for many years I have been trying to sort out the correct paperwork to live in India, buy land, set up a business...and what a mystery it has been.
no one seems to be able to give a definitve answer, everytime you think you are getting close it turns out there is something else you should have had and probably in triplicate!!
Well persist we have, we now have a registered business and recognized business partnership here in India, we have purcahsed a home and with only one more stamp I can operate a bank account.
Only one more stamp, simply go to The Superintendent at the Police Station and the stamp will be yours, I was initially told....that was last week: since then I have been many times...
1. go to main Police station wander around for a while and finally find a guy in a pink shirt who kindly explains; "No we shouuld be at Police Staion 2 on the otherside of town"
2. head over to Police Station 2...where the guy was very, very pleasant but busy and so tells us to come back tomorrow, smile, smile, no problem for you is that?
3. arrive at Police Station 2 early in the day...and Smile, Smile listens to our story again and says "Oh there is some problem...because you have a business in Pushkar but are going to live out in a village you should go to Main Police Staion, they handle the rural areas"
4 Head across town to Main Police Sataion and finally find the right office but the SP is unavailable he is on VERY IMPOTANT Police business, did you get that? It is VERY IMPORTANT Police business not just any old stuff and he will be there tomorrow.
Please come back tomorrow...do note that this wandering around looking for the right location does involve telling your story many, many times as everyone, even the chai wallah, seems to need all the detail to point you towards the right office.
5. Return the next morning and Pink Shirt has returned from VERY IMPORTANT Police business, all smiles offers me a chair and we tell the story again, after some convincing he agrees that yes he should register me....and starts ferreting around in cupboads and finally finds some tatty old forms which we must go and photocopy. 3 of this one, 2 of that, 4 of this, 2 of that, 1 of this and a hand written letter inviting him to consider giving me the stamp. He was most definite that I must fill them all out by hand and very carefully as no mistakes are allowed, and return the next day with 10 passport size photographs.
6. Return on Monday, having filled out all the forms, most of which were identical by the way, just different headings on them and Pink Shirt was not to be seen...after much telephoning the office ladies rustle up the Experienced Foriegner Registration Officer who hears our story and explains he can't register us, the salient point is where I sleep tonight, not where I am going to live and as that is in Pushkar not the village we must return to Police Station 2 .
7. Across town to Poilice Staion 2...tell the story, they laugh a lot at Pink Shirt wanting all the copies, hand written no less. Smile, Smile is there and he has good English and a sense of humor...he can understand why I want to register at my house...as that is the address my bank account will go to. Suggests I wait until I get back form Vietnam, stay at house one night even if not all finished then can go to Experienced Foriegner Registration Officer at Main Police Station and truthfully register at my house, get my final stamp and be all set up here in India finally.
So 7 visits just to police stations for the easiest part the process...can you imagine what the rest of it has been like?
Realistically no closer to the stamp but ever hopeful next time will be it!
Smile, Smile charmingly suggested once I have that stamp and have been in the country 5 or 7 years I could start to apply for citizenship, possibly by 10 years I would have it...but there was a little bit of paperwork involved!
Really my mind boggles at how much an Indian little bit of paperwork could amount to!