August 2006 in Bangalore through the eyes of an Englishman|
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31/8/2006 - True to Course|
Running true to course, the difficulties persisted. We were blacked-out on communications until Tuesday, then Adia got a pre-paid SIM card in Dar-es-Salaam, and phoned me to tell me there were papers the Indian Embassy needed to process her visa application that she didn't have. She'd been unaware of this because the first time she'd done it had been on a scholarship, and the requirements were different.
I took myself off home and found the things, then made many abortive attempts to fax them to the embassy. In the end we gave in for the day. The following morning Adia found a commercial place that handled faxes, and I sent them there with only one failure and repeat. She took them to the embassy, and the visa was cleared, but she could not get the papers until the next day because their power was out. Today - Thursday - she finally had them in hand, and then had to kill the rest of the day and evening before her flight up country early next day.
27/8/2006 - Mopping Up|
At the beginning of the week, Adia still had her apartment in Frazertown, so the next hurdle was to clear that out and get rid of her furniture etc. I was still pretty useless because of the project at work, so Florence gave her a hand. She sold her bed, wardrobe cupboard, fridge, and kitchen gear, kept some other stuff at Florence's house, and moved the rest of her clothes and other personal possessions to Cambridge Road.
It was the weekend in no time. On Saturday we went on a shopping trip to satisfy the orders that family members had placed to be taken back to Tanzania. Her sister wanted a sound system, and her mother a radio for her restaurant, and a supply of her blood pressure medication. All of these things are cheaper to buy here than in Tanzania. The medications were left to get in the morning, when we had to do an auto tour of northern Bangalore to find a pharmacy that had them and would sell them without a prescription. Then it was sitting on suitcases time. They zipped up with difficulty. We went to the airport at about midnight for a flight to leave at three in the morning. They've improved the place a little bit since my last visit, so that the check-in is now on the ground floor, and accompanying visitors have slightly better access to the passenger. Some liquid things had to be removed from the bulging suitcases, and sent home with me, and she had excess baggage, but generally it didn't go too badly.
We said our farewells over the fence then took our separate ways; Adia off to Dar-es-Salaam via Mumbai; me to a lonely bed.
21/8/2006 - Unraveled|
It got worse. The entrance examinations were not going to be held until after Adia's already-extended visa expired, so her existing college was out of the question. We spent half the week frantically searching for another masters business law course, or for an MBA course that still had places left. Both of these were like hens teeth.
To compound the stress level, Adia had started taking the pill - the combo variety - earlier in the month, and had then proceeded to bleed for about 16 days solid. Eventually we went to see Punita again, and she took her off it. I was very busy at work with a short time scale project at work, daily conference calls etc. It was a pretty testing week.
Eventually we found a college placements tout who had a National Law School place up his sleeve for a price - the usual corruption game. I raided my reserves, and paid up, and by today Adia had the official piece of Bangalore University paper in her hand that said she was enrolled on a course, and could therefore go back to Tanzania, get a fresh visa, and return.
12/8/2006 - More Uncertainty|
Once Adia had got the visa extension sorted out she went back to the college to confirm the start date of the course in September so that she could decide on exactly when she'd go back to Tanzania, and for how long. There was more bad news. The college has been slated to move to the main Bangalore University Campus southeast of the city for some time, but there was no firm date. Now it turned out that the move had suddenly become imminent, and the entrance examinations had been postponed, with as yet, no firm date. We went into town, and bought an up-to-date atlas of the city to find out where she would be studying, and to help us decide if we would have to move, and if so where to.
By now we'd pretty much decided that we would move anyway. Adia is OK at the Cambridge Road apartment, but both of us would like to find a place that we would choose together. This can be smaller and less fancy, and hopefully cheaper, so we put more of our money into savings. However we'd been thinking of somewhere to the north of the city - Frazertown or Cookestown - not the southeast.
In the evening we went to Ebony for the birthday party of Florence's friend Gerd. We were outdoors under an awning, and it rained quire heavily, and the food was nothing special, but everyone was in quite good spirits.
6/8/2006 - Too Early|
Kapilla called on the Sunday morning to give us a heads up about an event that was happening that afternoon. It was a craft fair that was to happen at a bar/restaurant called Pebble in the Palace Grounds area. We thought we would give it a go.
After a fair amount of time touring round in a auto we eventually found it at about 2:00pm. Kapilla and Neel were there, at their catering stand, selling momos and such, but overall it was pretty quiet. There were only about 5 other stands, and frankly they weren't that impressive. The place was actually quite pleasant though. We sat in the bar for a while, and it turned out that it is partly owned by an English guy who I had met before. There was not much going on though, so we left at about 3:30.
Kapilla phoned us again in the evening to tell us that we had missed out. The whole Bangalore in-crowd had turned up later - about 300 people, and the place had been hot. However what was supposed to have been a recurring event was now cancelled. Because of the number who turned up our dear Police Commissioner had banned it!
5/8/2006 - More Red Tape|
The first week in August, Adia had a bit of a setback with her law college. For some reason they have decided to treat her as a foreign student in terms of payment - she has to pay the full whack. But when it comes to prerequisites, they treat her like an Indian student, so they are requiring her to take an entrance examination on Aug 21 for the masters course. But she did not have enough time left on her student visa to do this. Consequently she had to get a visa extension, and that involved the whole tedious process - police good conduct report, lots of form filling, financial affidavit - the whole nine yards. The guy at the FRO she has to deal with was non too helpful either. She spent hours at her scholarship office getting various bits of paper, at the FRO, and chasing round town to get things notarised.
Midweek she was close to despair, but she's pretty stubborn when it comes to things that are important to her future, so she stuck at it. Her landlady's daughter gave her the affidavit, which was a pretty big deal at the time, and by the end of the week she'd got an extension to the end of August. Then she's going home to see her family for a couple of weeks, and will get a fresh student visa there. I'm going to try for a week in England while she is in Tanzania, but that's looking dubious from a work point of view.
To make matters worse, a stone fell out of Adia's ring, and was lost. She was upset about it, I was pissed! So today - Saturday - we went back to the shop to complain. The man said it was not supposed to be a ring for everyday wear, at which point I was even more pissed. I wanted to know why nobody had mentioned that when we bought it. Anyway, they were quite happy to take it back in exchange for another more robust one. It cost me some more, but at the end of the day I was quite happy with the outcome.
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