“Are you a Freedom Fighter?” – My Visa Interrogation

Getting into another country, never an easy thing is it? Well I arrogantly thought that a well-worn traveller like me (ha!) could do it no time. I was wrong, so very wrong. My travelling arrogance was my downfall.

I travelled down to London with a bag full of passports and visa forms (my two travelling companions and my own) holding onto them for dear life as I feared that some ragger-muffin might at anytime spring from the metaphorical darkness and steal them. After an hour of struggling and sweating my way through London’s Underground, I arrived at the visa application centre. The first two passports of my companions went through blissfully easy, however, when they got to mine the blissfulness stopped. The desk clerk stopped in her tracks and after pressing a call button on her desk, two men joined her and asked me to step into their office. Every eye in the waiting room was now transfixed on me as I was led into privacy, I walked by a family on the way and the mother whispered, “I bet he’s one of them terrorists”.

The small empty room was void of any of the posters and music that filled the comfortable waiting room, the only thing that occupied this room were three chairs and a small black desk. I sat down and an eerie silence followed for what seemed a lifetime as the two men flicked through my passport and visa form. I could feel my legs trembling and I attempted to steady them with my hand in fear that it might give the illusion of guilt. One of the men left the room and the other finally broke the silence “my colleague will be one moment, James.” I found the use of my first name mighty unsettling as if I was infamous among the visa police.

Eventually, the other man re-entered with a handful of printed pages, he swiftly sat down and sternly asked, “Mr Dunn, are you a freedom fighter?” His eyes constantly scanned my entire body as he spoke. In my panicked state the only response I could muster was a small high-pitched giggle that would have made a mouse look manly. They obviously didn’t enjoy my giggling as they asked the same question again,
“No. No of course not” I answered managing a more mature response.
“Have you been a member of Free Tibet organisations in the past Mr Dunn?” the other man spoke up, his Indian accent far thicker and his voice sterner than the other’s.
“Well yes I have but…”
“So you are a freedom fighter” he quickly interrupted
Words failed me at this point I could feel sweat slide down my back and I shifted uncomfortably in the small hard seat, as it appeared as if I had been cornered argumentatively.
“I don’t intend to cause civil unrest, I merely want to see my friends in McLeod Ganj…”
“And write a book” The man once again interrupted me.
The men then stopped talking and looked down at the printed pages in front of them, which I have now concluded, must have been my blog. They then got up and left asking me to stay seated, their voices far softer than ever before. Ten minutes past and I sat frozen in that seat until a fair-haired woman poked her head round the door smiling,
“Mr Dunn?” she asked opening the door wide.
“Yes” I answered, my voice still quivering after the stress.
“You can go, it was just a routine check nothing to worry about” I breathed a huge sigh of relief as my muscles relaxed and I got out of that dreadful seat and gathered what was left of my nerves. I passed the two men on my way out and they both smiled widely at me, their faces completely different from in the room as if they were having a laugh at my bladders expense.

So Visas are sent off, all I can do now is keep checking their status online and hope that no visa police come and take me away in the night for being a freedom fighter.

This post is a carry on from an early post click here for the link

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