Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Matter Of Concern...

At the check-in counter of Chatrapathi Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai, I was appalled by the security grill I was subjected to. First of all the lady over there was surprised by the fact that I was travelling on B1!!! What the heck? Secondly she was even more stupefied by the fact that I was transiting via america to a country called Mexico. She started asking typical questions like...How many checkin and carryon baggages do I have? From where you're coming? Where are you heading to? What does my baggage contain? If someone has given something to carry apart from what I've packed? If I've bought something at the duty free? If the baggage has been opened since I packed?

The time she took to scrutinize my American visa was enough for me to actually finish this write-up. Probably because the field 'Place of Issue' contained Monterrey and she was wondering where in this whole India was Monterrey. She then asked me the visa for entering Mexico. I showed her my FM3 whose Spanish text made her head reel with chaos of confusion. She didn't know what to say, she asked me to wait a minute till she checks with her boss. She then crossed the demarcation belts and spoke with her boss showing the document and pointing at me. They both came and asked me for the proof of my working in Mexico, I told them it's the one they have in their hand, the green coloured FM3 document. He asked me for something more, I handed over my company's ID badge. He asked me for appointment letter, I said I don't have. After a brief scrutiny of my ID badge, he was in a state of absolute perplexity...there was one card of my company, another of my customer, a third card below the badge which gives access when flashed across the door. He asked me what each of those cards were and then he asked how long is my work permit valid? I had to translate the Spanish sentences and show him the date of expiry. He then asked me that the badge I have has an address of Indian company, how come I was working in Mexico? I had to tell him the whole history of me getting transferred to Mexico. The whole team went discussed something in isolation holding my passport, FM3 and ID badge; finally came upto me and said that I can checkin my baggages.

This is the kind of formidable and profound security check that happens when one is JUST TRANSITING america.

After spending next 16 painful hours in the flight, I reach the so called, dreamland, america. At the immigration counter in Newark airport, nobody even cared to ask for any document that I possessed to enter Mexico and the same happened in Houston airport too. So technically I could have entered Mexico without any visa and got stranded in the airport of Mexico. It's the height of being selfish and selfcentered. Every damn country on this planet should scrupulously do the security check before sending their citizens to america, but america does not give slightest damn to people visiting other countries.

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