FRRO Revisited – visa violation

Bureau of Immigration FRRO

Indian visa violation

On my return from Sri Lanka I was held for a fair while at Bengaluru airport for an apparent visa violation.

One year multiple entry visa
Apparently it works out that on a tourist visa you have to keep moving, you aren’t allowed to spend too much time in one area? I have no idea what constitutes “too much time“. The fact that I have been visiting and staying with friends (who have been showing me around the country) means that apparently I should have applied for a visitors visa? Personally I don’t really understand the difference. A short phrase in english springs to mind and would run something like this:

The tourist entered the country and visited various points and areas of historic interest during his travel. During his tour he also went to visit some friends.

The “tourist” and “visit” are contained in the same phrase and imply that the tourist is visiting the country and friends. Finer points of english language and bureaucratic law I guess.

So I was passing through the immigration channel into the airport when I was stopped and a superior was called over. They asked my purpose in India and I went through the same rigmarole as:

  • I had on my visa application,
  • on leaving the country for Sri Lanka,
  • on exiting Sri Lanka for India.

I explained I was touring around, visiting friends, wanting to do some research into my grandmother’s birthplace and having some dental work done.

Plain-clothed official bureaucracy

FRRO secret policemanA further official was called. What I call a “secret policeman”. Plain clothed and completely nondescript, I guess he was either police, army or customs. He took my passport and disappeared for a while. I was beginning to look like I’d miss my connection flight to Mangaluru.

He returned and informed me of my visa violation. His check had been able to turn up that I had stayed at HOG Hostel in Delhi a few times. Apparently that isn’t allowed? Too many days in the same place or revisiting the same place. I explained that I’d been having some dental implants. Apparently that isn’t allowed either on the visa that I am on? I should have applied for a medical visa for that. Maybe two or three visas were needed? One for dental work, one for visiting friends, one for touring? And possibly a fourth for the research into my Grandmother’s birth – who knows?

He mentioned nothing about the various hostels and hotels in Rajasthan so maybe the check wasn’t that thorough or maybe he zeroed in on the Delhi hostel because it suited his point. He also said that he could see that I hadn’t been to Kolkata yet. I explained that my intention had been to work down the western coast and then up the eastern and yes, therefore, I hadn’t been to Kolkata yet.

We talked and I explained to him that I had been in touch with the embassy in London and explained my India visit to them and this was the visa I had been granted. I had to assume that the embassy had granted me the visa I needed. I also pointed out that as there are so many differing types of visa for India it is difficult to know exactly, without having some sort of expertise in Indian visa and immigration law, for which visa to apply.

He usefully informed me that there are 24 different types of visa for India. 24 different visas!

The official pointed out that my visa stipulates that I had to register with the FRRO within 14 days of arrival. I pointed out that I had indeed gone to the FRRO in Delhi within the timeframe mentioned on the visa and was told to leave as it didn’t apply to me as I would be exiting the country within the 180 days stipulated on the visa and that this Sri Lankan trip was made to comply with that condition. I mentioned the FRRO in this post.

I was asked when I would be leaving the country? As yet I have no date but I assured him that I’d be gone before the expiry of the visa.

Visa violation and the black mark

So I’m being reported and apparently a black mark will be put against my name. I’ve no idea what this actually means but I guess it means that that India will not want me to start a business with Indian nationals and that that they don’t want me spending my hard earned money in their country? Personally I fail to see the logic – I travel in India I spend money on food and hotels. I spend more money on train and air tickets. Maybe I buy some clothes? Can anybody reading this explain the difference between investing money on the above items and buying some dental implants? My brain tells me that the Indian economy has benefited from considerably more pounds sterling and euros spent on my teeth than drinking a few cups of chai and staying in hostels.

So far this experience of Indian bureaucracy leads me to suggest that anyone wanting any medical or dental work done may find it easier and less frustrating to go to a country with fewer restrictions and with a more transparent visa system. India faces intense regional competition in the medical tourism sector, particularly from Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, Taiwan and Mexico. Maybe these countries should be investigated as alternatives for your medical or dental treatment? These headlines appeared online too: Kerala tourism lost revenue of Rs 1,000 crore since Nov 8: Tourism minister (See this.) For those that don’t understand the term CRORE. A crore denotes ten million in the Indian numbering system (see wiki)

I then also think about the two foreign yoga teachers that I have met here. Is their stay at the yoga schools for training also illegal under the terms of the tourist visa? And what about WorkAway? Is that legal – on a tourist visa?

Visa violation – In conclusion

India visa online - visa violation
India visa online
I have to say that the Indian government website that deals with the visa applications is one of the most confusing and incomprehensible visa application sites I have ever visited. It may be that someone should rethink the wording and layout of this site? I am fairly certain that inside the 24 differing visa categories there is plenty of opportunity and leeway for the authorities to come up with some visa violation should they so desire. However this seems counterproductive as we are told that India is an “up and coming nation“. One would think that making things easier would benefit their economy more? I think this is pretty much exemplified by Elon Musk and his Tesla Company choosing China over India in which to set up his hi-tech manufacturing plant. See [ 1 ] and [ 2 ].

