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Travelogue: Immigration Workshop in Bangalore
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With pepped up energies after the success of the 2 seminars in the north, we were all set to give our best to the first workshop in Bangalore. The flight to Bangalore on 11th October night was a welcome break post the nerve-breaking three-wheeler ride to Pune airport earlier in the evening. The drive to the hotel in the heart of city, Brigade Road, gave me an initial glimpse of the city that is famous for its IT and BPO infrastructure.

Bangalore presented yet another facet of the Indian culture to me, a little varied from Delhi and Pune. On my first dinner in southern India, I was pleasantly surprised to see food being served on a large green leaf, the banana leaf. I was informed as this being a tradition in most parts of southern India. Another interesting observation was how people around me ate food with their hands, rather than use cutlery like in the U.S. I couldn't really venture out in Bangalore, but I did notice the number of pubs strewn around, there was at least one in every street or even more!

Post dinner, we started our preparation for the workshop presentation. The workshop, unlike the seminars, was meant to be more interactive. I assumed we were located in a busy part of the city as I could hear blaring horns and screeching brakes all through the night! The view from my hotel room was of a Dominos Pizza outlet with their delivery bikes parked in straight lines and McDonalds just across the road. Although I was tempted to have a hamburger in the morning, I had to control my hunger pangs with a round of steamy idlis and fresh fruit juice for breakfast!

We were joined by 2 more members from the VisaPro India team on 12th morning. By the time I reached the venue, every detailing was already taken care of in order to ensure a hassle-free session. I was looking forward to this event in particular as this was the first time that I was going to be a part of an immigration workshop. I was pleasantly surprised to see that a few attendees reached the venue almost two hours in advance. Later I figured out that it was because of the chaotic and slow moving traffic of the city.

The workshop commenced dot on time and the attendees looked anxious to get started and make the most of this interactive event. The event was very well laid out in order to maximize the interaction between the members and so the attendees were grouped in teams and seated on round tables. The event started with an introductory warm-up session, and then moved on to discussing typical case scenarios and visa options for corporates. The session had immigration activities as an important part of the agenda to keep up the spirit. One such interesting and novel activity was called “Beat-the-competition”, a thought provoking immigration crossword puzzle where the members had to work in their respective groups to solve the same and win a prize. The Question and Answer session, like in the previous events at Delhi and Pune, helped me a great deal in getting the true feel of the immigration knowledge of the audience and their specific concerns.

During my interaction with the participants at the event, I found that most questions were centered on reasons of visa denial for identical applications, consular appointment procedures, the process to expedite them, and H-1B visa transfers for beneficiaries in India. VisaPro India team's knowhow of consular procedures, practices and their updates on unpublished information on consular processing due to case representations benefited the event participants a lot. In all, it was a yet another interesting and satisfactory session.

After the event, we had an authentic south-indian meal for supper and then left for the city railway station to board a train to Chennai. The thought of traveling by train brought forth a mix of emotions-anxiety, thrill, fear and lots more! The railway platform was a sight I wouldn't forget for years to come! We saw passengers swarming around, frantically looking for their compartment and we seemed to be pretty much doing the same! We boarded the train, and were just about to settle down comfortably, only to find out that we were in the wrong compartment and would have to rush back to make sure we find ours before the train starts off! Finally, we found our compartment and looking at the berths I realized I had found one reason to never travel by train again- they weren't made for tall people, like me! We settled down on our respective berths and got ready to retire for the day mentally preparing ourselves for another session in Chennai the next morning.

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