So recently, I had the unfortunate requirement to go to the Pakistani Embassy here. And it was sad experience. Outside, it looked like another embassy, the facade being just as good as the others. My heart began painting a picture of a professionally run, neat and clean embassy. But then I went inside. And it was a little Pakistan. Noise, dirty walls, messy floors, chipped paint and people itching to break lines. And the one simple task I had of them became this fiasco of going back and forth as I explain below. (I was there requesting an extension on an expiring passport).
So we enter the embassy and the story begins. One guy, lets call him Grey Suit, says ‘Go up up! There they tell you’. So I go up up. And I ask. Man in first small dingy room, let’s call him Skinny, tells me ‘Go into small room (dingy room 2). Man help you.’ So I inquire, which man and why is the door locked? To which Skinny replies ‘Oh he late. He busy man’ Embassy opens at 7 am. We are talking 7:45 here. Must be real busy.
So I wait. And in walks…let’s call him Nawaz (because he looks like our tragic ex-leader). Sweet man, glass eye. I follow him in dingy room 2 and he sits down. Doesn’t meet my eye. Shuffles some papers. Looks serious. Runs his hand over his balding head. The clock keeps ticking and I keep fidgeting. Nothing. Then he looks up and says ‘Jee-ee?’ as if I have interrupted World Bank’s annual financial report meeting. (I wrote the extra ‘e’s to add the sarcasm in his tone.) So I explain my predicament to Nawaz to which he says go back to Skinny. So I get shuttled around. Fast forward 1/2 hour and I am now in front out the big gun, let’s call him Alien. I say this because not only was his face strangely angular with a pointy chin, and his eyes slanted upwards but he spoke a language foreign to me. It wasn’t a foreign language. Just mine, but spoken in a foreign manner.
So he mutters and looks distressed and then rejects my plea. So from Grey Suit to Skinny to Nawaz and now Alien, my request has been refused. So I decide, I must protest, beg a little, smile a bit more. Nothing. Because I am now immersed in this man’s and this facility’s Delusions of Grandeur. I am now a tiny speck in their giant and powerful universe. And I am at a crossroads in life where I need them. So of course, I cannot have what I am asking for because that would destroy their importance. It would reduce them to being, well, just regular embassy officials. And that would be just utterly unacceptable.