Daily Archives: October 11, 2013

Obese Bike Gang

After a long day of getting miscellaneous errands done (Sajjads bank gig and my problems with the officials) we went bike shopping with Sajjad and he found one to his liking. Happily we returned some stuff to the apartment before heading out on a cruise in the Pune evening. I had forgotten how great it is to get around on a bike, especially when scouting new areas.

So we pedaled around some before heading to Nukkad. To our hungry delight we noticed that their evening special was a Unlimited Dinner, in other words an all you can eat three-meal set that ends when you say: enough! We have both displayed good appetite so this was a challenge we took with pleasure, and started with having two sets of appetizers.

The place and service was very nice, we sat there for a long time and talked while over-eating. After the last scoops of ice cream dessert we stumbled out to our bikes and went back to the towers via a couple of spontaneous places: among them some kind of religious festival with lots of music and dancing. Sajjad said something about the night when god can go to sleep because man will watch over him, but the food that was up to my ears was affecting my hearing.

The workout offered by taking bike for a spin felt good; I tried wheelies, jumps, maxing the speed and all the other stuff that 32 year olds do. Good fun!

Oh, and we spotted a cow with five legs. Cool or creepy, you be the judge of that.

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FRO – Part 1: You Shall Not Pass

All foreigners who come here on an employment or business visa need to register at the Foreign Registration Office. This should be done within 14 days of arrival, so it was time for me to do so as well. Sajjads visit to the bank, however, gave me a gut feeling that this wasn’t going to be too simple.

The FRO is physically in the local police station. The tiny gate in the high wall had a surprisingly strict “Foreigners only”-sign above it. The courtyard inside had a desk, and behind it a guard who didn’t seem too happy about his work. He expressed, in no unclear terms, that my backpack was not going inside. I told him it’s full of documents that I’m going to need to present to the FRO. His response was that only the necessary documentation is allowed inside.

Now, I admit I can sometimes sound like a smartass, but this time I wasn’t even trying, when I asked: do you have a list of the necessary documentation? I was genuinely interested, because I didn’t know what I need to present inside. I even had a copy of our rental contract with me if they needed to know I was actually living somewhere.

The guard wasn’t too happy about my query, told me angrily to take whatever documentation I had in the file – and to watch my language. The backpack I gave to Sajjad, who was waiting by the gate.

The bustle inside was pretty much as chaotic as you would expect a local government office to be, packed with foreigners trying to get their papers done so they can get the hell out, and clerks not too interested in much at all.

My visit, however, was a very short one. Apparently I have not kept myself sufficiently informed, since the procedure I have yet to follow is the following:

  • fill out the online form (but you have to find it first)
  • take a new set of passport photos (these won’t do since the background is not light)
  • scan all the necessary documents to PDF (you need to figure out what the necessary documents are first)
  • complete the form, along with uploading the PDF:s and a scan of the photo
  • arrange a meeting with the FRO
  • get a verification certification from the Police Station (I have no idea what this is or which forms I need to fill out to get it from wherever, whenever)
  • go to the FRO at the agreed time, along with the printed out application form, passport photos, verification certification and any other documentation you see might be relevant to whatever you’re trying to do

So I walked out, and as I was exiting the gate, I gave the guard a slight smile.

Now I have some serious paperwork to do.

Note To Aspiring Bankrobbers

Lunch Hour

Sajjad had some business to conduct at the bank next to Good Luck Café, so we went there this afternoon. During my visit two things struck me that aspiring bankrobbers should be aware of:

  1. Don’t bother coming during lunch hour because no one will be there to hand over the money.
  2. The guards carry serious firepower in the form of double-barreled shotguns.

We had to wait for a while before the ladies came back from lunch. Then, because here superfluous paperwork is a big hit, Sajjad had to produce an additional hand-written request for getting a bank statement. When, a long while later, everything had been processed and stamped, we ran into some trouble: they wanted to charge 40 Rs per printed sheet. We had no idea how many sheets there was going to be. So after some more thinking they decided to print the report on a printer that is located outside the office. This way the costs would be minimized, which is nice.

However, this also meant that Sajjad would have to come back the following day. Thank you, come again.