German Bureaucracy

Not to Take it Personally: To my European Friends

Mrs. Meenakshi Passi, an Indian lady married to a German and living most of her time in Goa, has sent us the poem below titled NOT TO TAKE IT PERSONALLY: TO MY EUROPEAN FRIENDS and has asked IGSG for publication. 

IGSG decided to publish it considering the critics of bureaucracy and the emotional feelings expressed in it.

Unfortunately problems with bureaucracy and related emotional feelings sometimes end up in psychological trauma, dramas and even in tragedy. But all this is more or less common to both sides: Indians visiting and staying in Germany as well as Germans visiting and staying in India. Luckily on both sides there are very positive Germans and Indians, individuals as well as institutions, which try to overcome such difficulties and bring people closer and help them be friends.

Mrs Passi is a retired commissioner of Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax and now lives in Canacona with her German husband.

When sending us her poem Mrs Passi wrote:  

I would like to mention that the German Consulate in Mumbai has been always efficient and helpful, and my husband's friends in Germany also welcome me there. It is the bureaucracy in Germany about whom I write in the verse... and I do know my verse is partially a reaction to the very vocal anger and irritation amongst our European friends against the stupid Indian law about 2 months out (which has gone now), but their simultaneous acceptance of how I am treated in Germany by their bureaucracy. 

I would also like to mention that I do find the European visa rules strange; I have a 10 years multiple entry visa to US, and when I once went there I was allowed a 6 months stay there, if I so wished (I had no time for it) ; the US embassy once checked out my finances and status and gave me this visa; obviously they are not as scared as the EU that I would settle down there. As English speaking persons, it would be more logical for educated Indians to move to US/UK rather than Germany and yet, in contrast, EU gives even the educated Indians with a status and property within India, only a 3 months' entry at a time (I do have a 2 year visa to EU but it has the clause "3 months in; 3 months out"); why this is so, is not understandable to me. To my opinion, the EU visa laws could undergo a reexamination like the "2 month India out" Indian law, which has now been changed. I signed petitions for my European friends to change the Indian law; I do not see my European friends do the same for me... I see all this builds up to come out as my verse.


Meenakshi Passi


You tell me not to take it personally….not to take it personally how your country, your bureaucracy treats me.

Not to take it personally that-

            When I go to your foreigner’s department in Germany, the officers there speak no language other than German, while ostensibly dealing with foreigners.

Not to take it personally that-

            These self same officers do not even deign to look at me, as I stand there, requesting their attention.

Not to take it personally that-

            The police at Schipol airport makes me stand aside with other “young Asian women”, checking whether I am a prostitute.

I should not take all this personally-

            For after all,

                        I am an Indian.

                                   From a developing country,

                                               So, I should accept it;

                                                           And not take it personally.

I wonder why you take it personally, when the US Customs and immigration are rude to you.

Why you refuse to go to the US because of that?

Oh, I forgot……

            You are white, and from a developed country, continent,

                        So you have the right to be treated with dignity.

But, I,


after all,

                        Am an Indian,

                                   From a developing country.


            Should learn

                        Not to take it personally.

I wonder why,

            Since days, I sit planning my next visit to Germany,

                        And do not manage to click the button to BOOK it.

You see,

I am waiting,

            to manage to convince myself

                        NOT TO TAKE IT PERSONALLY.