I was happy with the way things went on inside the Sweden embassy. The woman who took my papers seemed easily irritable but I think I managed to stay calm. The mic hanging from a high position on the wall (or was it the ceiling?) did make me nervous though. All in all, things went well, and she promised to allow me to drop the photographs (that I had forgotten) in the day after with the guard at the gate.

On the way out, I tried explaining to the guard how and why I will be showing up at 'his' gate tomorrow, and the assistance that I will be requiring from him in the process...namely, to pass on the photograph to the lady inside! He rolled his eyes a little, looked lost... deep in thought. He seemed to be opening the gate awfully slowly. It was a metal gate but I dont think it was that heavy. He opened it a little and an impatient me tried to hurriedly leave through that small space, when I felt the mildly plump guards body brush against me from behind! He spoke hushedly to my ears "Cha Nashta'r Kichu Dibenna?" I was out by the time he finished. I was amazed, disgusted (by the whole approach of it) and at the same time at a loss for reflexes. I did not know what to do or say. A confused murmur of "Naaah, ajke nah.. hoyto kaalkey" slipped out from my mouth. I don't think he even heard what I said, I didn't want to make it clear either, I had no intention of entertaining this request or plea, or threat. He was a middle aged fella, with the blue white stripes and badge of 'Group4Falck' (I don't think I spelled it right), a private organization who supply guards and other security services to other organizations. I never would have expected this from him!

The fate of my photographs will be in the hands of this guy tomorrow. The lady clearly indicated that my visa application would not be considered without the photographs. Should I wait in line tomorrow and hand them in myself? What other way is there to handle this situation without having to pay for Cha Nashta? I have enough money to treat him to a five-star hotel mind you...but this tendency of everyone to demand a little extra for doing their jobs is not something I ever liked and nor do I want to entertain it ever. I just pray I am never cornered to succumb to such exploitations. Well, here is a situation.

I don't want to stand in line again at the embassy. If the man wanted a bribe, or just a little 'extra', the time in the line might be a lot more than the usual. Of course I could cause a min hungama and try to gather public support on my side from the others in line. No, I just don't want to be in line again. It will be handed to the guard as I had planned. I came up with the idea that I will try to scare the guard a little. I will hand him the photos and tell him that I will email or call the lady inside to inform her that I have dropped them off at the embassy with the guard. This will surely get him thinking into not doing anything slackish. I settled on this as a 'good plan'.

Then I also considered the fact that he might not be that desparate for the extra so as to go to measures to make my photos vanish. Sure, I get paranoid easily often! So in case he does claim the money again, I played out little lectures on ethics and morality, honesty, piety that I might give to him.

This morning I passed the photos to the embassy. Through the heavy rain, I passed the envelope to the guard and explained that he should pass it onto the woman inside. He asked me whether its enough for him to pass it on, I replied affirmative. And with an attempt to show great appreciation, I thanked him firmly and let go off the envelope. No lecture delivered, no little warnings given out. I didn't give him a chance to say anything much after I handed him the envelope. I rushed back to my taxi amidst the rain and headed for work. I did email the embassy with a notification that I had sent the photographs over.