KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
We arrived back in Mumbai with just a little time to spare to have the dental work finished. We planned to break up our journey to Hanoi with a couple of days in Bangkok. We hadn’t been to Thailand in three long years and I was missing those terrific Thai massages.
Kusum had been waiting for our return with yet more sweet and savory dishes for us to enjoy. I loved all the eating in both Mumbai and Patna, but we weren’t getting any exercise at all and my waistline was beginning to expand. Oh no! I knew we would get some walking in during our time in Bangkok, but I also know that Raj and Vy weren’t keen on hoofing it, so I should have been taking smaller portions of the delicious Indian food instead of eating it like I’d never be back again for more.
While we were away in Patna, the technicians had finished making my new crowns and all that was left was for me to visit Ravi’s clinic once again for him to cement them in. It was a quick process and we were both rather pleased with the result. I’d recommend his work to anyone, though those people who haven’t been to India before might find the getting to his clinic culture shock extraordinaire!
We managed to squeeze in a couple of visits with our niece Kajal and her family. It was great to spend some time with her new daughter Midushi, already walking, and reacquaint ourselves with her older child Parth. We have been in India when he was born four years earlier, and they had travelled to Victoria to visit us when he was 18 months old.
The real excitement came when it was time for us to leave India and head to Vietnam to meet up with Raj and Vy in Hanoi. We decided we wanted plenty of time at the airport so we arrived more than three hours before our departure time. We checked in with Thai Airways and then made our way towards the Immigration counters. We were directed to different agents and I had my passport processed very quickly, with no questions at all. I walked a little ways off and waited for Anil to join me, but he had ended up in a much slower-moving line and it took a long time for him to get to the desk.
I could see the immigration agent study Anil’s passport with great care, and then look at his screen with intense interest. There seemed to be something amiss, but I couldn’t imagine what it was. He poured over each and every one of the pages in his passport, and studied all the stamps for the comings and goings we had made. He finally consulted a senior agent and they had a long discussion about what was listed on the computer screen. I felt really sorry for the people waiting in line behind Anil.
Finally, the agent called Anil to the side and told him he had to come with him to an office. I joined them and we were ushered into the office of the Immigration Supervisor. The two men poured over Anil’s passport and a printout of the screen information and then finally we were told that Anil’s name was on a ‘no-fly’ list. We were astounded! We could never have imagined that we would have trouble getting OUT of India. Getting a visa to get INTO India can be a real ordeal, but this was ridiculous.
Anil knows that it is very important in such situations not to lose your cool, and we could see that the supervisor respected Anil’s calm demeanor. He was not allowed to tell us what the problem was, but assured us that he thought it could be sorted out before our flight was scheduled to leave. He then looked us straight in the eye and said it was a good thing we had come so very early, otherwise, we probably wouldn’t be leaving on time.
We were invited to sit on chairs in the large office and after what seemed like forever, the supervisor stood up and handed Anil his passport. No explanations, nothing. He did say we might want to look at some obscure website to see if we could find any answers there. Unlikely.
Our current five-year visas are due to expire this summer, we have no idea if there will be a problem getting new visas. Anil gets so fed up with the whole process that he says he’s reluctant to return to India. That’s not an option either, not with almost his entire extended family living there. For the time being, we were just happy to get on the plane, even though it was an over-night flight. It was a relief to get to Bangkok and have no issues whatsoever entering the country, Canadians do not require a visa for a 30-day stay and we were only planning on a two-day layover.