In Chennai…

So, I’m in Chennai now. Landed here on Wednesday, Sep 22nd. The decision to make the trip was rather quick. As with most things in my life, there was much background rumination over the last 18 months or so and boom! I pulled the trigger and made the trip. While this is primarily a work related scouting trip, I hope to find time to make trips to Tirupathi, Sholingar, Pune, Bombay, Hyderabad and Bangalore. I’ve already managed to be sick pretty soon after my arrival and my application to get a PAN card (US equivalent would be tax identification number i.e. TIN and a basic requirement for doing anything at all in India) has been rejected on some rather flimsy grounds – they wouldn’t accept my Washington state driver license, phone bill or any other documents as they weren’t attested by the high commissioner at the Indian Consulate in the US. This wasn’t clearly listed on their website. The folks at the agency were horrendous and didn’t even know the basic requirements and were guessing at reason for the rejection. My dad had to take the docs they had, read them for himself and point out that an NRI account statement attested by the branch manager would be acceptable as proof. We left that day.

Dad and I headed to the HDFC R.A.Puram branch yesterday. Our relationship manager, Yash, was simply fantastic. Not only did he give us the attested statement, he took a couple of my photos and provided two copies of a letter from the bank attesting to my US address as per bank records. Additionally, I found out that my bank account had been locked for debits due to potential for money laundering. Huh? Well, the account had been opened remotely in my absence and the only deposit was by cash. Since withdrawals are in Indian rupees only, this would be the ideal way for someone to convert illegally gained foreign currency. Simple way to unlock the account is to wire transfer funds from a foreign account of the same holder.

I went back to the agency today and handed in the new docs. Fingers crossed. Hopefully, this time it’ll go smoothly.

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