Life’s review or Life in a review?

Life’s review or Life in a review?

As I sit back, sipping a cup of coffee, watching John fly to London, it dawns upon me – “What a roller-coaster ride it has been for last 3 days…”

As I take stock of events that have transpired ever since their VISA application process began(H1B Visa stamping), I come to realize –

May it be India or Uncle Sam or any other nation, administrative procedures can be clumsy at times. And by clumsy – I mean they can represent a gamut of possibilities – red tape ridden, inconsistent, sloppy, shoddy, incomprehensible, non-transparent, slow and at times – downright pathetic.

H1B visa stamping in the passport is needed for a foreign national to enter/re-enter the United States as an H1B worker.  If you currently hold H1B work visa, you may need to get the re-stamping upon the extension of your expired visa. And here’s what happened with their H1B re-stamping for returning to the States.

Clock struck 2pm and we were busy chit-chatting, when John checked for his application status and that triggered the meltdown.

2 words – it just took 2 words for a whirlwind of thoughts (mostly pessimistic) to overwhelm our mind.

Administrative Processing

2017-01-07-photo-00000438

Google search of these 2 words and I learn’t –

Google is not always right

and

Google search can mislead

At times your seemingly correct search can in reality turn out to be incomplete and hence misleading.

screenshot-from-2017-01-07-11-08-20

My google search – US Visa Administrative Processing.

First link itself directs to – 221G – the dreaded code for every US Visa applicant.

Simply put –

“221G = VISA Reject” termed as “Application Pending Further Action.”

Applicant is told that a final decision regarding VISA cannot be made. Here, consular office invokes Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act – aka “Processing time-out.”

To make things cheesy – they have 4 kinds of slips – Pink, Blue, White, Yellow; meaning of each of them is as hazy as Mumbai University examination criterion. Moreover, consulate of Chennai may use Pink slip to signify Administrative processing while Mumbai consulate can use it for “Additional Document Required.”

Categories / Types

Detailed info about 4 types / categories
1. Administrative Processing
2. Further Consulate Review
3. Missing information or documentation:
4. Employee Employer Relationship(EVC/EC Model)

Delving deeper into similar searches led us to –
Similar Unresolved issues
http://www.immihelp.com/forum/showthread.php/123536-H4-Visa-Drop-box(IWP)-Administrative-Processing

Ultimately, after numerous web-sites, pages, thought-showering and finding, we got our –  “Calm your tits momentcalm-your-tits-no

That Administrative Processing isn’t the one we feared it to be.

It aint what you dont know that gets you into trouble,

its what you know for sure that just aint so.

For most part of our search, we were sure AP meant Visa Reject..and then we saw the light at the end of the tunnel – AP is Administrative procedure when it comes to Dropbox facility and one can be patient and await Visa Issue in 2 days.

There were few who said

Administrative Processing is nothing but 221g

While few others who said

It’s a part of their procedure

Finally I deduced – Routine Cycle
1. Case Opened/ Created
2. Ready
3. Admin Processing / Under review
4. Issued

Few other sources go on to call 221g as a Beast –

  1. Beast called 221G
  2. Administrative Processing 221G
  3. H1B Wiki – 221G

From the agony of the impending rejection, to despair and helplessness, to patience and hope, to ultimate elation and celebration – we raced through an array of emotions in these 3 days.

Instead of being a review of life experience, we experienced an entire life in that review.

In hindsight, it comes as a blessing in disguise for it enriches our lives and adds spice to our life. Amidst all this, I take home 1 important learning – Every experience is a life within and every experience documented is a lesson learnt in life.

Looking for the bigger picture, every decision we take in our life is based on such reviews, on lessons learnt.

Whether to take Commerce or Science after 10th grade..
Whether to do CA / CS… Whether to pursue Masters / MBA post under-graduation..
Whether to join a startup or an MNC..
Whether to work under someone or work for oneself..
Whether to free-lance or to start a company..

Life is all about choices. Every time we are spoilt for choices, its the lessons others have learnt, their experience, the hard yards they have put in…in 1 word – “review” that guides us. It may not necessarily be the final word, but definitely is a factor to be considered.

Hence every time someone posts a review of a gadget (read cNet, TechCrunch for App review, phone / laptop reviews), a restaurant review (remember Zomato/Yelp?) or even location / product reviews on Amazon, eBay – its a life experience documented.

While opponents may argue of the fake, incorrect, incomplete, flawed reviews and one can’t deny the possibility of their existence, still the worth of 1 genuine, real review overshoots the damage due to other fictitious ones. Again this may vary from person to person and situation to situation. But as it was in our case – Such quality reviews did settle our nerves..

Such an experience with reviews makes me wonder – how many times do we visit such sites and find them useful.. and how many times we could have documented our experience..We could have taken that pain of writing 4-5 lines on the product we used, on the solution that worked..

