The day I travel to Pune, Maharashtra, India to start my 2 year assignment. Is everything ready? I suspect not. But time to go regardless; whatever remains to be settled will have to be done in India.
Here’s one thing I have learned in the months of preparation for this assignment: The government of India loves photographs. Photographs of you, that is: passport-sized, in sets of 3 for most every interaction you will have. Want to move into your apartment? You need to file your “C Form”, one copy for you and everyone in your family, together with 3 pictures of everyone. Want to open a bank account? 3 pictures. Register as a foreigner? 3 pictures. Get a cell phone? Yes, 3 pictures. And this is all in addition to endless photocopies of your passport, visa, driver’s license, marriage license and more. I would someday love to visit the master photo vaults – which I assume *must* exist – where spectacled clerks use tweezers to place each submitted photo into its government-mandated album.
Anyway, a bit of advice #1 for anyone considering a foreign posting: Get a scanner. Mine is a ScanJet G4050. I got this about a year and a half ago to scan a large box of photos and negatives from the 80s and 90s. Here’s one of my favorites, a picture from 1991 scanned from a negative:
Back to the scanner – I had to capture a great many documents: diplomas, birth certificates, driver’s licenses, utility bills and more. If I had to go off to a copy shop every time one or another of these was requested, I’d never get to India. But once everything is scanned you can easily fire off emails with PDFs in response to each next request.
My suitcases are half packed … need to go finish that. Then its printing out last minute forms, copying files to an external USB drive, filling out the manifest for my air shipment of goods, and a few other odds and ends.
I’ll leave you all with some music from the 80s, by a band I enjoyed then and still do, The The:
Surely a change indeed. Next post will be from my new home. Namaste.