Friday, November 18, 2011

Life without the paper

If you want to live in France, you need the "paper". Of course, there are many who live here without the paper. How do they manage this? Life is easy and at the same time difficult without the paper. When you have the paper, you have to queue up in front of the Prefecture every year to get it renewed; unless you are lucky to have something that is valid for more than one year. A visit to a government office can be summarized by a quote made by my Canadian friend after she returned from one. "Of late, I felt I have not been abused much. So I decided to pay a visit to the government office". Yes, I have friends with excellent sense of humor.

So life can be easy without the paper. You don't have to visit the Prefecture very often. At the same time, life can be difficult too. How do you get a job to make both ends meet? The only way is to work in shady markets. Today, a Gujarati woman approached me at the Metro station. She first checked to see if I was from India. Then, she told me about her husband. Her husband quit his job at a supermarket. Now, he is looking for another job. They are ready to take up any job like cleaning the apartment or even cooking. As they have no papers, there are limited choices available.

I was curious to know how they ended up with no papers. The whole family consisting of husband, wife & two kids came here on a visit and decided against going back to India. What happens if the authorities catch them? Her answer was an eye-opener. "We are not here to do any harm. We want to make money and go back to India. If they catch us, they will deport us".



13 comments:

  1. the Canadian friend's remark - hahah - whattay humor

    the Gujarati lady - wow quite .... (brazen/daring/??) about being deported and ready to even clean/cook - that's sad

    "quit his job" correct

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  2. Yes. Remember to treat life here as street theater. Even when being abused by government employees, I find that observing as an interested audience member brings a "Isn't that interesting" response to my lips rather than what I might say otherwise...

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  3. @Everlost - Point taken. Talking about abuse, when I went over to collect my Carte de sejour, the prefecture guy told me I was very early and had to wait for another 2 months. Luckily, the relocation agency stepped in, the prefecture guy admitted his mistake and I got it the same day!

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  4. Are they as bad as the Indian Govt. offices? I cannot imagine it can be worse or as bad elsewhere.
    There are many like the Gujarati family. They may not be bad people, but it is illegal. This ultimately rebounds on people who are trying to make a legal entry for valid reasons!

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  5. @Radha - A year back, I had to run between the French consulates in Pondicherry and Pune for a mistake made by French authorities. They routed my work related papers to the wrong consulate. My bad experience is from these interactions. Whatever you say about Indian Govt offices, there is a humanitarian (read sympathy/empathy) angle to it.

    About the illegal immigration, the subject is even uglier. You are right. It makes it difficult for those try to get here legally. But who has a solution for this? You can contain it; but cannot eradicate(is that the right word?) it.

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  6. hehehe.. I find it funny ;)
    First of all be in a country without papers and later if they catch you then come back to India for free (get deported) ;) ;)

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  7. @Madhulika - It happens in most of the developed countries.

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  8. Hm.. They should have some courage to live like that. 24/7 tensed. Recently I had read a novel where a guy works in US illegally... Depressing.

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  9. @Harish - On the contrary, she was not afraid of getting caught by the authorities. She was more worried about finding a job for her husband. Sounds strange? Doesn't it?

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  10. Thats very practical :D, the Gujarati women's attitude..

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