For many, freedom is considered a luxury. If you have the right passport, documents and wealth then congratulations the world is your oyster.
I’m sitting on a train off to the ‘Indian Visa and Consular Application Centre’ in Manchester (quite the catchy title), with a folder full of documents and certificates which will hopefully grant me access into India. My head is full of thoughts I feel the need to express:
Firstly, quite how privileged I am. So far throughout my life I have moved freely between countries and continents with no issues. Getting to border control and waving my Swedish passport only to be greeted with a smile and within a few seconds I’d be through. However this is hardly a reality for most.
Applying for an Indian Visa has been pretty strenuous, even with the support from an organisation, Project Trust, who have provided itineraries, employment contracts and registration papers- the thought of which trying to obtain on my own brings tears to my eyes. It has been made more difficult for UK citizens to visit India, a favour that is reciprocated both ways. However, since Sweden is easier to travel to and is perhaps more accepting of foreigners it has meant that my Visa costs £200 less than for my friends from the UK.
Many people are unable to gain access across boarders for reasons out of their control, because of political instability or because they were born in a particular region of the world; unlike myself their purpose isn’t to volunteer and to “find themselves”, instead they are fleeing terrible circumstances. Having then come across my first barrier in travelling overseas, I feel so strongly towards those who simply don’t have the resources or correct information to do so. It is therefore so important to be accepting, patient and respectful to those who have uprooted themselves and migrated from their homes. Unless you have experienced it for yourself then you won’t know how challenging moving country can be.
My train has now arrived at Manchester Piccadilly, I hope I will be able to navigate my way to my visa appointment. The best of luck to me.
Update: Luck didn’t help. I was unsuccessful and my application was rejected, because I wrote my birthplace as the city ‘Malmö’ instead of the parish ‘Möllevången’. Alas, I will redo it online for the fourth time and try again. See you soon again Manchester for another appointment!
Update one week later: After my second appointment, I have finally got my visa!