Here’s to the happy Zomato foodies, the thankful Amazon customers and so also to the unhappy, cheated YZ-kart user or the disgusted buyer!

Your views, documented ones – will never go waste.

Your words, real ones, have left an indelible mark, not just on digital platforms, but in the form of decisions and choices of other customers.

I pay tribute to such unsung heroes, whose digital footprint is nothing short of a valiant knock that a warrior takes upon himself. Your efforts are truly creditable.

I hope this serves as a clarion call to one and all
Its not just about you, its about the review
Its about spreading the word – good and bad
To make everyone’s life better and glad!

Towards a Cashless India?

Towards a Cashless India?

Are we missing a trick here?

8th November 2016 : All hell broke loose

In India and in America, albeit for different reasons..

It’s more than 2 weeks now…

“Bank manager in Rohtak dies in office after spending three days at work” – Blame PM Modi for it.

“Hordes of Indians standing in the queue for hours and hours together” – Yes, Modi is the culprit.

“Innocent people with years of savings now under a spot of bother” – Modi, how can you be so inhuman?

“BJP top brass already knew about it.. ofcourse they deposited lakhs of black money planning in advance” – I always knew he was “very fair”

“School students join hands to mint the new 2000 rupee notes” – Thank god, now the cash shortage will surely end..

Best of all – “Why aren’t the dudes of Baramati, UP and Bihar behind the bars for hoarding black money?” – Modi, you have truly failed..

Stories, gimmicks, humbug, mudslinging..

Well, India once again shies away from development and slides into the abyss of “political slugfest”.

As I sit down and take stock of the events that have transpired, rhetoric and blame-game aside, I begin to realize – We surely have missed a trick or two, here.

Idea amazing, implementation not upto the mark – There are no two ways about it. But what we have failed to understand is the door, Modi unlocked.

For years and years together, bureaucracy remained India’s Achilles heel. Thanks to the new government, bureaucratic world has suddenly turned upside down. But what bothers me today is –

If India truly has become hospitable for businesses and investment, where are the sparks flying, where are the signs of change?

Where are the likes of Visa, MasterCard? And what has happened to the intense power struggle of Android Pay and Apple Pay? Why are PayPal, InstaMojo, Citrus Pay sleeping on the cards? If I were HDFC, Citi, HSBC or Barclays, demonetization would be a gold mine…not referring to the black money converted gold mine…

Electronic payment, few years back, was solely defined by the possession credit cards, debit cards – a luxury enjoyed by the upper echelons of Indian society. In comes Technology, and the electronic payment sphere witnessed revolution.

21st century saw the rise of Mobile Payment and Digital Wallet Services packed with the potential to not only replace hard green stashes but also the entire gamut of cards. And that perplexes me – Is it only me who sees the opportunity bestowed by PM Modi thanks to demonetization?

“You can only lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink”

If I were Google and Apple, instead of fighting over the supremacy of Apple Pay and Android Pay, I would join hands with the government and usher the masses to utilize their platform. Never in the history of our country has a competitive tussle contributed towards our betterment and prosperity. But the demographics can change if every smartphone user (atleast 20% of 1.3 billion mobile phone users) adopts mobile payment.

Its astonishing to see a country like India be behind the rest of the globe in terms of Smartphone Penetration, Internet Usage and Financial Literacy. It’s time to catch up with the rest of the world. Smartphone manufactures, Internet Service Providers, Financial Experts – It isn’t just Modi who runs the government. You all play an important part too.

Here’s a chance for you to prove. Here’s that “chance of a lifetime” as they say.

“Strike whilst the iron is hot”

It’s time to raise awareness. It’s time to stick together and co-operate. It’s time to embrace the transition.

Online Banking, Credit cards, Debit cards, Payment Gateways – the once pale Indian dinner has now been richly served with Gulab jamun, rasgulla – All it awaits is the willingness to eat..

Awaiting the announcement of Exciting offers, subsidized transaction rates and affordable mobile payment gateways..
The mouth watering prospect of Truly Cashless India…

Emergence of the new minority – the Indian equality

P.S. – While this may hurt,baffle or possibly incite hordes of people, it isn’t meant to be so. It isn’t intended to be an inflammatory or a hate speech. Neither am I going to launch a political party – although I firmly believe, if that was the case, I would be able to garner votes of a few new-age minority Indians..
So why am I writing this in the first place?
For I know, if a reservation-less India were to begin to see daylight, it will definitely not be before I breathe my last.

So? If the world ever ponders as to why the brain-drain ever happened, one of the prime factors that rarely got attention would be this Indian equality.

Yes, in India it is fair to see the child who wins the running race not win the trophy while he watches another player snatch it from his hands. Why? Because that Winner was shy, because he needs to be encouraged, he needs the attention, the push, the support. Hear the words of one such unreserved Indian.

