“I ran and Ran, went to a multiplex, watched 2 movies back to back” — My FOUR VISA Interview experiences

Well this is gonna be a long one… So if you’re in a hurry, you can leave NOW!!

It all started at a very early age when I first heard my cousin sister saying to some uncle at a function- “I’ve given my GRE. Just waiting for admits.” I was quite hesitant to ask her what GRE is, so I didn’t. But when she left for the States, I understood she went because she gave GRE, it gave her an opportunity to go to USA.
Then one more cousin of mine went to the States. I used to see their photos and my parents constantly told me their tales- “Spoon wash karne ka bhi time nahi hai un logon ko. Disposable plates aur spoons use karte hain, time save karne ke liye.” So I cleared my Higher secondry listening to these dialogues. I used to think- when my other cousins would hear the same stories about me!!??
I started going to the college. I don’t want to talk about that period because I didn’t like my college. I don’t know why, but I didn’t. I completed my engineering and during that time gathered information about preparing for GRE, TOEFL and MS. These are the 3 most important terms a newbie talks about when he/she starts trying his hands to come down to the Black waters of USA. That time I had a B.E. degree with 69.3 and a dream to go to the US of A.
Then somebody told me about Dilip Oak’s Academy in Pune. I packed my backpack and left for Pune. I started taking classes for GRE. Meanwhile, when my gf didn’t get logistics cadre in navy, her interest turned towards GRE. Being a DPSite, her English was already very good. So she also came down to Pune and both of us started preparing for GRE there. Then the day of our exam came, 14th Nov 2011. We gave our GRE exam. I got 307 and she got 304. Then we prepared for TOEFL. Cleared the TOEFL with good marks and then, I came back to my place and she went to hers.
We consulted Madhvi Desai Consultancies Pvt Lmt and started applying to different universities. I applied to 9 Universities out of which 7 gave me admits. Northeastern University, Santa Clara University Univ of Texas at Dallas and Colorado State Uni were some of ’em.
And then the day arrived when I was about to give my first Visa Interview at Mumbai Consulate, May 18th. Here’s what happened-

Me- A very good morning Sir 😀
VO- (As if he didn’t listen.)
So Wh### (I couldn’t make out that was it a ‘where’ or ‘why’)
Me- Sir, I’m going to Univ of TX at Dallas to pursue my Masters in MIS.

VO- How did you choose UTD ?
Me- Sir I took some factors into consideration like- curriculum / reputation of the university. And keeping these factors in mind I browsed some websites
like usnews.com/ gradschools.com. And that is how I shortlisted this university.

(He started stretching his hand towards the cupboard where the stack of 214b was placed.)

VO- How many backlogs did you have ?
Me- Sir I have had.(He interrupted me in between. He didnt even listen to my “Five Backlogs”)

VO- Sorry I can’t grant you the visa. This letter will further explain you my decision.

That was all.

I couldn’t believe what happened in there. It hardly took 2 minutes for him to say “Sorry”. I rushed and came out of consulate. Took a taxi and direct went to a multiplex. Watched 2 movies back to back. I tried asking many people about what went wrong with my VI. Everybody gave me their suggestions.. Then I applied for the second time 18 June at Kolkata-

VO- Goodmorning. Your docs please.
ME- sure sir. (handed him the docs)

VO- 18th may… (while looking in the computer)
ME- Yes sir. (The date of my first Visa interview)

VO- Mumbai..
ME- Yes sir (smiling. I caught the smell of rejection right here..)

VO- (Now came on the edge of his chair and was just few inches from me and frankly speaking he was a scary chinese looking man) So you came aaallll…. the way from Mumbai to Kolkata !!
ME- No Sir, I live in Chhattisgarh and Kolkata is nearby from Chhattisgarh.

VO- So why did you got to Mumbai in your first go ?
ME- Sir I didnt know that i can come to Kolkata. But then I contacted VFS officers in kolkata and they said I can come here so thats why I’m here.

