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  • Writer's pictureVoita


As I was leaving Leh, two things have happened. My Ladakhi SIM, good for 28 days, expired. And I have been requested to submit another half a dozen supporting documents for my Pakistani visa application.

Leh airport: quick, effective

The flight was, once again, amazing. Landscape rolled below us: from high mountains of Ladakh, through densely populated forehills of Himachal to the lifeless grey of UP and Delhi.

The hour spent in the air flew by and shortly I was sat in Delhi airport - again. My postpaid SIM, JIO's App didn't work on the airport's wifi, which left me dependent on the wifi as such.

Sat at the airport, I was faced with the necessity to upload all the documents asap.

Indus river slowly changing colour

Referring tour company's registration and owner's ID. Seriously, after having provided their stamped and attested letter of invitation? My friend was online and sent that inside of an hour.

Hotel booking; stupidly, I initially wrote name of a hotel which I stayed in before, but which shot up in price since. To avoid any discrepancy, I booked it at triple of night's average in Lahore, on the other side of the border.

Bank statements for the last 3 months make sense too. Revolut somehow offers merged statements for all currency accounts, but never actually provides them. So you have to download the currencies one by one and merge them yourself. Easy enough.

Flight ticket...

to hell with it

melting glacier, Ladakh

That was not the case in spring.

And I'm over booking tickets on the spot, fake or otherwise.

So I provide a bus ticket from Delhi to Amritsar, since the request didn't specify the ticket needs to be outbound.

I submit, mid-afternoon, Tuesday.

border of two worlds

Wil 24 hours be enough to get the documents approved? If I'm to make the border, I need to be on a bus by Wednesday night, else book a flight to Bangladesh for Thursday morning.

hills of Himachal

Wednesday passes.

No email.

Bangladesh it is.

UP (see you - never?)

The flight's cheap enough - fitting 4.666 roops (some $56).

But the visa on arrival list of documents is equally long and baffling.

First of all, the visa fee is 21 USD. Yeah, I'll need a dollar. And other change in USD. Luckily I score in a third ForEx; although the notes I receive are far from mint. In Nepal, they wouldn't take them.

Bank statements again, hotel booking again, COVID vaccine certificate for the airline. Easy enough. Airline also states they want to see visa prior to boarding; will they let me board expecting to receive visa on arrival as I'm entitled to?

And, inevitably, a flight out of the country. Pressed against the wall, I opt to book an expensive Qatar airline ticket, with a 24 hour full-refund guarantee window. This better work, because the ticket's worth two months of my spendings.

iconic last night

Delhi is as dirty, stinky and smog-pressed, as only Delhi can be.

I stay in the cheapest, dingiest hotel by the train station; I don't care about that at all. The manager doesn't want to let me in, since my visa is about to expire, but I refuse to let him refuse me. Eventually he settles for promise of seeing the flight reservation. Indian are still scared to death from the police. Rightfully so, I think.

After few rounds of trying honesty when dealing with offices, I can peacefully regress again to lying, twisting the truth and denying everything as every other wise citizen of our world.

cheat sheet if you ever go gift hunting in India

Leaving out of Delhi, I've reaffirmed my newly acquired PTSD: don't look people on the street in the eyes, ever. The second you do, you become a prey and they'll harass you to no end. Look in the gutters, at least a rat won't run up your leg in search of a bite.

I furthermore firmly believe that pedestrians should be allowed by law, nay required by law, to carry a vuvuzela or other some such equally outspoken device.

I find it to be extremely unfair that we have no way of talking back to all the chatty vehicles cruising the streets on which we so brotherly mingle. It'd double up as a great tell-off to all the touts and hawkers as nothing says no as eloquently as few vuvuzela blows in the face. Lastly I hope that someone picks up my t-shirt design and spreads it far and wide. I'll happily forfeit all profits in exchange for half a dozen samples in my size.

So long, 🇮🇳.

or is it? will I depart? we'll find out tomorrow...

PS.: Nothing personal India, I look forward to my next visit!

PPS.: Wix is broken, pictures back in order hopefully asap.

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