In 2004 when I was working as a freelance computer programmer, one of my regular clients Leo Van Opstal became a good friend. He had recently shifted from Australia to his native country, the Netherlands. I had never been abroad so a visit to the Netherlands was quite tempting. Leo was happy to invite me as he had a large accommodation where I could stay. Getting visa was an issue for a single male freelancer from India. The visa officer at Netherlands embassy called back to Leo and on his personal guarantee issued my visa. I was required to report at the nearest police station in the Netherlands within 48 hours of arrival. I also had to report back at the embassy in India after my return.
My tickets were by British Airways and the route was New Delhi - London - Amsterdam. I was quite excited on the day of departure. Alas! No one told me that United Kingdom had recently introduced a transit visa, which meant that even if you had a connecting flight you required a visa from a U.K. Embassy. I was given this news at the British Airways check-in counter, IGI airport . I took it in my stride or at least I made others believe so.
I was told that the U.K. transit visa was just a formality and it would only take a day. Next day I went to the British Embassy and submitted my visa application. It was Thursday so I expected to get back my passport with visa on Friday. On Friday, I was informed that I had been called in for an interview on Tuesday. That was very annoying. All I wanted to do was to catch a connecting flight from London and they were calling me for an interview. I think it was more because of the resentment than the agony of the long wait that I withdrew my passport. I cancelled the British Airways ticket and booked with the KLM airlines which had a direct flight to Amsterdam. Now I wonder, if am ever going to get a U.K. visa at all ;)
This time when I went to the airport the feeling of joy was replaced by apprehension. Thankfully there were no more surprises for me. The in-flight Dutch crew did not seem too happy. Some passengers had vomited on the floor so can't blame them.
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