I was in a situation where I had to take an emergency Visa to travel out of NORWAY, when the ship we were sailing on was scheduled to sail to LEVERPOOL, I had to sign off in a small village of NORWAY called HAUGESUND as I didn’t have a Visa to UNITED KINGDOM and I would be liable to pay huge fine for entering without proper Visa stamping.
Not that I was having a SCHENGEN Visa, but it was much easier for me to get an emergency Visa to fly out of the country. Now the procedures had to be started for me to get the special purpose Visa, the agent was asked to do the needful….I was required to go to the Consulate for the formalities.
Our vessel was there to unload Alumina at one private factory. The vessel was much larger than the Jetty or parking so there was no place for the Gangway or the step up ladder to be lowered for people to climb up or down. So we were forced to use the Pilot Ladder which is basically a rope made tied in the form of a ladder. Most of the men find it tricky as it requires courage and strength to go by the pilot ladder. I am a woman so its even more challenging.
I looked down…it was approximately seven to eight floors of height before I could step on the ground. I stepped out holding tight , got the grip….two three steps were little scary…after that I was used to the ladder, everything was going good when came the camber and I was not having the wall support…oh…it was swinging…and I really felt like a monkey. Ha ha ha.. finally I jumped down and went to my cab. The driver opened the door for me and we set out to the Consulate.
Its a very beautiful village with around twenty thousand population…with cows in front of independent houses….yes cows…their main products are milk and meat. Lovely houses with gardens and cattle in front. I looked at the people on the roads, most of them were on bicycles with safety helmets and knee guards….kids to senior citizen…I asked the driver why most of them were using cycles? He said its for health and protecting the Environment…lesson learnt…in spite of owning cars people used cycles to conserve the environment.
Finally we reached the Consulate …Politi or the police officer was seated at the front desk, our agent had already done the initial liaison so I was a welcome guest…..Hi Hi said the officer…..Hi Hi said few more people in the hall. I was taken by surprise…what do they mean by Hai Hai…anything wrong with me…or my papers were not in order?
Looking at me puzzled the cab driver came to my rescue and told me its their way to say hello… my face lit up… I too reciprocated to the courtesy with their own Hi Hi…one room to the next..to the third…snap taken Visa issued…. First time in my life I have seen a Visa with Ship on it. Took leave and it was Bye Bye together….
On my way back I asked the cab deriver about his family, he had four children, two daughters and two sons….and six grand children. I was curious and asked how many of his children were married? He said no one…yes non of them were married. I felt it was very strange…he laughed and said previously people used to marry first and have children but now they first have children and then marry. Free countries no restrictions and taboos on the contrary Govt supports more children.
Back to my monkey trick…. had to climb back.. this time I was quick… but as I climbed higher my hands started aching… take a deep breath and few more steps,,, jumped in and happy to have completed my adventure. My tickets were ready… I was scheduled to travel next day Via Oslo…Doha ..New Delhi to Hyderabad.
Next morning same story… me and the Pilot Ladder adventure… same cab, driver loaded my luggage in the dickie and we started towards the airport, small airport with bare minimum staff, driver was allowed inside to help me with the luggage upto the security check…Bye Bye he left.
Boarded the connecting flight to Oslo…. landed… had a layover time of five hours… what should I do? How long can I check on the shops?… women you know can spend hours and days in shops. Oslo airport is very huge with all major international retail chains having their outlets. I checked most of them and reached the cosmetics line… all brands with ready to help sales executives, was a spectacular view… the girls were more than willing to help me pick the products.
There was one part for a free trail makeover… in the airport who has the time? I was looking at one lip colour brand when this girl came to me and requested me to sit on the chair….she wanted to do the makeover on my face. I am not very keen for make up but the way she requested was very convincing…. I agreed because she would wipe my face back to normal after she was done. Great I was killing my time and she was doing her job plus honing her skills…good for both.
She asked me where was I from… I said from India, she was very happy to find someone talk to her. I asked about her… she was from IRAN… yes I heard it right… I was surprised to see a girl so far away especially from one of those troubled countries which are targeted for many wrong reasons. She was very well behaved, soft spoken…with zeal to live… slightly wheatish complexion…not so perfect English… but was very duty minded. I liked her and asked more about her family.
Her family had moved out of Iran in search of work and were doing small jobs to survive…. they had left their everything behind to be called second class citizens in other countries, though the Scandinavian countries have a lot of value for human life. The girl was wanting to get married but couldn’t find the ‘right’ match.
What is the fault of these innocent hard working people to be forced to live like ‘Refugees’ in other countries?? Just because they were from Iran and born Muslims?? This is not Humanity…. we all are in civilized world where Human Values are protected by Human Rights Commission…. all the big talks one side and truth of life on the other side….. the two actually don’t synch with each other.
I felt sorry for the people of the country…disturbed lives for no fault of theirs.
Yesterday came the fresh Salvo from Trump Govt …with the stroke of a pen Donald Trump BANNED entry of most citizens especially Muslim Nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia into USA for 90 to 120 days…I don’t want to go into the details of that.
I fail to understand why being born as a Muslim is considered a Sin or Crime in this ‘World’ ?
No wonder they have developed hatred for rest of the world.