By Harish G. Bhatt
Springfield, IL: When I read articles complaining about people mistreated by the Indian Consulate, I just could not believe it. There is a reason for my disbelief. I have been dealing with the Indian Consulate and Indian Embassy for about 10 to 15 years. I am always completely satisfied with the way they help me out and the way they treat me.
I live in Springfield, IL, so naturally whenever I need to contact the Indian Consulate in Chicago, I call it. Whenever I have called, most of the time there was somebody at the Indian Consulate to answer my call, and I always got to talk to whoever I needed to talk to. Whenever I did not get to talk to somebody, I left a message and somebody always returned my call. Believe me, I do call the Indian Consulate at least two to three times a year and they have helped me out every time cheerfully. They mailed me the stuff that I requested from their office right away.
On October 11, we had a day off. I needed some items from the Indian Consulate and also, since we had yet not surrendered our Indian passports to the Indian Consulate to get the Surrender Certificates, my wife and I decided to visit the consulate in Chicago personally. I made some phone calls a few days in advance to find out the procedure for receiving surrender certificate and to let them know that I was going to be there in person on Monday. We were warned by our friends and some relatives about possible mistreatment by the consulate staff. So, I was little skeptical about my visit being as pleasant as my phone calls.
We went to the Indian Consulate on Monday at about 9: 00 O’clock in the morning. There was even a line to get numbers. We got into line and when we arrived at the window, we were welcomed warmly. I told the person that we need to get Surrender Certificates and then we need to pick up some items from their office. As per the request, I gave the person at the window mine and my wife’s Indian passports. He took them and went little inside the office and came back within two minutes with our canceled passports. Since the line was kind of short, the whole process took no more than 10 minutes. We were pleased wit our experience with the Indian Consulate staff.