On thursday after all the hassle, we finally flew back to India. Immigration hadn’t forgotten us, and it wasn’t too pleasant a re-encounter. The same moustache bastard came with a, ‘I’ll come talk to you and act like we’re friends’- attitude, while trying to find a loophole not to let us in. This time there was none, and he had to let us in even though his moustache was itching with rage.
We found our way to the pre-paid taxi counter where naturally the cashier tried to con us by not giving the right change. He tried twice but this time we weren’t so easy. We caught him both times and he just smiled, waved good bye, and shook his head about.
This con at the airport opened my eyes. Incredible India isn’t to be taken personally, It’s just a game played without shame. There’s a Finnish saying that describes it nicely, ‘Ei se ole tyhmä joka pyytää, vaan se joka maksaa”, which translated would go, ‘It’s not the one who asks, but the one who pays that is stupid’.
It was an important lesson, for on Friday morning we went to the Shipping Company to play the, ‘how long does it take to get the tuk tuk out of the port’- game. We’ve practiced with the Immigration, High Commission, cashiers, taxis and many others, winning some and losing some, but our hand was good this time. All the shipping document’s were in Pyry’s name, he had his own documents to prove he is himself, and there were no loopholes.
We arrived at the shipping company and they were super nice and efficient. We handed the secretary our Bill of Landing, and she looked at it. Then she said something i would never have thought.
‘There is a problem. The consignee name of this document has been changed.’
‘Uuuhhhmmm. How is that possible? I have all of the papers here, they have my name, and I have not been informed abut this.’
‘The name has been changed.’
‘Whose name is on there?’
‘It is a Mr. Concealed Name.’
This was the name of the friend who we sent the DHL-packet to with our shipping documents when we were forced to go to Nepal.
‘No problem, I will call him and get him to give a document saying that it’s ok for you to pick up the goods.’
We then had a meeting with Mr. Manager and his Customs Clearance Agent. Apparently if the name would have been ok, everything would be easy, but because of the wrong name in the bill of landing, they said it’s impossible to get customs clearance.
A friendly start, but now we were deep in the game.
We started off small and asked if the name can be changed back, since it had already been changed once?
‘The name cannot be changed because the shipment has already arrived and customs have the wrong name.’
This was strange because we were to pick up the tuk tuk on the 28th, and the whole immigration mumbo jumbo was just as the tuk tuk arrived. So there is no reason for anyone to change the name before it arrived.
We asked if there is anything we can do and they replied that maybe something can be done.
‘Unfortunately it will take a long time, maybe a month, and will cost a lot.’
After inquiring a little we found out that everything apparently depended on the customs officer and how much he will charge fines and bribes etc.
To counter, we handed them a few Embassy Support letter’s that would help with customs. We also offered to go to the customs with them, but they countered with a blunt refusal.
Then we were talking to two walls for so long that we decided it’s better to leave and get a better hand. Customs is closed on weekends so Monday we’d find something out. We left and immediately got some wheels turning to apply pressure.
We contacted the Customs Commissioner of the Port with our shipping documents and numerous Embassy support letters that all have Pyry’s name on them, and sent a copy to the shipping agent as well as the customs clearance agent. We also mentioned to all of them that we will contact the Chief Commissioner if needed. India is a democracy and everyone has the right to go straight to the top.
Pyry called them on Saturday.
‘Pyry here calling for the tuk tuk, remember?’
‘Yes yes. We are amending the paper already and on Monday we bring to the customs’
Sounded like the pressure was working.
‘So Monday we get the tuk tuk?’
‘Because Monday we take the papers to customs and it will take 2-3 days’
Today is Sunday, and we’ve played a good game so far. We’ve managed to get the time form one month, to 2-3 days. Pyry’s answer to the shipping agent was a simple,
‘I’ll make some calls and make it go faster’.
We have tens of Eagles and Crows soaring above us on the rooftops, and while enjoying the view, one Eagle glided against the wind, head hight from us only 2 meters away. It looked straight at me, and I realised how this game should be played.
With the Dignity of an Eagle, and the Cunningness of the Crow.