10th December 2014 – Kolkata, India
Today I found, that my story was unique, and my passport was a possible and likely foe in this tale written from the crypt. But then, my passport is only a part of my identity, the pages on it define me more. So, sometimes, its only me who can write my own script.
I was finally called for a Visa interview today, at the French Consulate in Kolkata. Pretty unusual, since most applicants never had to go for an interview. But hey, my case was unique.
Or that is how the interviewer felt. We had a 30 minute discussion about why I quit my job, why I am not working when I have a master education and considerable work experience, why I was travelling for a whole year, and the whole extent of my travel plans. He was reluctant to accept my story, since backpacking is yet to become popular in India. He even stated that this was very unusual, because he has never received an application like this in his 2 years working at the consulate.
I didn’t lie. I showed him my account to prove that I had enough money to cover me while I travel. I had flights booked going into Paris, and leaving from Budapest in May. I even showed him my blog to let him know that I have been doing this for 6 months now. At the end of it all, he asked me to give one damning piece of evidence on how I can convince him that I am not travelling to France to look for a job. I only had my passport as a refuge, which was less than 2 years old. In less than 18 months, I had international visa stamps from 21 different countries. If this doesn’t prove that my sole intention was travel, nothing else will.
I think he was sold. He wished me the best of luck, and told me that I will know the result by the next day. He even gave me tips for what to see in Paris and Vienna, where he lived for a few years.
I proceeded to the St. Paul’s cathedral to take some pictures. And I am sure I said a silent prayer sometime during my stint there.