Generally, the more you do something the better you become at it. As you repeat things time and again, it becomes easier for you to do, and you can do it faster. That is the idea any way. If you are good at something it makes sense that you should do it, and keep doing it.
This is possibly why I am now filling in visa applications for the Chennai Challenge team. I have done it before, I know what the questions will be, I know what they mean. I wish i could say that it is a job that brings me joy, except it doesn’t really, it is a bit of a chore. Also, in real terms I haven’t actually done this very often. There seems to be subtle and not so subtle changes to the process every so often, although this year it is the same as the last. The thing that doesn’t ever change, is that you have to fill in quite a lot of information in order to get your visa. This wonderful bureaucracy that has to be followed. In my experience there is always a lot of bureaucracy in India, maybe a a little imprint left from the days of Empire.
The strange thing is, as awkward as it can be at times, and also frustrating and bemusing, I sort of like Indian bureaucracy. I can’t really explain why, I feel it it just one of those Indian things that makes modern India, India. There are heaps of things about India that I love that are a bit odd, or some times may seem a bit outdated. I just love the country and all of it’s little idiosyncrasies.
However, I have also found a brilliant thing that most of us will not appreciate is there. The British passport is wonderful. And my favorite part is the inside front cover, where you have the passport note:
Her Britannic Majesty‘s Secretary of State Requests and requires in the Name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.
The fact that I am calling on the name of the Queen in order to have safe passage is fabulous. You could go in to a study on the power of names, just from this. You could question why it is written only in English, which is potentially useless in foreign parts. You could question if it is any help at all, if you try to wave this at someone who is offering hindrance to your journey. But I just love this quirky little part of the British passport. I to my knowledge, no other country puts a similar statement in, so it is uniquely British. The uniquely British thing is important, not for some jingoistic reason, but because I think it is good to celebrate those things that make countries unique. And so, even though bureaucracy is not unique to India, I like the way it it is very much done in an Indian way. Now, back to the visas, and reveling in the process!