Dental implants


Getting dental implants

Well I have to admit that that was nearly as unpleasant as having a heart attack. At least I was bombed out of my skull following the heart attack, for dental implants it was local anaesthetic for the whole mouth. 2 hours it took, well slightly over in actual fact, but at least the implants are in.

The dentist gave me multiple local anaesthetic all round my mouth. Dozens of them. A seriously unpleasant feeling having the lower part of your face completely numb and a bit scary when you find you can’t swallow and your tongue feels like a lump of meat flopping around.

The nicest bit, and this is all comparative mind you, was having the roots of the old teeth yanked and dug out. That was positively wonderful compared to what was to come with the dental implants. Granted I couldn’t feel much but when the dentist started to drill into the bone – well the noise inside your head is horrendous. I think he said I have 6 or 7 dental implants (I’ll ask when I go back Monday). I can’t see them because the gum has been sutured back over the top while the whole lot settles and takes. Then I guess they’ll cut the gum open again to get at the sockets to fit the teeth.

Dental implant surgery hurts

dental implant
Gross photo of my dental implant surgery
2 hours of having your face pulled about your lips stretched open every which way and the pressure on the jaw isn’t at all nice and I was getting tired so my mouth kept closing of its own accord. Where the lower right molar was was a real bugger. I guess the socket (a bit like a rawlplug) didn’t seem to want to tighten up, so I think a new site was drilled. (The left in the pic, out of view.) It’s the lower right of my mouth that is the sorest. The upper right molar hurt like hell when he torqued up the socket. (I’ve always had a bit of a “resistance” anaesthetics, ever since I was a kid, so even pumped full of the stuff I kept getting the odd nerve jolt.) A couple of sites in which they wanted to put implants were infected so they weren’t possible. All in all it went well but I suspect that tomorrow I’ll look like I’ve been in the ring with Mike Tyson.

When I got out of the operating room, Reena, the receptionist giggled because I was a bit all over the place from being horizontal I guess. There was an older woman there too and they were having a bit of a laugh because I couldn’t speak for the numbness. One said, because of my glasses, something about Harry Potter. I informed them that had I been Harry Potter I’d have magicked some new bloody teeth. More giggles.

So now I’m back in the hotel with my script filled for the antibiotics, pain killers, probiotic to put back the intestinal flora that the anti-Bs will kill and a drug that the doctor said is for SOS use only. In fact that is how it was written on the prescription. The anaesthetics have nearly worn off now but the pain killer is still working I assume. I’m not allowed anything to eat except stuff like ice cream for 24 hours – what a shame 🙂

dentzz for dental implantsI have to say that the practise, Dentzz, lived up to it’s name and they are nice people too. Well they are taking my money, but when all’s said and done they were friendly, informative, helpful, concerned and efficient and I’d recommend them to someone in my position. (No I’m not getting paid to say that, but I wish I was.)

First obnoxious native

One final thing – while I was waiting there was a woman with 2 daughters in the waiting room, all in traditional dress with heads covered (no hijabs though). She was the most obnoxious person I have come across since being here. She had an educated, posh english accent, a bit like mine I guess, and refused to speak to the receptionist or dentist in hindi. She was speaking to her girls in hindi though. She was bitching and moaning that she’d had to wait over an hour even though she didn’t have an appointment. Delusions of grandure maybe?

A day in Delhi dehydrated

Indian palm squirrel

Lazy Delhi day

I was lazy again this morning and ordered in the breakfast. I hadn’t slept too well, got to sleep after 02:30 and woke at nine-ish. To try and clear the cobwebs I figured I’d walk in one of the many Delhi parks opposite. On the map it looks like a big park with a road going through or over it. It isn’t, it’s two parks. The nearest is well kept and the second is running amok. You can see it on the map opposite the hotel marker.

indian palm squirrelThe trees are full of Indian palm squirrels. They aren’t too worried about people and you can get quite close to them as you can see from the photo. Their bodies are about 18cm long and their tails are the same. They are sacred to Lord Rama. You can read the wikipedia entry I’ve linked but in a nutshell the light coloured markings on its back are from where Lord Rama stroked him.

The park workers around this part of Delhi seem to predominantly be older women in saris. They sit on the ground weeding and sweeping. The men seem to do the cutting of bushes and moving water lines around.

Delhi is humid in the monsoon season

It’s fiercely humid, we’re in the monsoon season here. One of the most humid countries I’ve experienced. The only others that match it were Brazil and Malaysia. And I thought it was bad in Fuengirola. I’m sweating like mad just breathing and I’m having to change twice a day to get rid of the soaked clothing. At least the clothes dry quickly.

flowering treeHaving walked around the two parks for about an hour I knew I needed to get some water in me to compensate for the sweat loss. I could feel myself getting dehydrated. My tongue was stuck to the roof of my mouth. So I wandered off to the market square that I mentioned in the Imran post. On the way I passed a small shrine set up to Ganesh. The poor God’s trunk was broken off and an urge came on me to get some clay and fix it. I thought he was rather beautiful in his decrepitude.

