A Visit to India? Can’t happen at the moment!
I met lots of people coming from all different countries and cultures while living in the US during my studies. My network extended to China, India, Brazil, Colombia, and where not (Chicago is a very international city and so was my university). I did become good friends with many other students in Chicago through studies and also extracurricular activities that I attended. I keep in touch with most of them via social media and sometimes, with a smaller group of them, we hold video calls so we can catch up on each other’s lives.
Lastly, in the video chat I had with this smaller group of friends, one of my friends, an Indian, shared the news of his marriage (to happen this December in India) and invited the five of us in the video call to his wedding celebration. I got really excited for the news and for the chance given to experience a foreign wedding, in particular, an Indian one which seems to be a happy, ceremonious, lively festivity (as I’ve only seen in Bollywood movies so far). However, my excitement didn’t last long as I remembered that my trip to India is impossible at the moment (and doesn’t seem to change in the near future). India doesn’t recognize Kosovo, nor Kosovo passport; thus, I won’t be able to travel to India.
A few days earlier, I was talking to another good friend of mine from India and shared this info with her about the wedding invitation. She said she also wanted me to be at her wedding, which is probably happening early next year. So now it is two friends of mine getting married and I can’t attend their weddings. All this because I was BORN in KOSOVO and I hold a Kosovo passport. But we don’t get to choose our birthplace. However, we should be able to go around the world if we wish and can afford it.
When I looked at the Kosovo Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website, it said I could obtain an Indian visa at the Indian Embassy in Belgrade. I got excited about it and called the Indian Embassy in Belgrade to get more information on the procedures and documents required. However, my happiness was cut in half by the lady that answered the phone; she, explicitly, told me that if Kosovo passport is the only one I possess, there is no way I can get a visa to visit India (as of now – hopefully, this will change soon).
I was pleading with her to maybe consider issuing a visa on paper for Kosovo citizens, as the one Greek Liaison Office in Prishtina used to issue some years ago (prior to allowing us to travel to Greece with a Schengen visa). I tried that in vain, as she was firm about her position that there’s no way a visa will be issued for anyone with a Kosovo passport.
So here I am, unable to visit a country of such diverse cultures, traditions, beliefs, foods, and festivities. Unable to visit the Taj Mahal, one of the new seven wonders of the world, or Kolkata (Calcutta), where Saint Teresa of Calcutta (of Albanian origin, born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu) spent most of her life.
What are your CAN’T TRAVEL places (if you have any)?