Sunday, March 20, 2011

Passport the speedy way (At last!!)

I am not going to bother to reference all my older posts on this subject - there are just too many of them :). But to those who read them, you know what I'm talking about. Well this latest one is about the way that works the best, and believe me is definitely the fastest way to get your passport.

I had two things in my favour - it was for renewing my minor daughter's passport(minor passport is the easiest if parents have passports), and we have been living in the same place for a very long time, so no issues with changing address or other details.

1. Go to http://www.passportindia.gov.in/ and create a login. Under this login, you can download the e-form, fill it offline and upload it to the site. This creates an entry under your login which you have to use for all further proceedings. There is an option to upload the supporting documents(in our case it was only old passport copy, parents' passport copies & Affidavit H). I found later that they do it themselves very very effectively and quickly, so no need to waste time on this with a domestic scanner!

2. "Normal" or "Tatkaal" application- since I wasted a lot of time trying to wait in line (earlier attempts) having entered it as Normal, I decided to go with Tatkaal this time even though the more expensive option.

3. You can create your appointment as normal or tatkaal. You have to wait about 1.5 months for the next available normal one. For tatkaal appoinments, much like train ticket tatkaal booking, you have to check at exactly 8 a.m. 2 days in advance i.e. Monday 8 a.m. you can book appointments for Wednesday. You may have to try on a couple of days, since the appoinments vanish in 5 minutes or so, but still not a very laborious procedure. Even with my quite slow netbook, I tried only for 2 days and managed to get one.

4. So now armed with the appointment printout, reach the Passport Seva Kendra before the specified reporting time, and stand in the line waiting outside.

5. Once you're in, the document verification is the first step. This is in a different direction for tatkaal applicants, which doesn't mean the crowd is all that less - quite a number of people apply through tatkaal! The personnel are very patient and helpful, to a limit in fact - our line was held up because a gentleman in front of us insisted on multiple clarifications with some documentation problems!!

6. The document verification person gives you a folder and then you go to collect the token. Once again a different numbering for tatkaal - in fact there were a whole lot of token prefixes - I understood N to be normal and S to be tatkaal, there was also W, T and so on.

7. Go into the waiting area, and wait for your token numbers to be displayed for Counter A. You have to go to Counters A, B and C to complete the process. The payment and photo taking (you don't have to take photos unless the child is less than 4 years old) happens at Counter A. It took me about an hour once I got into this area to clear all the counters.

8. Paid Rs. 2100 for tatkaal minor passport renewal - this was on Wednesday. The lady at Counter C said it should be cleared in 3 days and I would receive the passport in another day or two.

9. To my surprize - on friday night I received an SMS and e-mail informing me that the passport was dispatched, and I received it on Saturday morning!!

10. YAY for PSK passport renewal :)

Now all that's left is to actually plan that overseas vacation as all my excuses for not doing it are no longer valid ;)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My birthday's finished!

That's what S says if anyone asks him how old he is :). We had a low-key but fun day with cutting a cake at school and another one at home with just parents and grandparents around. S is apparently not yet displaying his personality entirely at school, so here he is sitting and waiting very patiently for the cake to be cut:
That's his teacher Vinaya Aunty lighting the candle, and me, D and Dada, Dadima in the back.

Then the one at home - this one was a spectacular cake, made by Som & Poornima who make speciality cakes. I seem to have taken photos of the cake and not of the actual event (which are hopefully on hubby's phone and will be procured soon! :)). So here's one of the cake(vanilla flavoured with a chocolate butter cream filling and that lovely chocolate topping/fondant) all of which tasted every bit as good as it looks/sounds ;).


I have been wanting to take more photos not just of events but of everything around, especially the children. But sadly have been very lethargic in this (and in a lot of other areas lately including blogging). I even told hubby that maybe getting a new camera would make me feel more enthusiastic ;).. but i'm actually not sure about that. So hoping to enthuse myself to take this blog post as a starting point to more photo posts and taking more photos :).