Developed countries like USA, UK, South Korea aren’t just the epitome of democracy rather they are exemplary specimen of meritocracy where there is one thing that reigns supreme at the end of the day – your merit, most times :p. I pity those shy (read “reserved”) people – for once the bubble of reservation breaks – the transition is going to be as daunting as it is for an alien on earth.I then begin to realize – how pointless it is to enter into the competition with a clear-cut psychological, social and administrative disadvantage! How worthless it is to compete with those who aren’t on a “level playing field”?  It feels like a game where the bold (read “unreserved”) are left handicapped, blown to the smithereens by the heavily equipped reserved!

In cricket and football, reserves are meant to be a group of players who serve as a backup to the playing 11. However in India reserves only have single definition – the oppressed,humiliated, offended class of citizens who now have received their “due”, their rightful status in the society.

In this era, where Prime Minister of a nation goes to New York, Sydney, Japan and other such developed countries – when he calls upon N.R.I.s to come back to their motherland and serve her – its essential to stem the growing number of men (tired and frustrated by red-tapeism, corruption, reservations, conflicts, lack of opportunities and low standards) from leaving the nation.

It feels as if the only minority that remains is the open category.

Admissions to nursery, school, high school, colleges, employment opportunities in government offices – well, the list is endless.

“Thee should suffer for thee deserve to beest punished “

Education and employment – the 2 most quintessential parts of everyone’s life! When you pour in caste, creed, religion in it – I wonder how bad the fire will burn!

If you see a boy from rural areas with no facility of education or external coaching, studying on his own and getting respectable marks and then taking the benefit of the reservation – you feel proud about the machinery and thank the Gods for the same. But the harsh reality is – we find countless individuals who come from the same economic background and  similar educational facilities in terms of school and coaching – getting lesser marks yet still end up taking the seat just because of that devilish cursed piece of paper!

Such instances make you wonder – the days of “Knowledge is power” are long-lost and replaced by what Cersei from Game of Thrones rightly says – “Power is power.”

Money, contacts, power – secrets to scale heights in this rotten, corrupt, inefficient system of ours! In schools, from day one, we are taught equality in all forms – gender , caste, creed, race and religion – that all men are created equal and stand equal in front of all Gods! I fail to understand where has this word perished – equality?

Or has reservation become a new dimension of equality?!

Is the so-called “upliftment of the oppressed” (and every wrong thing that’s carried out under this name) a new definition of equality for India?! Is this what United Nations Declaration of Human Rights talk about?! Malpractices have been carried out for years – Moguls tortured us, Britishers dehumanized us (if there ever was a term for treating a human as inhumanely as possible) – all Indians were left wrecked. But we missed the plot when we started focusing on what ought not be – a “collective”, “united”, “impartial” and peaceful march towards growth and development never happened. It was always about every sect, caste ,religion of the society glorifying their pains, sufferings enough to get them the reservations they badly wanted – to pacify and nurse their bruised and battered egos! The already lazy, laid back people got an impetus with this so called boon – “reservation”. The end result – stalled growth rate and overall lull thanks to the ever-so-alive wild-fire owing to the clash between the clans.

If the deserved get reserved, each Indian would be happy. Most importantly India would prosper.

Harsh reality is – hardly does that ever happen.Once a reserved class, you always be a reserved class. Bad habits seldom die, they say. Who will ever forsake the privilege?
These reservations were introduced in the constitution out of compassion and concern for the oppressed with a consensus that – after a stipulated time frame (which unfortunately remains a gray area) these will be gradually rolled back and removed.

Rollback? It threatens to spiral out of proportion. The demands of the Patel community is a testimony that once you distribute chocolates to a few people on the basis of everything sans merit, gradually every single breed will jump to demand their rights.

Laws are tweaked, modified, pushed in or pulled out by the ministers in the Parliament which does not come under the ambit of a common civilian. However, it’s high time that an honest analysis is done by everyone, by every single Indian.

Injustice breeds injustice. An act to benefit the needy has for years been reduced to an act to benefit the mighty. You don’t employ the same strategy if all you get out of it is hapless results and lackluster performance. Bottom-line is all that matters. Failure in execution = Total failure. An act gone wrong needs immediate attention.

It’s time to redefine the Indian equality. It’s time to redefine equal opportunity. It’s time to create a level playing field for all. Zero reservations which are based on caste and creed will actually lead to many new highs – an honest and fair competition – every single candidate will shed that sluggishness, laziness given by the “boon” of reservation. For the economically backward it does make sense to provide them incentive and backing to promote sense of well-being however that is subject to deliberation.

We all want to see a greater, grander and better India. India which sheds its past evils – biased laws, corrupt practices, ineffective verdicts, crony capitalism et al. India which embraces pure morals and ethics in all its spheres – honesty, equality, punctuality and humility.
Meritocracy and not just democracy is the need of the hour. The onus is on us, the Indians to uphold it or to continue to withhold the power that can galvanize India.

Towards an unreserved Bharat!