Today I went to the Consulate General of India (Toronto) to get a travel visa. I had my passport with me, my vaccination record, my birth certificate and my travel bookings. The on-line information said that people had to apply in person. Still, I had this niggling little feeling that I should have phoned first.
Sure enough. When I got there, they insisted I go away again and apply for the visa on-line, then print out the result and bring it back — in person.
The Consulate General of India (Toronto) is about 1/2 hour from my place by transit, so when they directed me to a nearby Staples, I took the advice. I went to Staples and waited in line for another half hour for the one rentable computer (someone else was also applying for a travel visa to India). When it was finally my turn, I input two pages of data (father’s name, place of birth; mother’s name, place of birth; religion; passport number, etc etc etc), saving as I went. At the end of Page 2, the document went BLINK and everything disappeared. Everything from Page 1 was also gone.
I came home.
I figure that many things about India are going to drive my obsessive, goal-oriented, time-conserving Western approach to life around the bend and I should just start to get used to it — so I only threw a small fit, and only when the computer at Staples refused to print my receipt.
I think the Consulate General of India (Toronto) should install a couple of computers with internet access and charge for their use, thereby saving applicants from having to walk over to Staples and pay them.
I have my vaccinations and am starting to deal with the details I didn’t take care of last winter when I made my basic travel arrangements. I am getting very excited.