Sunday, October 24, 2010

Immegration Office with a Human Face

I was just reading an article in Indian Express - 'Incredible Indian Red Tape' about the Foreigners Regional Registration Office. Nothing surprising about our pointless fascination for papers, particularly notarised (or signed by a Gazetted Officer). But the last line "There is no immigration office with a human face" triggered a memory.

It was 1976 and I had taken a one year post-doc in Helsinki University. The visa was for 3 months at a time. When the three months were getting over, I with a great deal of fear and trepidation went to the immigration office. The lady was so pleasant that I was shocked! Getting the visa renewed was such a pleasant encounter, I just couldn't believe it. Even on the third and final renewal, the staff dealing with me was very pleasant, wondering how I was getting along in Helsinki and said, 'have a pleasant stay and see you again'!

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