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My H1B Visa stamping Saga - Part I

Got lost in a new city before an important meeting!

My H1B visa was approved in December 2009 and finally, I got to get it stamped on 18th May 2010. I had arranged all documents by last Thursday and booked air tickets to Chennai. I had never travelled by air before; it was going to be my first time. 😃

Monday morning I got a call from the cab driver who was lost trying to find me! After around 6-7 call and giving him directions, he finally made it. Travel to airport took nearly 1.5 hours and there was never a boring moment; he was more talkative than I’m.

Once at airport, I didn’t know what to do. I asked at one of the counter outside and the person at the counter asked me to get in first! I wasn’t not even inside the airport. After the first security check, I went directly to the Kingfisher counter which I had spotted from outside.

Lady at the counter asked,

  1. Lady
    ‘Sir, which seat do you prefer?’
  2. Me
    ‘The one next to the pilot’, I replied.
  3. Lady
    ‘That seat is not available sir’
  4. Me
    ‘ok, in that case I do not mind any seat’

She asked me to go upstairs for security check through gate 10. I couldn’t find the gate and just went to and joined a queue and put my bag on the small conveyor belt and stood in the queue to be frisked. Just before the guard asked me to step forward, I read a board which said I should put the cell-phones on the belt too. I dropped my cell on one of the laptop which was going in.

Once at the other side with my bag and cell, I realised where gate 10 was. I was supposed to go to gate 10 only after the security check. The flight had arrived and I had an hour to kill. I had got an SMS from Kingfisher requesting me to come 2 hours before time, duh! I was happy not to heed their request. I had a coffee at the Barista, which I didn’t like; CCD is much better. Finally, they let us through. A bus dropped us near the flight. It was a nice experience esp. when the flight took off. I was staring outside the window and for a moment I felt that we are not moving at all! 😃

The flight landed in Chennai at 11:30AM, I took a cab to Srinagar Colony. Nobody was around other than the caretaker. After getting fresh and realising that there is no food there, I took a walk outside to find some place to eat. I must tell you, it sucked. It is hot as hell outside and I was not able to find any place. At last I found a hotel on Little Mount road and a heavy meal. I came back to guest house and couldn’t help but fall asleep while watching TV.

I had plans to go to City Center and watch ‘How to Tame your Dragon’ at 4:30PM. I had no plans of sleeping in the afternoon in the first place, I woke up just before 4PM and rushed out just find myself in a unknown place, I didn’t even know where the bus stand was. Thankfully, I found a Blue Dart guy and asked him for directions. He was kind enough to drop me to the nearest bus stop. He put me ahead of 21M/G and asked me to board it. It was really nice of him.

I got down right in front of the mall. Visit to INOX was eventful too. I paid 500 Rupees and got a ticket and 180 Rupees back. I was under the impression that they had taken 200 Rupees for the 3D goggles. The person who was giving the goggles asked me for 150 Rupees which was refundable. I went back to the counter and got my 200 Rupees from her and paid 150 Rupees for the goggles and by the time I entered the place it was already more than 10 minutes late.

There was a couple sitting to my right. After I started counting, she said ‘oh. sooo sweeet’ 17 times. I was having corn, missing the sweets, and this person comes to me and says I have taken his seat. In fact I had! During intermission I sat on J15 instead of I15. By the time I came back to I15, I missed a scene where our little hero tames the first dragon. I sighed, ‘fuck man, I missed it’. I got a stare from the sweety and that was the last time I heard ‘Oh, so sweeet’ from her! LOL

The movie was interesting and what followed after was too. I was lost. I took 21G and the bus conductor says it doesn’t go to Srinagar and he asked me to take another 21G after getting down at Mylapur. Two ladies sitting behind giggle, ‘Mylapur - bas mahilaayein rehti hain kya wahan?’ ( ‘only women stay there, is it?’ Mylapur sounds like Mahilapur and in Hindi, Mahila means woman) These women were from Delhi and they were lost as I was.

I got down at Mylapur and asked nearly 15 buses. No bus would go to Srinagar colony. Most of them didn’t even know where it is. One fellow waiting at the bus stop asked me to take 5B bus. Then it hit me, the Blue Dart guy had dropped me some place where I got 21M/G. That’s why no 21M/G goes to Srinagar! I had seen a court near the guest house and asked a bus conductor about it; he asked me to get down at Adyar gate. From there I walked around half a kilometer, past some Defence building, Temple tower, BHEL, fire station, and got 29L bus to Saidapet Court. I asked the conductor of the bus about the name of this place. It was Chinnamalai - near little mount road. I got back to guest house at around 8PM; my room-mate was already back. I got fresh, arranged the documents in order, ironed clothes, booked cab for tomorrow.

Now, as I type this I’m chatting with my room-mate and this is his laptop. He wants to use it for sometime now… time to log off….

I have stamping interview tomorrow morning at 8:30AM. 😃

Thank You!

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