Did you know?

November 8, 2008 at 8:06 pm 5 comments

Amazing thing happened to me yesterday that left me with conflicting feelings – on the one hand it made me feel like a kid again, and on the other, it annoyed me beyond belief. What happened, you might ask, to cause such extreme reactions?

Well, I had applied for an Indonesian visa – the process and the experience is yet another story that I will relate at some other time. The climax of the entire experience took place yesterday when I sent my office assistant to pick up my passport from the consulate. I am to travel tonight so it was essential that I had my visa yesterday.

When he got there at 2:30 pm he was told that he couldn’t have the passport although the visa was ready for collection. The reason, the lady told me over the phone, was that before she gave me my visa, I needed to provide her with a letter from my family giving me permission to travel to Indonesia alone. I was speechless for a few seconds and then I said “WHAT?” She explained that since I was single, I needed my father or mother’s permission to travel.

I was so irritated that I told her that it might be a wee bit difficult to get my mother to write a letter since she had passed away 5 years ago. Then your father will have to write it, she said. I asked if she knew how old I was. She said it didn’t matter if I was 80. If I was single and a woman, I still needed permission from my family.

Exasperated though I was, I had to remain cool and find a way out of this, so I explained to her that it would take me a couple of hours to get the letter from my father and by then the Consulate would be closed. I also asked why I hadn’t been told of this “requirement” when I applied for the visa.

She must have realized the lapse on her part because she softened a bit (which for anyone who has met her, is a miraculous achievement) and said she would do me a special favour and hand my passport over to my office assistant IF i promised to send the letter to the consulate the next morning, together with a copy of my father’s ID card. I naturally promised that I would. She then warned me that if I didn’t, I would not be allowed to board the flight for Jakarta.

I have sent the letter. My father was more than a little confused when I asked him to write it. It had been many years since I had asked for his permission to travel. I discuss my trips with him and inform him of my plans because he still worries about me but seeking his permission – especially in writing – is something I have not needed to do since I was in Junior school and had to get a letter for a school trip.

So all those single women who are planning to travel to Indonesia alone, please take heed! I swear if I hadn’t committed to go with the delegation, I would have told the lady at the Consulate where to go.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Did you know? | Tea Break  |  November 8, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    […] This cup of tea was served by: In the Line of Wire […]

    Reply
  • 2. zubairshafiq  |  November 8, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    I am sure that this must be some misunderstanding. I have searched several sources and cannot find anything like you stated.

    In fact, your post comes second in google’s search list with “indonesia visa permission for ladies” as keywords.

    Reply
  • 3. Jehan  |  November 8, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    @Zubair, this is not a misunderstanding at all. Sadia from our Secretariat will be joining us in Indonesia and the travel agent has told her to get a letter from her mother giving her permission to travel alone to Indonesia.😀

    Reply
  • 4. zakintosh  |  November 9, 2008 at 1:31 am

    The way many here are supporting moving in the same direction, make sure you have your dad’s permission to come back to Pakistan.

    Have a great trip.

    Reply
  • 5. д§mд  |  November 11, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    Was your father delighted?🙂 After all, his lil child needs his help still!

    Annoying utterly but kinda cute from other side of window *_*

    Reply

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