The Republic of India has officially granted Peter Fallow the privilege of entrance and exit, in six-month installments, for the next ten years.
I am amazed at the speed at which the Consulate General of India processed the visa application. The official literature stated that processing took five to ten business days, but I assumed that was an optimistic estimate – an "aspirational" rule, as the lawyers say. It took less than one week.
I am amazed at the beauty of the visa. The full-page sticker is filled with ornate rotogravure in multiple colors: orange, purple, yellow, green and light blue on a white background. The wheel that appears in blue on the Indian flag, called the Ashoka’s dharma chakra, is engraved in yellow on the visa. The Consulate General affixed its seal in dark blue. A consular officer signed the visa in green ink, taking care that the signature extended onto the passport page itself to prevent tampering.
I am amazed that India will allow almost any U.S. citizen to bum around the country for ten years. It’s an enlightened, open-minded, forward-thinking policy which must be reaping dividends in investment, development and additional tourism. It’s something that China should consider when reviewing its stingy policy of 30-day tourist visas.
And I am amazed that India would grant the 10-year visa to me
, what with my official plan to eat, drink and cavort from one end of the sub-continent to the other. Now without time constraints!