VO- Why didnt you go to mumbai again ?
ME- Sir, We are having a family ritual function going on in kolkata so i had to come here with my family.

VO- You came here coz you got rejected in mumbai ?
ME- No sir, its not like that.

VO- Okay so what changes have you made in your profile ?
ME- Sir I have done some changes in my financial status and documents.

VO- No, I’m talking about your academic profile.
ME- No sir, no changes.

VO_ still Texas at dallas ?
ME- Yeah.

VO- When my friend has rejected you in Mumbai, how would I accept you with the same profile! I’ll have to tell him why I’m approving your visa. Sorry. Cant grant you the visa.
ME- Okay sir.

That was all.. Again, no GRE/TOEFL… Finance…

Again ran to a multiplex watched 2 movies back to back and returned back home.

I was losing hope.

** Sorry I forgot to mention earlier that my lucky gf got her Visa in the first go itself which was 11 may **

Two things were clear-
1. The consulate change thing didn’t work. So no consulate change this time.
2. I’d have to make some change in my profile.

So I thought next time I’ll go with Colorado State University to Kolkata itself. The day arrived… July 20. I gave my 3rd attempt at Kolkata for Colorado State Uni Fort Collins.

VO- Hello
Me- Hello Mam.

VO- Docs please.

VO- Which Uni ?
Me- Col State ma’am.

VO- Last two times yo applied for UTD and now Col State ? Why did you change the university ?
Me- Ma’am last time the VO indirectly told me that there is no change in my profile and that maybe the problem. So I changed my university because I couldnt change my GRE/ TOEFL scores this soon. And by the way, both the universities are good. The curriculum is almost same. So I thought I’d change my university and try.

VO- No no… See, when you’re spending thousands of dollars on your studies, you’ve to be serious. Which you dont seem like. You’re changing your universities. If I’ll give you the VISA, you’ll go there and you’ll change your university again, you’ll start working there.
So I can’t grant you the visa. Sorry.
Me- Okay Ma’am. Thank you.

Took a taxi went to the multiplex, watched two movies back to back.
Then returned back home :/

My GF was about to fly on 30th of July and here I was losing hopes about the US of A. It was already 20th of July, my program was starting from August 7th. There wasn’t enough time to apply one more time. Still I went to HDFC bank on 25th July and deposited the amount one more time. But then I came to know that I really won’t be able to go there this fall. I was sitting at Nagpur railway station to come back to my place. And I saw a boy with 2 big suitcases. He and his parents, they came and sat near me. And they started talking about US. I got that he’s going to delhi and his flight is from delhi. And suddenly an aeroplane went over my head. I felt really bad. So bad that this came out of my heart-

Didnt get the visa even in the third go…
Have to enjoy here for 4 more months.
My heartiest congratulations to all those who were lucky enough to get that sticker on their passports.
Have written some lines, hope they’d bring a smile on your face.. 🙂

“Fall was where I fell,
Even emerald didn’t ring any bell,
Neither Kamakhya nor kaali from kal.

Filled countless questions of DS160 on my dell,
But still the airplane tickets I can’t smell.
I’m here but my heart, in the US of A it dwells.

Never spent rupees ; Every time fancied spending dollars for excel.
Tried not cutting hairs, nails,
and Everytime expecting good luck, lived in a new hotel.

Now whenever I hear the airplanes yell,
their sound sounds like my own death knell.

Geez what shud I do now, have spent my life thinkin bout that hell.
As far as I remember, the lady who rejected me last time was Michelle.
And I’ve already sent the mail regarding deferment to Rachel

Lagta hai kisi ne laga diye hain meri life ko bade bade L.

and suddenly my gf said-
So it’ll bring you to FoCo as well 🙂

But still there was nothing. I started sending mails to the universities about the deferring my admission to January 2013. Believe or not, but every passing year, every increase in the 20__ list makes you feel older. When your classmates have already started working (that was never MY plan for life though), some others are already in their second year of MBA, and you’re worth nothing (even after scoring 307 in GRE and 107 in TOEFL). It feels bad. Seriously it is something that makes you feel that you’re useless.

