Monday, October 6
Kulosaari metro station, 9:50
This morning I got up and left first, on my way to the Indian Embassy to get our visas for the trip at the end of the month. Every year this develops a different set of problems and this year was no different. For the first time ever, I was told that I needed documentary proof that I had been living in Finland for more than three years. I showed my Kela card, and was told that, while this would be acceptable, I would need to go away and return with a photocopy of the card.
I phoned Irma and now I am at Kulosaari metro station, waiting for a metro to Kontula, where I can scan my card in Irma’s office. I will do this, making certain to copy the rear, because there is no sense in any of this so who am I to speculate whether or not the rear of the card will prove vital to the process. The fact is that my Kela card proves nothing at all about how long I have lived in Finland. All it does is show my ID number. My ID number can be used to find out how long I have been here, but that could have been written on the visa form without me leaving the building for a ninety minute round trip.
When I return I will be served by an Indian man who will be surprised when I present him with a scanned version of my Kela card. The Finnish woman who served me originally will intervene to say sharply that “he needs to prove he has lived in Finland”. The man will look through my passport and remark that I have a previous visa, and she will snort and look away angrily. Every single year we have got visas the system has changed in ways that seem to serve no purpose except to make the process harder and more worrisome than it ought to be.
By 11:57 I will have the receipts for both of our visas and be very happy to leave the building.
I will spend the rest of the day catching up with my schedule while a residual feeling of disgruntlement rumbles in the background.