Trip to the Indian Embassy

This morning I visited the Indian Embassy in DC for a renewal task. I did not prefer driving; the closest metro station was DuPont circle. It was about a mile from the embassy. I decided to take this long walk from the DuPont circle metro station and today’s 60 degree weather made my walk a very pleasant one. Massachusetts Avenue, this is where you will find most of the embassies in DC. You can find various embassies ranging from many new offshoot countries that broke from the former USSR to the big guys like Japan.

The Indian embassy operates from 2 locations. the 1st location is on 21st and Massachusetts, where you will also find the famous Mahatma Gandhi statue Dedicated by President Clinton in the year 2000, when ever I pass this location, I am make sure I stand in front of the Statue just for few seconds. To me, the feeling of being an Indian can be felt standing at this spot. In case you disagree this with me, I would request you take a walk along this road. Yes it does tickle our proud Indian nerve for few seconds. There was no other statue other the one on the circle [round about].

Surprisingly today the traffic was very low on Massachusetts Ave. I walked to 2nd location on the 2500th block, thinking about recent articles on New York Indian Consulate, I slowly walked into the passport/visa section in the basement of the embassy. It was 9.23am, already there were about 10 people waiting. The counter opened at 9.30am, things started to move very fast. Most instructions on visa/passport applications are published in the embassy’s website, and they are really clear and easy to follow. Like they accept only cash and they don’t accept credit or debit cards. As any other embassy would be, here too officers are strict.

There were few foreign nationals who did not bring proper denominations and few other requirements, they were querying the counter officer for every alternate option. The officer at the counter gave a soft sounding but a stern reply stating the rules. However they seemed little bit upset. I could clearly read it that they were not happy about the answers. However I thought to myself, the music these guys just heard was about 1/100th of what we use to hear in US consulate aboard. At least our consulate has a photo vending machine installed in the building; most who have applied for a US visa knows how sticky the officials would be on the photograph size issue, the size is totally a non-world-standard.

I felt the counter officer did the job perfectly and I was happy to see the token numbers move. My turn was called and quickly the counter officer took my papers, she knew exactly what was required, I had got everything ready in place, and the process was over in about 3 minutes. Yes I timed it. As I stepped out I felt as though I was walking back from a visit to Chennai. I started to walk to back to metro admiring the embassies on the right side.

To get into the DuPont circle station you have to go through an escalator, yes so what? What is the problem here? What if this one is among the world’s tallest escalators, it takes about 2 minutes to travel one way on this. Yes metro can appoint an Escalator hostess to serve peanuts and pretzels during the winch ride. Who ever named it as escalator must be a crazy, yes it was actually a standing winch to me, and who ever built did not care about vertigo;

For me traveling on this was a real nightmare because when it comes to “height” coupled with "movement", I am a full blown coward, I stepped on the first moving step thinking what would happen if the speed increases?, but when “the cat closes its eyes the world goes dark”, I closed my eyes like a kid till I reached the destination. If you visit DC make sure you pay a visit to monster escalator. There was an elevator some where in a shady looking corner, I never bothered to check it, because closing my eyes during the escalator travel is better than being mugged early in the morning.

Have a good weekend folks.