you're travelling to the indian subcontinent in a little over 48 hours. you don't have the required travel documents, specifically a visa, yet since the indian consulate wasn't in town until yesterday and the other option was to ship documents (or yourself) to the nearest permanent consulate office nearly 700 kilometers away.
of course, you forgot to go yesterday due to over-enjoying the morning after attending a wonderful of la cenerentola the night before at the opera house. fortunately the consulate is in town for one more day.
you go to the center where they held court yesterday first thing in the morning only to find the doors locked. concerned, you phone the permanent offices and they too are closed. nobody answers the other phone numbers you have and most of the voice mail boxes are full and not accepting more messages.
you have little other option other than to wait and see if you get lucky. so you leave to get some breakfast and come back. no love. you eventually go for lunch and return. still no love. at 14:40 a couple of men arrive and open the doors to the center. you inquire where there visa proceedings are being held, if at all, and they inform you that they were moved to the ex-serviceman's association offices for the day. they don't have an address nor a phone number but do have some vague directions: "it's by the nortel building in the north east." they also say that they'll probably be there until 16:00, leaving you with well over an hour.
getting in your car you phone directory assistance and they help you find both the full name of the offices ("the indian ex-serviceman's association") as well as the phone number and address. while looking up the address on a map from the glove compartment you phone the number and to confirm when they will be there till. adrenaline kicks in big time as they inform you they are there until 15:00 which is now only 15 minutes away. you're earlier thoughts about jumping on an airplane for a day trip to the permanent offices on monday morning starts seeming like a possibility again.
17 minutes later you arrive with your stomach in knots having raced down a series of highways before turning into a low-slung commercial area in the north east of the city. as you enter the office unit you're greeted by the sight of a large waiting room full of people waiting patiently. you go up to the front of the room and speak with a man who is managing the queueing process. he informs you they are no longer giving out the numbered chits used to organize the crowd. you patiently but eagerly explain how you are leaving in two days, that people are expecting you, etc... apparently you do a decent job of this as they not only allow you to join the line but put you at the head of it, sans-number.
the visa situation is finally (and for the first time all day) starting to look good.
until you go upstairs for the interview and as you present your papers, photos and supporting documentation they want more. in specific, something from the company you work for saying they are sending you. of course, this isn't how it works for you: you're a contractor and the company who is your primary client isn't directly involved in sending you to this event. the bureaucrats still want something like this, however. you decide the best thing to do is go home and scour the emails you saved for something that might look like an official "we're sending you" message.
you race back home (a 20-25 minute drive) and start printing out emails, conference schedules, etc. armed with another 30 pages of supporting information you pack up your laptop as well just in case and head back to the ex-serviceman's association headquarters. it's now evening.
when you arrive you are pointed upstairs almost immediately and the interview process starts again from where you left off over an hour ago. you start presenting the printed emails detailing what each one is. when you get to the one showing the approval for travel funding the interviewer smiles, staples it to the visa application form, says something in a language you don't understand to someone at another table who seems to nod an approval back. the interviewer starts filling out a payment receipt, asks for your $77 and that you're visa will be ready in 1-2 hours.
you celebrate by eating at a great little south indian restaurant around the corner, after which you return. as you enter one of the workers approaches and says, "he is coming down with your visa right now." finally your timing is working again as a box is brought down the stairs from the offices on the second floor and you walk to the front of the room and collect your visa.
back in your car with visa in hand you exhale a sigh of relief. now you just have to hope your connecting flights work out the day after next as they are uncomfortably close together.
this was how i spent my sunday yesterday. i look forward to seeing everyone in bangalore later this week for foss.in, but i have to admit i hate dealing with the details of travel.