By Tanay Desai
I am a desperate father of an eighth-month-old baby, and I like to draw the attention of Consul General of India in Houston, for his kind consideration in a possibly irritating matter.
I recently found out that in an emergency my eighth-month-old baby might have to travel to India, for which of course a PIO card is necessary. Although I am an Indian citizen myself, I have spent a considerable amount of time since my childhood outside of India. I am, therefore, well aware of how much action is taken to “help” Indian citizens by our stellar foreign service. Suffice it to say that the IFS is generally considered more toothless than my eight-month-old baby.
My son does indeed have a US passport, and other than to stand in front of a camera, he did not have to do much else to secure this most important of government documents, which probably is sought for more fraud and nefarious issues worldwide than an Indian passport or a PIO card. So it came to pass that I had to fill out the PIO application for my son, and discovered that his thumb impressions were necessary.
I am hoping that the person(s) reading this letter may have handled children at some point of time. Correct me if I wrong on this issue, but even the thumb impressions of a child below the age of one or two years are required. If this is not true, then I stand corrected, and this letter deserves to be burnt. If not, I would like to call upon the greatest of aces of fingerprinting experts to assess if a child of this age even has discernible fingerprints. In my opinion they don’t.
I would also like to seriously ask of the glorious consular services if a child of this age has “static” fingerprints, which can actually be reliably assessed even a few months from the time they are taken, at this age of eight months. Last but not the least, the torture that a child is put through, even when asleep for this ridiculous and totally idiotic business of putting thumb impressions on the form, is beyond the weirdest logic that I have come across. If I am the first one to complain about this, then I am guessing that, knowing how Indian government services and their general babugiri love making us run from pillar to post, my application will be rejected outright for some silly reason duly listed under “Most common reasons for rejection” on the Travisa outsourcing Web site.
If I am not the first person to complain about this, and/or if the responsible official reading this has some common sense, and there is even an iota of such a thing as meetings that take place in the consulate, then I am hoping this rule will be changed so as not to torture children of Indian citizens under the age or say one or two years.
Consider this caustic letter of a serious plea from a parent, who realizes that as important as security is in this day and age, this particular rule for minors and thumb impressions is a serious hangover from our pathetic babugiri of yesteryears. And in response to this plea, please don’t leave me feeling that placing some extra cash in the envelope would’ve fixed this problem as it usually does in India.