Saturday, August 7, 2010


I finally got to travel to China. Before you ask me anymore questions. It was an 8 hour trip. The only thing I saw was a meeting room and 3 Chinese nationals inside it. So my first impression of China? Their meeting rooms look awfully similar to the ones in India, US and Singapore. And if the temperature of the room is right, I can feel sleepy in any meeting in any part of the world.

Anyway, my experience at Chinese immigration kinda bowled me over. So I thought I tell you guys about it. I have known immigration officers to be rather rude and at times with an apparent lack of a sense of humor. I can totally understand their plight. They have to look at random people with their funny looking pictures in their passports all day. The only thing you do is check the credentials and let that person into the country. Most of the travellers are tired, weary and stinky from a long flight. Very unpleasant I bet.

With my last name that sounds suspiciously close to a radical fundamentalist. And my grin that irritates the hell out of most people, I am not amongst the best guys that a potential immigration officer wants to meet. I have even had tough times emigrating out of India! (Yeah, Mumbai airport interviews you while you are leaving the country as well). I remember in one of my interviews the guy asked me what are you going to do in Singapore. When I told him I am going to study, he almost fell of his chair and gave me that compassioned look saying “You are still studying?” (What he meant was – at your age – most Indian guys’ children are in school!). Anyways, keeping your ego aside during such encounters helps.

Coming back to my Chinese immigration. The officer this time was a woman. She could be anywhere between 16-60 thanks to their genes. I was travelling with my boss, and being this dumb alien I was, he warned her that this Indian chap knows no Mandarin (or that's what he told me he said to her in Mandarin). The moment I came to the window, she gave me this broad nice warm smile – cleared my immigration formalities – gave my Passport back – and then – muttered - “You are handsome”.

Now, trust me, I felt very very nice for a while. There was a “How satisfied are you with the immigration facilities" form and I gave her a 5 star rating (I wanted to add another star just to indicate “super satisfied”). Isn’t it an amazing way to welcome people into your country, especially when they have low self-esteem? But, the more I think about it, the more I concur – that was the sentence someone taught her to say to foreigners. I bet she didn’t know what she was saying. Its like – the only Chinese sentence that I can say audibly (and it kinda makes sense to the Chinese as well) is Wo Ai Ni (I love you in Mandarin – And did I tell you that it was taught to me by a German?).

So the whole incident was like me being an immigration officer and looking at a Chinese national entering my country. The only thing Mandarin that I could utter would absolutely hurt everyone entering. Women would find me creepy and men would find me disgusting. And the best part – no one would bother telling me what it means cause you don’t want to mess with the immigration officer.


  1. Hey! u shud have asked her out..Moron!

  2. I bet she knew what she was saying, u indeed r handsome...:)

  3. @Nidhi - I always knew you wanted me to get arrested somewhere :) !!
    @Deepa - Thank you :) !!!!!