Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Say Cheese!

The past month and a half of my life has been focused solely on getting six of the seven Smith kids back in school. Six of seven days of the week were filled with it. There was paperwork, school visits, extra math lessons, paperwork, extra handwriting practice, doctor visits, paperwork, clothing and supply shopping, placement tests and, say it with me, more paperwork. Don't get me wrong, I am used to doing every form of paperwork in multiples, but this has tested my mettle. Today's discussion will not, however, be about the actual filling out of every form ever. Today I would like to discuss an obsession that has India tightly in it's grasp. It is the menace known as...The Passport Photo!

Doesn't sound too scary you say? Fool, I say. Picture this, you are new to the country and you walk into one of several mobile phone stores in your new town's large market place. You are planning to buy a mobile (never say "cell phone", nobody will know what you are talking about) so that you can be connected to the strange world around you. It seems easy enough. Things are going well until the shopkeeper asks for your passport photos. What? You panic a little. No one told you that you would need one, is it a scam? (New comers are always suspicious.) Luckily, you remember you have one in your wallet, leftover from your passport and visa applications, so you hand it over. Whew, that was easy. Until your bank asks for one, then the Residents Welfare Association in your neighborhood wants one, your employer needs three, the appliance sales guy takes another, the dentist and the doctor each demand their due, your children's new school wants three just for the application and before you know it there are hundreds of little thumb sized photos of you and your loved ones floating around the country!

The photos required to enroll our children in school nearly pushed me over the edge. (Watch the running total.) We had to hand in five photos of the child (5), one of Mr. Smith and one of me (7) with every application (42). Then, days before school actually started, twelve more of Mr. Smith (54), Number One Son (66) and I (78), plus two more of each child (90), for ID cards. Are we done? No way! On the first day of school, Almanacs were sent home with each student. These serve as a sort of appointment book for the year and the daily source of communication between parent and teacher. Each book requires two more pictures of the student (102), their parents (126) and their older brother who might pick them up from school at some point in the future (138). Are you catching a glimpse of the mania?

This evening when Mr. Smith gets home from a long day at work, guess where we are going? To get new photos taken, of course! The well has run dry and we wouldn't want to be caught without.

  • Item - Admittance to school for six children
  • Cost - 138 passport photos
  • Item - Knowing my kids are being educated plus a couple of quiet hours to read and write blog posts
  • Cost - Priceless

12 comments:

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

I'm dying to know the backstory here (all the while feeling stunned at the number of photos required, of course). I thought you didn't like the schools there?

Sands said...

the only reason why I carry a few extra from home 'coz I have to deal with this even when I visit for a couple of weeks :)

areason2write said...

i quickly ran into this problem too - fortunately we have a color printer with a copy/scanner function - actually buying a printer might be cheaper than the time and energy spent on getting new photos made - i brought photo paper from the U.S. and I just make copies myself and cut them out - no one has been the wiser - i have paper I can send in to your husband if it would be helpful - you just have to make sure you don't give away your last photo. 8-)

anu said...

I have been through that just a couple of weeks ago but luckily only with one child. Today the teacher has also asked for an aditional photo for the almanac.
I get the passport photos copied at a copy shop and cut them out myself. That works fine and saves me the hassle of running to a photographer every now and then.

HouseBoy said...

Amen... I cannot stand the dreaded passport photo thing. (Lesa and I just had to get new ones made - the school almanac wiped us out as well). You poor dear. And we were feeling sorry for ourselves!

Aunt Carol said...

All I can say is you must be expert at posing now. Kind of like the Social Security Card here in the US. Can't seem to do anything without that number.

Seiperts in India said...

I can totally empathize! :)

Toni said...

Should I bring some for our visit?

I am taking a respite from my self-imposed ban from blogs. I realized I was missing yours too much.

areason2write said...

you have been tagged
http://areason2write.wordpress.com/2009/04/30/i-am-it/

The Silly Nilly Family said...

Yikes! I don't know how you do it. It sure is fun to read though! (Jen Swann Gasser)

Aunt Carol said...

HAVING Smith withdrawals HELP!

Tanveer Khan said...

Where did this blog go?