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A smile is like saying hello without any words.


Friday, 6 April 2018

Exit Permit for newborn at FRRO Chennai

Exit Permit for newborn at FRRO Chennai

My baby was born on January 08 in Chennai. I had planned to travel out with him to Australia on March 14. I had 2 months and a bit, to complete his paperwork.  It took 2 weeks for us to get his birth certificate (with a bribe). Australian Citizenship by descent for my baby took about two weeks.  My baby's Australian passport arrived in 10 days. 

All I was left to do, by March 2nd, was to get the exit permit from the Indian authorities. I work in a Consulate and we advise our customers that exit permits could take up to three days, so I was feeling relatively confident that I had lots of time.
As the exit permit process had gone online since the start of the year (2018), I didn't have to go into the office to commence the process. All I had to do was crreate an account, complete the necessary forms and uploade my baby's documents. All this was pretty self explanatory and a reasonably tech savvy person can navigate through it with ease.
However, after this, there is barely any information online on what happens. The only message I got was to wait for further instructions. I waited two days before I heard that they required further documents - this was communicated via sms and email. Once I uploaded the further documents, I was asked to wait again. The next day, I was again requested for a further document whcih I dutifully submitted, but wondered why they had not asked it the first time. The following day (4 days after my initial submission) as I had not heard anything, I decided to physically visit the office to fastrack things. I should mention; they did have a help line number, but that was always busy.
As I was getting ready to leave for the office, I receive a notification to proceed to pay online. Unfortunately, the page hangs during the payment. I login in again and it tells me that the payment is successful.  I also receive a message from my bank that the payment was successful. But then there is no information as to what to do next on the portal.  I decide to go into the office on Friday. 
At the office - The front office staff, make me wait a few minutes, and inform me athat they have not received the payment on their system and ask me to speak to the technical staff. The officer takes my details and asks me to come in the afternoon. He promises to call and update when I explain that I have a newborn and its difficult to come back and forth.  When I return in the afternoon after not getting any calls,  another officer officer is sitting there and I realise nothing has been done.  He explains it is a technical issue being resolved in Delhi and asks me to wait.  Although his answer is not promising, another officer in the room assures me that if the technical problem is not resolved, they can do my exit permit manually in an emergency (which is the day before I travel). I could see that the officers were just coming to grips with the online platform, and were learning from each issue -unfortunately I was the guinea pig.

Susrprisingly though,  on Sunday, I receive a call from an officer informing me that my payment  shows as succesful  on their system and they ask me to come in on Monday to collect the permit - they explain that sometimes there is a lag between the payment and it reflecting on the system. I go to the office on Monday midday, hoping to pick up the permit. However, the front office staff tell me that another online request for further docs will be sent  (travel ticket)  and once I submit it,  the exit permit would be ready in the aftwrnoon at 4pm.  I do as requested and wonder again why they didnt ask for the travel itineraey at the foreset and why they couldn't have things ready without me urging them.

However my resentment turns into relief, at 4pm, when the officers dutifully hand me the exit permit - I spent less than 5 minutes signing and collecting the permit.The other good thing was, my baby did not need to attend - although they gave confusing advice about this.

Overall, I think the online innovation is good -theoritically it should save you from sitting and waiting in government offices. But, practically it took nearly 7 days for me to get my baby's exit pernit and 4 visits to the office. It was also frustrating that the online portal does not give any information on what happens at each stage and how long we should normally wait for a response.  

My advice: Allow as much time as possible if applying for an exit permit - especially in these early days of the online portal being rolled out.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Swathi's love rejection

A tragedy worse than the death of Swathi, is the reason behind it. A young man went to the extent of murdering a girl who rejected his proposal and degraded him. Perhaps, a rejection in itself was probably sufficient to ignite a killing instinct in this psychotic man. However, it could also be that it was the fact that Swathi has cited his career, income, lack of education as a reason to reject him and verbally abused him for having such thoughts.

Love for a person comes naturally. It is not based on social standing, income or caste. In the same way, when you reject someone’s love, spare some thought to the fact that they are a human being. Don’t destroy their confidence, don’t degrade them, and don’t abuse them. Politely reject. Don’t put them down for not having enough education, money, or status. Think about it. How insulting would it be and how frustrated would they feel that it is material things that are standing in the way of love. Of course it doesn’t justify murder. But, it isn’t right either. When rejecting a love proposal, give reasons based on why you can’t love that person. Don’t give reasons why that person is not of a lovable material.


Tuesday, 29 December 2015

My miscarriage liberated me


It made me respect all the women who give birth. All the women who abort their child. All the women who try to become pregnant. All the women who have a miscarriage.

My miscarriage taught me the capabilities of my body. It taught me how to appreciate my resilient body. It awakened me to how much we don’t know. I don’t know why my miscarriage happened.

I was able to own and be more confident in my skin and body. Parts of your body that no one would see, were witnessed by many. There’s no place left for shyness. It also made me salute the doctors and nurses. They do a great job, seeing you at your worst and still smiling.

My miscarriage proved to me that drugs have played a key part in women’s liberation.
 I work in the health industry regulating drugs. The money mindedness of the pharmaceutical sector made me anti-drugs. I would resist taking drugs at all cost. But, only after giving birth to a still born did I understand that drugs have made life so much easier, especially for women.

The amount of women who would have died from child birth has been greatly reduced because of drugs. Without drugs, I could not have given birth to a 5 month still born without surgery. The pain that I felt was also greatly reduced because of drugs.


I am so lucky to have been born in this age and era where drugs are available. What would women in my situation have done 200years ago? 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Why say 'sorry' when you don't need to?



I haven't blogged in ages. Perhaps full time work got the better of me. Or living out of home, got me occupied.

Anyways, I have a message to convey. This is why I am now blogging.

This morning, I walked into my boss's office. As I always do, when interrupting my extremely busy boss, I said 'Sorry [boss's name], can I speak to you'. My boss stopped me and said, 'you do not need to apologise to speak to me. Just say my name and ask if you can speak'.

I agreed. But I also reflected on it. As a person, I probably apologise and say sorry way too often. If someone says excuseme, I would reply 'sorry', and then move out of the way. If some one told me to do something differently, I would say 'sorry', and follow their instructions.

In many social circumstances, by way of politeness we have accustomed ourselves to say sorry. It is actually not necessary. By apologising, we are agreeing that we are in the wrong and conveying our repentence for a past action.

Thinking about it, why on earth would I apologise to my boss to ask her something, when I have to do it anyway. Am I apologising for the interruption, but I am not really sorry.

When we overuse a word, the word loses its significance. One such word is "sorry". Use it sparingly but at the right occasions. It and you will be valued more.

Apologise only when you truly mean it and need it. There are other words in the English vocab.