Friday, October 29, 2010

The "Puja" Police

Last night, DH, a friend and I went out for dinner at one of our favorite local joints. We had taken a taxi and were driving in, just talking. All of a sudden we noticed that the car in front of us was stopped, and was surrounded by a group of local boys, probably homeless children, or something...just being bullies. Mind you these kids weren't police, not trainees even. They were wearing dirty ragged clothes, and looked like they hadn't bathed in a day or two, and were just looking to get some easy money in the name of religion...

Well, it was our turn next. One kid stood in front of the taxi, therefore we couldn't just leave. I didn't understand the conversation as it was in hindi, but basically the gist was the kids wanted money for the "gods" (which they would then promptly pocket, I'm sure...) and the taxi driver was arguing that he was a taxi driver and he wouldn't give anything. So then the taxi driver started to drive away, and the kid fortunately moved, cuz you know, who would want to be run over? :-)

Then we get down, and my friend went to pay the meter and got in an argument with the driver. The driver was asking for 10 rupees extra to give them so they wouldn't hassle him. My friend promptly told the taxi driver, "You should have let him deal with us. They wouldn't have said anything to us, they couldn't have." (in hindi of course, you know, but was translated for me.) The driver wasn't given the 10 rupees, only the fare, and then we went for dinner and drinks.

Oh, yeah, and DH said to me, here, now you can blog about this. LOL!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How to register at the FRRO

I had to go register at the FRRO, even though I am on a 10 year tourist visa, because you need a residence permit in order to apply for the Entry (X) visa conversion. This is what I had to do:

  • Bring 4 Indian size passport photos
  • 2-3 copies of your passport (first page, address page, visa page, and stamp page)
  • address proof
Here they will give you 1 or 2 pages, that you have fill out again the customary 2-3 times.

The information you will need to fill out is (and this is directly from my copy of my residence permit, so it may vary from place to place):

  1. Name
  2. Father's / Husband's name (in this case I gave my husband's name)
  3. Sex, height, and hair color
  4. Date and place of birth
  5. Present nationality and previous nationality (if any)
  6. Manner and date of acquiring present nationality
  7. Address of last residence outside of India
  8. Address in India (with telephone number, if any. There are also options for a temporary address, such as hotel, and permanent address)
  9. Profession and Occupation
  10. Have you served in Military, Navy, or Airforces or its reserves in any country? If the answer is yes, give the details
  11. Number, date & place of issue of Visa, Date up to which visa is valid
  12. Number, date & place of issue of passport, date up to which passport is valid, particulars of other proof of identity
  13. Port of place of embarkation or departure for India
  14. Date and place of arrival in India. Flight No.         
  15. Purpose of visit in India (tourist/business/employment/study/others/specify)
  16. Places previous registration in India, if any
  17. Name of husband/wife/children and their nationality (if accompanying the visitor)
  18. Signature of the foreigners
Here we gave them :

  • passport photos of me
  • copy of my Indian bank account passbook
  • and many other address proofs
  • copy of marriage certificate
  • copies of husbands voter ID card
We gave all our papers and they told us to come back in 2 weeks. There may be a police check required, but it never happened for us. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ideas?

Anyone have anything specific they would like me to write about, please comment and let me know! :)

What visa do I need?

I've had some queries about what visa would be necessary to come to India to get married on.

Come to India on a Tourist visa. Get married, and after the marriage you will be able to get your Tourist visa converted to an Entry (X) visa on dependant status on marital grounds.

To do this you will need to get registered at the FRRO (post coming up on how to accomplish this) and there they will either tell you to go to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in Delhi, or they will accept your application and send it to Delhi. I am not sure if it is necessary for you to take a trip to Delhi at all, but it may be required.

After 1 year of marriage you can then convert your X visa into a PIO card, by the same procedure.

All this can be done here in India.

Indian visa's and their regulations

Indian visas and their regulations

Each visa type tourist (T), entry (X), employment (E), and person of indian origins (PIO) Card each have different registration requirements, as listed below:

  • Tourist : No registration required because you are unable to stay over **180 DAYS DAYS UNLESS** you go to a neighboring country and re-enter India within 2 months (which requires a re-entry letter, either granted from the Indian Consulate you got the tourist visa at, or from the neighboring country. For this you need to show it is an emergency, or your return itinerary) and in that case you **MUST** register within 14 days of arrival. Remember this is also at the discretion of the immigration officer. You CANNOT work on this type of visa.
  • Entry : You must register if you are planning to stay over 180 days. This visa is now being issued to Indian nationals instead of tourist visas. This is a "catch-all" visa, it is used for dependants who are here with spouses / parents who are on a Employment visa. If you are planning to stay over 180 days you **MUST** register before the 180 days is up. You CANNOT work on this type of visa.
  • Employment : You must register within **14 DAYS**. This visa is required if you plan to **WORK** for an Indian company within India.
  • Business : You must register within **14 DAYS** if you plan to stay over 180 days. This visa is issued only if you are coming to India to work for a foreign company.
  • PIO (Person of Indian Origin) card :  This is issued to people of Indian descent and their spouses and/or children. The length issued is 15 years. This visa requires registration if you plan to stay over 180 days. With this you are allowed the same rights as a Indian citizen EXCEPT you can not vote, hold agricultural land, nor a government job.

http://india.gov.in/overseas/passport/faq_visa.php

Monday, October 25, 2010

How to marry under The Special Marriage Act of 1954

DH and I were married under the Special Marriage Act because we are of different nationalities, and religions (DH being atheist...).