Shrine to Ganesh
A sorry God Ganesh

The guy at the water stall is beginning to know me. I bought 3 litres, a one and a two, and did the one litre bottle without stopping. I really needed it. As I had another dental appointment booked for 15:00 I came back to the hotel, showered and processed these photos. I had met a tuk-tuk driver with good english on the way to the market and he’d promised to collect me at 14:15 to take me up to the clinic. I wanted to get some grub in me before I went in.

the hot pot
The Hot Pot for great curries
mango drink
Mango drink that’s laced with sugar but yummy
Rajy turned up about 15 minutes early and waited outside for me. I’m probably going to take a spin with him on Sunday to see some of the sights of Delhi, but that’s to be confirmed. He dropped me at the HOT POT, the street vendor I ate at one of the first days. I chose the egg curry. Nearly defeated me again and blew my head off at the same time. Having about 35 minutes to wait I bought a mango drink (600ml again, laced with sugar as I subsequently found out) and sat in the park in the shade of the trees cooling down and drinking it. Have to admit it did taste good and knocked the spots of a coke.

Today’s lunch – 70¢

Curried eggs.

curried eggs
Today’s lunch

One of the many Delhi parks

Delhi parkDelhi park

The dentist laughs

The dentist laughed. The turmeric (curcuma) in the curry had stained the temporary crowns bright yellow. She’s replaced them. It feels weird to have teeth again.

So tomorrow is the big day – bone grafts and the implant pins. Apparently, from the scans and imaging I’ve had done, they can see that my bone has deteriorated and that there is very little space to put the implants without damaging the sinuses. Hence the bone grafts to build up the height. I don’t know what they are going to use, I’m assuming it’s a generic bone material.

I’ve been told to have a big lunch because I suppose I won’t be able to eat for a while. Ice cream I think is on the menu for tomorrow.

Street vendor for food.

greater kailash road

Street vendor for breakfast

greater kailash market square
Streets empty at 10 am
I went in search of breakfast navigating the traffic with no mishap, walking in the road as the indigenous people do, down to the marketplace where Imran took me last night. It seems that it is a night time or afternoon place as most of the shops were shut when I got there at about 10:00. I bought my breakfast from a little street vendor in roadside food stall set up under the trees and sat by the roadside eating it.

street vendor breakfaststreet vendor mango juiceI don’t know what it was but it was very spicy and cost me about 10p. It seemed to be a slice of bread filled with vegetables and covered with a thick batter of egg. It was very good and pretty filling too. I then went in search of a drink. I was tempted by the coconut milk served in it’s green fruit case but I opted for a huge mango juice that was considerably more expensive at about 40p. But it was delicious. I’m sure that as I get used to this country the prices will come down.

Dental appointment

Dr. Priyank Sethi
I had my first dental appointment at 14:00. Thinking they’d have a quick squint in my mouth and I’d be out of there I hadn’t bothered to eat. I was seen fairly promptly and it took nearly two hours. My dentist is Dr Priyank Sethi a friendly, approachable, clearly spoken man that took the trouble to explain a lot of things to do with the various forms of dentistry and implant options that were open to me. I liked him immediately.

Street vendor for lunch

I was sent out with one of their staff to have a 180º scan made of my mouth (it cost £5) and told to go get lunch and come back at 16:00 for the evaluation results. So I shot across the road from their practise and had an egg curry from another street vendor. His operation was on a much more professional level 😉 That cost me about 34p and it very nearly defeated me it was so big. Talk about spicy, aside from the relative humidity, up in the probable 90% area, I burst out in a formidable sweat. Needing to get some fluids in me I searched out another street vendor that sold coke for a bit of a sugar/caffeine jolt. The bottles here are 600ml, not half a litre, and was charged the princely sum of 40p. I shall be going back today when they start my dental treatment.

MacBook Pro gone wrong
New MacBook Pro needing repair after less than 2 months.
Because I’d eaten so late I decided to give the evening meal a miss and get on with this blog only to arrive back at the hotel to find that my brand spanking new MacBook Pro had developed a problem. It appears that I’ll need a new motherboard, graphics card or possibly screen. It’s going to be fun finding an accredited Apple dealer over here to get the thing repaired. I have none of the purchase documentation with me, one doesn’t expect a £2000 computer to go on the blink within 2 months. I don’t know if I’ll lose my programs for processing photos or video. I hope not as they are on the hard drive. But I guess there is a chance that this may be one of the last entries in this possibly short lived blog.

But I’ll have new teeth 🙂

New MacBook Pro needing repair after less than 2 months