Friday, October 14, 2011

People Are People

This post comes as an apology for the lambasting post I did on the Netherlands Government Process. I was wrong to think that in a country of process and papers, smiles couldn’t do magic. A week was left for my Paris trip and my residence permit was yet to come. So I decided to drop by the immigrations building on Saptami morning. It’s supposed to be auspicious!  

Reception Lady: “Have you got an appointment for collecting your card?”
Me: “Ummm..not yet. Can I please talk to someone regarding the card? It is delayed quite a lot”
Lady: “It takes 3 months at times. Anyways you can go in and speak to the lady at the counter.”
Me : “Thanks Thanks”

Counter Lady: “Your card has been sent on mail to us on Friday.”
Me : “Oh so it should be here by tomorrow and I can collect it around Wednesday?”
Counter Lady: “I am afraid that not possible as it will come and then take time to generate your letter, then post it to you and then you can maybe get it next week.”
Me : “Please can’t you do something to speed it up? Please I want to travel this weekend. Please.”
Counter Lady: “Give me some time. I speak to my colleague.”

I sat down and kept thinking “She can’t do anything. She is just the lady at the counter who gives you a ticker to speak to the officials.” It meant again cancelling the Paris tickets. The money, the planning, the effort- all to waste.

There she is coming towards me.
Counter Lady: “My colleague said you can come on Wednesday and collect the card. You don’t need the letter.”
Me : “Reaaaallly? Thank you so much. I’ll be here on Wednesday same time.”

Two days I keep wondering what’ll happen on Wednesday. Can they be so good to jump the process for me? Wednesday comes and I rush to the Immigrations Office again. It is Nabami today.

Reception Lady: “Have you got an appointment for collecting your card?”
Me: “Yes”
Reception Lady: “Passport please”
Reception Lady:”Ok you may go in”

I walk in to find that the lady at the counter is not there. I stand there mustering up the courage to bear the crash. Then she comes and says “How may I help you?”
Me: “I came on Monday. You said I could collect my card today.”
Counter Lady : “Can I see your papers?”
Me : “Here they are. You told me I need not wait for the letter”
Counter Lady: “Oh Yes Yes! Let me check if it is here.”

She disappears inside. I sit there praying and asking God to prioritize my residence permit card above everything else in the world. She comes out grins at me and shows me thumbs up! I could have run to her and hugged her right then if it wasn’t inside the Dutch Immigrations Building. After few minutes, I am handed my card and I just can’t stop grinning.

This small incident and many others which I see here every day makes me feel, people aren’t really so different.

A kid drops her ice cream and bursts out crying. The father runs up to the child, wipes the tears, picks him up in his lap and calms him.

A mother sits in the train and takes small bites of an apple. Takes the bite out of her mouth and gives it to her kid who doesn’t yet have teeth.

An old man pushes the wheel chair of his wife. They go up to an ice cream shop. Standing outside in the autumn sun, the man enjoys his ice cream, while the woman sits in her wheel chair and enjoys hers.

I see love. I see friendship. I see family. I see Western Culture is not that different! :) 


  1. It seems NL has started to like u a lot in return too ! :D

  2. so sweet !!
    specially d last part :)