There was nothing left for me at home.So I left home and came to this silicon city – Bangalore. I had before me 3 long months to kill before I could give VISA interview for January session. I had to do something. Since I had applied for MIS to various universities, I found SAP Business Intelligence as a good option to study for the time being. And so the classes began. Meanwhile, I kept getting the deferred I20s.

My gf reached US safely. But she didn’t say much about the US coz she knew it would make me feel bad.

The month of October was coming. This time I thought I won’t tell anyone about my Visa interview. I was sure that I was gonna get rejected this time also. From 26th September the Visa procedure got changed. Its more easier than the previous one. I took the date August 11 at Chennai. Everytime I gave VI, I had a haircut, wore formals. But this time I didn’t do anything. Just a t-shirt and jeans. The day came. Everytime I thought what Fb update would I make after coming out of the VI room if I’ll get the Visa. But this time that feeling wasn’t there. After getting rejected thrice, I couldn’t even imagine that I’d get Visa this time. I was going to give this Interview coz I had deposited the fee 3 months back. I had already started thinking about Canada or Germany. And did I mention that I didn’t tell about this interview to anyone. Not even to my gf or my parents. This was just to reduce the sighs and sympathies. This way it would be only me, else, it would be the whole platoon.

So, I cleared security check. I was more “in my mind” than ever before. I wasn’t nervous because when you know what’s gonna happen, you stop bothering. You don’t feel distressed anymore. The formalities took some time and woaahh.. It was my number on the display.. I walked to the interview hall. Got 11th window. There was a man in his forties sitting behind the counter. There were two people in front of me. One of ‘em was getting interviewed. Suddenly a lady (who was from the admin) came to the person who was in front of me and asked him his serial no. And then she asked him to come behind me because it was my number next. I was like what !! Its ME who’s next ! And suddenly the person who was getting interviewed turned and went. I couldn’t see whether he got his Visa or not. And yes, I didn’t even tell my counselor about this interview. So no mock VI. I was totally unprepared. And then there was that moment again…

VO- Good Morning boy.
Me- Good morning sir.

VO- Col State you wanna go !!
Me- Yes sir.

VO- To study what ?
Me- Sir, Master of Science in Computer Info Systems.

And then suddenly he started reading the whole thing on his computer which the previous Visa officers had written. At the same time, I turned around once to see where the exit was. I thought he’s gonna send back me home anyway. And suddenly he spoke.

VO- So what was your undergrad % ?

(It was a question that no Visa officer has asked me in any of my previous attempts)

Me- 69.3, First Class sir.

VO- Any Backlogs ?
(I think this was to check my honesty or maybe not)

Me- Yes sir.

VO- How many ?
Me- Sir, I had 5 backlogs. But I cleared em all with good marks.

(I was very confident this time.)

VO- Can I see your marksheets !!
Me- (Gave him all the marksheets)

(Checked ‘em and returned ‘em back)

VO- Who is going to sponsor you ?
Me- Sir my parents are gonna sponsor me.

VO- What do they do ?
Me- Sir My father is an officer in *** and my mother works in **.

VO- Okay.. Your visa has been approved.
Me- Excuse me !!

VO- Mr. Tiwari, Your visa has been approved.
Me- Thank you, thank you, thank you very much.

And I was jumping. I was literally jumping. And I was continuously saying thank you thank you.He slid his hand from the document slit opening to shake my hands…
I was so awestruck that I kissed his hand. Seriously.. You heard me right. I did kiss his hand. I did that. And I turned to go towards the exit that I had spotted during the interview. And as I turned back, everybody in that room was looking at me as if I was an alien. I ran towards the exit. I turned back and VO was looking at me. I waved my hands to him. He waved back. And I ran out 😀

I ran and ran and ran. And when I stopped, I seriously didn’t know where I was. I took an auto and went directly to a multiplex. Watched two movies back to back 🙂