of wi-fi and iPhones. But I found one in a hot basement behind some stores.
I spent hours there, filling out forms, uploading, scanning, printing, copying. Sizing and resizing my passport photo. Luckily, as always the guy in charge was so incredibly nice and helpful. I think all Indian people are so nice because basically we are all going through this hell together, and we bond over it. There were many people there from the FRO office.
By the time I finished, I walked out into the mid-afternoon blazing heat, and thought I was going to pass out from heat exhaustion. I let a guy shine my shoes, paid him exorbitantly, and went and got a cold bottle of water.
I went back to FRO, and stood in four different lines for about one half-hour each, and by the end of the day, got to the exact place I had been at ten days before:
Come back in 10 days to pick up your registration certificate.