The requirements are :

  1. groom must be 21 years of age, and bride 18 years
  2. should be single
You need to find out who the marriage registrar is over the area you are living in, and one of you needs to have lived in that area for at least 30 days. You go to the registrar and tell them you want to get married (hopefully they have performed foreigner's marriages before like ours did, and knew what needed to be done). You will be given 2 pages (I think, I don't remember how many there were) in multiples of 3. You fill out all the pages and give them back to the registrar, and pay some fees. I believe we paid Rs 100 the first time. The copies of the fill out pages will be displayed in other areas, in case, your significant other finds him/herself already married.

At this time you will pick a date after 30, but within 90 days. You must also give :

  1. 3 copies of passport (for wife) or other form of ID for husband (voter ID, etc, if passport is not available)
  2. 3 copies of husband's address proof
  3. No objection certificate / proof of singleness which can be procured from your Embassy or before coming to India, provided your country will provide one with you. If your Embassy can not provide you with one, it is acceptable to get a letter drafted by a lawyer, with appropriate actions to make it notarized. Also, if you are a divorcee, your divorce papers will suffice in this area.
  4. Also, if you are baby-faced or really young, proof of age may be asked for.
After you pick the date, you arrive at the registrars office on the appointed date. Here you will fill out a few more papers, sign a few things, and then repeat a phrase, something along the lines that you say in church, about taking care of one in sickness and health, three times. You will also need to bring 3 witnesses who will also sign. Then pay your fees (we paid Rs 600, not including the previous Rs 100) as the fee for the marriage.

Now its time to celebrate!

It is also possible for the registrar to come to your marriage venue, which would have cost us around Rs 1000.

Then a month later you pick up your marriage certificate!

First day in Kolkata

Now, I don't remember much about my first day in Kolkata except for coming to DH's house and meeting the family. By this time I was so overwhelmed that I think my brain stopped absorbing new information.

As soon as we got home my MIL (mother-in-law) told DH to take me shopping and get me some Indian style clothes. So, off we went again. This time to a local store, where we purchased me a salwar kameez suit, complete with a kurta, dupatta, and churidar, as well as some other shirts.

My first train ride and the ride home

After arriving in Delhi, it was time to go to Kolkata. This time instead of going by plane, we went by train. It was a 17 hour train ride!! Thank goodness we had gotten a bunk that had a power outlet and were able to charge our phones and the laptop. :) We spent the time watching movies and just talking. We had some rice with chicken (if I remember correctly...) with boiled vegetables. Also, we were given bottles of mineral water and tea. Well, you know, tea bags, not tea leaves, cuz those would just make a mess :P  We had toast and some egg omelet for breakfast.

I enjoyed being able to look out the windows and see the difference in the country side! Sometimes you could see lots of green and other times there was no green!

We arrived in Kolkata and got our bags and got off the train to go get a taxi. Well, we waited in the heat for a pre-paid taxi to our house. We were waiting for 1 1/2 hours in the oppressive heat and humidity. All around us taxi drivers were clamoring and wanting to pick up as many passengers as possible for the same fare! We decided instead of sharing with anyone else, to just wait and we got a taxi.

The ride home was insane! The traffic was still freaking me out at this time, and I thought all the drivers were nuts and that I was going to die (but as you can see, I'm still alive!)

Moving to India

In 2009 I left the US "on a jet plane" headed for Delhi. I was quite nervous that the flight would take *forever* since I was anxious to get there. Having not slept the night before, I was assuming that I would sleep the whole flight, but not so, I think I got about 4-5 hours of sleep max. I watched movies, and talked to those in the seats next to me. When I arrived in Delhi I was anxious and nervous to be finally meeting him for the first time.

How DH and I met

The way we met was not very romantic, and it was not "love at first sight" :)

We were introduced online by a group of mutual friends. DH has been around before, but I had merely said hi to him in passing, nothing major. He messaged me and translated something that I had no idea what was being said. After that we started talking and quickly became friends. Always speaking when we were both online, talking about everything and nothing. We realized that we were starting to always look for the other and when one was not there, we were disappointed.

After this we began talking almost everyday whenever we had free moments. We soon realized we were more than just friends and there it began.

Just starting out

This blog will be about my inter-cultural relationship with dh. Hope you enjoy. More posts will come soon!!