The success and the overwhelming response of the Bangalore workshop was just about setting in, when it was time for us to rush back to our hotel, pack our bags, have some dinner and head to the Railway Station. Yes, We were taking a train to Chennai and believe me; I didn’t know what I was heading for that night!
Here began an absolutely unbelievable series of events. We arrived at the Bangalore railway station and I had never seen so many people in some kind of a mad rush before! I saw people running from one end of the station, lugging their bags to the opposite end, trying to get into the railway compartments – it was too crazy to be real. So here we were – 4 people, clueless about our compartment, being led by an absolute stranger – what they call a “porter” in India – the one who carried our bags for us. We enter into a compartment after having walked quite a distance, just about to settle down, when we are announced that we are into the wrong one and our compartment is in the totally opposite direction!! We rush again backwards, passing hundreds of people trying to pave their way through towards their respective seats.
We were settled with our bags tucked carefully under the seats, ready to hit the sack knowing that the next day is going to be no easy. Next morning, all I remember was being woken up by 4 men who were staring at us wanting us to wake up so they can pick our luggage and get paid for the same. After endless bargain, with the porters, we seemed to have reached a fair amount to be paid to the porters and we moved on towards the taxi which ushered us to the hotel. The drive along the beach to the hotel was interesting.
The venue in Chennai, Hotel GRT, seemed impressively arranged with just the right number of chairs for an audience which would be ideal for a workshop. As I waited for the workshop to begin, I observed that the attendees were scattered around in the hall, with minimal interaction amongst themselves or with me. I would have preferred to have a tea session at the beginning of the workshop so that the attendees could warm up and mingle with each other. This would have been the right time for us to network. The workshop had a very mature and focused audience which was re-affirmed during the Q and A session. The flow of the workshop was very well paced and effective in reaching out to the varied audience and their queries. I was impressed with the VisaPro team being abreast with the knowledge of the local consulates and their changes. The interactions with a few of the attendees post workshop was enriching – some of the queries were absolutely alien to me and thus exciting to note the range of immigration concerns in India.
Summing it all, so far it has been a very different and enriching experience; everything from eating on the banana leaf, the spicy Indian cuisine, culture, traffic, three-wheeler auto rides to the impeccable security at the airports and above all every new experience that each seminar and workshop brought in.
Last but not the least, I would love to get back here as this has been one of the most well planned and executed series of immigration events that I have ever been a part of in my 30 year immigration career. I would like to congratulate the VisaPro India team to have made these events so memorable for me.
I am now on the last leg of my travel since I landed in India. The excitement didn’t cease as we were running behind schedule for the flight to Hyderabad where I had my final event termed as “Q&A”. At last we were all in the taxi, with food packed for each one, ready to literally “fly” to the airport! The driver was just waiting to hear one of us say “go fast” and he let lose on his reins – the next thing I knew was that we were at the Chennai airport.
Thomas Joy, Immigration Lawyer
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