Done & Dusted!

The Portuguese Consulate @ Altinho

Alright, I feel up to writing a bit today…came back quite exhausted from yesterday’s escapades at the Consulate, although the experience wasn’t half as bad as it could have been! Thank heaven for small mercies! Also, have a horrible hacking cough with one of those terribly scratchy throats (you know the one, where you wish you could just put your hands right down and scratch out your tonsils? Sorry for the graphic details…but you just have to read them, while I live them, so consider yourself blessed!), that made the day pretty miserable! Still do 😦

I’ll begin where I left off in Not a Fun Day

The power finally came back on after 8 and then it was a mad rush to get showered and wake up the peacefully sleeping munchkin (who otherwise is up at the crack of dawn, but in typical male fashion, was snoring blissfully on the one day when he should have been up!! They start young girls, beware ;-))

I managed to rouse him and Pushpa, my efficient help (God Bless Her!!), dressed him and tried to feed him breakfast which didn’t go down too well!! By this time, the rickshaw was at the door and having spotted it, Ishaan seemed fascinated by the three-wheeled contraption 🙂 It was his first rickshaw ride and he was suspicious at first but excited to be going somewhere so early in the day! So I carted him and myself with overflowing toddler bag in tow (In typical Indian fashion, my Mom had packed food enough for an overnight journey, although we would be back after 4-5 hours, if all went well!), into the rickshaw and off we went, careening a bit (probably from the combined weight of the food and I ;-)) and got to the Consulate soon after 9 am. Of course in typical Goan and dare I say Portuguese fashion, it hadn’t opened yet!!

The Consulate is housed in an old Portuguese-style bungalow on Altinho (hill), with high walls and a tiny lawn, on which when we arrived, was the snaking queue of unfortunate souls who had been waiting for the all-important ‘token number’ since 6 am in the morning, including hubby, who if you remember had been there since 7 am!! Ishaan spotted ‘Papa’ and was thrilled! We played ‘hide & seek’ with him for a while, where he tried to get a glimpse of ‘Papa’ hiding in the swell of strange bodies 😉

After hubby requested them, the security guard, allowed Ishaan & I to go into the waiting rooms (fast filling up) and try to settle down, if such a thing is conceivable with a 2-yr old in tow! The entrance to the waiting room, which I must mention on the off-chance that someone who matters will read this blog, was pathetic! A tiny two-door affair, with one door shut and just the one open, leaving just enough space for a stick-bug (or alternatively a human impersonating a stick-bug) to pass!! Apparently the Portuguese are all stick-people or  haven’t quite come to terms with our ample, fish-fed Goan bodies 😉 It took super human maneuvering and help from a friendly soul as I finally managed to lug Ishaan, the bag and myself through that tiny orifice! Ugh!  Anyway, I snagged a couple of chairs facing the TV (always a life-saver in such situations!) and the loo (unfortunate that!), deposited the bag on the floor and Ishaan on my knee and prepared to wait indefinitely. I must say, Ishaan was pretty well-behaved!! There was an older boy, probably 5 or 6, (also waiting with his parents and seemed interested in patting Ishaan sagely on the head :)), and we chatted wisely about the logistics of getting children to Consulates! I enjoy this bit of motherhood, the way a child is rather like a dog, an excellent ice-breaker 😉 Everyone around smiles benignly at you and the child, provided of course, he/she is not at the moment impersonating a screaming banshee, in which case, the smile becomes pitiful, politely tolerant but quite incapable of hiding the irritation within!! I know, I’ve been there! Remember how all you wanted on that long-distance flight, was to get some shut-eye, but instead were kept up by the constant whining of the toddler a couple of seats away? Uh huh! me too! Thankfully, Ishaan’s first air-trip is still a while away 😛 But I digress…

Well, hubby got in after about 20 minutes with two tokens, 28 and 41, which didn’t seem very promising. But apparently they were two different series and Ishaan’s 28 started at 25, which gave me hope! Should have known better! Number 25, who was the friendly boy from earlier, went in and after 45 minutes, Number 26 still hadn’t been called!! Meanwhile, thankfully for me, Ishaan latched on to Papa and refused to let him sit down! So poor hubby carried him for almost all the time we spent there, wandering about the cramped premises! But, he was good, my boy! No serious howling! An old Bollywood movie was playing on the TV and there were a couple of camel-chases (go figure!) which interested him for a while. Then he went off with Papa while I suffered in silence, watching a way past his prime, paunchy Dharmendra romance Jayaprada in one of those gaudy, sequined dream sequences of yore!! It was both pathetically funny and nostalgic. While I was lost in Bollywood fantasy, hubby had been busy in diplomatic circles! He found a friend, who was eager to help, knowing as he did that hubby is a Portuguese citizen and so privileged, in comparison to the others who were still aspiring! This next part, I’m not proud of, but don’t regret either, given the alternatives! The friend called hubby in out of turn and when informed of Ishaan, who was by now, asleep on my shoulder, helped us out by processing his papers as well 🙂 So Ishaan, was for the second time in one morning, roused out of his sleep to be finger-printed and have his height taken! I don’t get the height part, given that it’s going to change every couple of months! By the time we were done it was past noon and with Ishaan waving and blowing kisses to the by now enamored staff, we made our escape! Within 3 hours of arriving at the Consulate! Not bad at all! And we hadn’t eaten a thing from our bag of goodies either!

So, that was that, and it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined, like most things in life!

On that happy note, I’m off to soothe my aching throat with a fresh hot cuppa…

Oh, did I mention, we have to do this every 5 years until Ishaan is 15…

Until next time then…Peace people 🙂

2 thoughts on “Done & Dusted!

  1. sounds like a nice family outing 😉
    Why does Ishaan need to do this every 5 years? My girlfriend who gave birth 2 months ago has just gone on a short holiday to HongKong with baby in tow..now thats a young traveller!

    1. I doff my hat off to your very brave friend!!! Every 5 years is coz that’s what the Portuguese rule-book says 😉 Guess it’s to record his height and looks 🙂 As far as I know, fingerprints certainly don’t change!

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