Before finally traveling to Sweden, a small, yet important task, remained. Since my study period is for two years, I am eligible for a residence permit which is issued for a period of eleven months. The application for the residence permit can be made online but in order to submit my biometrics, I would have to go to a Swedish Embassy. New Delhi is the only place where this is done in India. Hence, Chalo Dilli !!!
Read the first chapter of Girl in Foreign Land here.
I have been to Delhi at the age of 11. I had gone there on a vacation with my family. You can very well gauge that I hardly remember anything from that trip except that the metro constructions were going on back then and that there was huge traffic because of this. I had not visited many of the tourist spots in that trip and have ever since been hearing about the famous parathey wali gali of Delhi. This time I aimed to cover them all. So, very conveniently the work took a back seat and I started planning my trip, concentrating completely on the sightseeing timings and a lunch at Chandni Chowk.
Let me tell you here, that this was going to be my first solo trip. I love traveling and do not mind solo travel either. But I was always wary of whether I would actually be able to manage one. I could never gather the courage of telling my parents of going on a solo trip. You know how Indian parents are! But this time it was work. So I successfully convinced them that I would be traveling alone , having explained to them that from now on in any case I would be staying alone, so I might as well start with Delhi. Logical Reasoning, you see!
I made a note of all the tourist places I wanted to see. A colleague of mine from Delhi had explained to me about the metro routes and the order of the itinerary that I should follow. It was as if I was going on an expedition to some unknown place. My first solo trip! I am novice at this. It needed meticulous planning.
The appointment at the embassy was at 2pm in the afternoon. My father still doesn’t understand why I booked the the 7am flight from Kolkata, early in the morning. When I told him, that before visiting the embassy, I would be going sightseeing, his expression was worth seeing. He didn’t know what to tell. Touring Delhi in the heat of July, I must be definitely out of my mind.
The day finally arrived. After landing at the IGI airport, I followed the instructions given by my colleague and took the Airport Express to reach the New Delhi metro station. The construction of which had caused difficulty in my previous trip, the completeness of it helped me in my commute this time.
I could only manage a visit to Qutub Minar and Safdarjung tomb. Read more about my trip to Delhi here. Keeping my wanderlust aside, I headed straight to the embassy. I was 1 hour early. Nevertheless, there was a big queue. We had to make an entry in the register and they would call us one by one, while the rest of us waited outside. It was then that I started panicking. What if the embassy closes before my turn comes? More than worrying about my unfinished task, I was worried about what I would tell my parents when they would enquire that why I couldn’t queue up before as I had already reached so early.
After waiting for 1 hour, my name was called finally. The wait outside was actually tiring. It was then that I started feeling the heat. Traveling is fun, no matter how much discomfortable it gets. Works makes me tired. The process took less than 15 minutes and I left the embassy around 4pm with the assurance that my residence permit would reach my home by post within 3 weeks.
My flight back to Kolkata was scheduled for 6 in the evening and I had been warned that the security checking in Delhi might take time depending on the rush. Therefore, not going into any further adventure, I headed straight for the airport.
The journey has started. It is time for the girl to leave the safe chambers of her home and look towards the distant shore!