As many of you know, the process of acquiring a student visa (F-1 visa) to the United States is nerve-racking for Indian families. Having gone through four years of college, graduating with a good GPA along with multiple summer research stints/internships, then applying to several US universities at considerable expense, and finally being rewarded with an acceptance letter from a respected school, Indian students are sometimes rejected from entering the US at the final hurdle—the visa interview at the US embassy.I recall the buildup to my interview four years ago. Many of my friends had theirs scheduled before mine, and they scared the bejeezus out of me recounting their horror show interviews involving scores of questions from grim interviewers with piercing glares boring into their souls trying to catch out any hesitation in their answers, any possible untruths.My parents did what any self-respecting Indian family does before their kid heads to an interview—they took me to a temple. And not just any temple—they took me about 1000 kilometers north of home to the searingly hot city of Baroda, Gujarat, to visit one particular Hanumanji temple (apparently this was our family God in our family temple, goodness knows why, we’re Tamils from Chennai—and I’m an atheist?)So after much prayer and puja, blessings from family members and well-wishes from friends, I stood outside the US embassy on a cloudy, muggy, summer day, shitting my pants under the narrow canopy that automatically opened over the street when it rained (a nice touch there, ‘Murica).My stomach churned as the line slowly moved forward. My heart leaped into my mouth as I passed through the gates, only to be confronted by armed security guards who proceeded to take away anything I had in my pockets—pens, coins, paper, etc.Please don’t take my clothes too, please don’t take my clothes too, I prayed silently.The guard gestured at my jeans. Resigned to my fate, I started to unzip them.“What are you doing?” he asked, amazed. “Just take off your belt and pass through the scanner.”….Finally through the gates, I was taken aback at how simple the next room looked. Then I understood why—it was just a queue room. A room for this damn queue.Half an hour later we passed into the Interview Room. People lined up in front of about a dozen booths, each with a White Man or White Lady inside (must be the Americans, I thought fearfully, please let them understand my accent).The room was air-conditioned. I was sweating.It was large and airy. I gasped for breath.Now I was in front of one of the White Men. He beckoned me forward.He smiled at me evil‡ no, pleasantly ‡ it was a pleasant smile?“Hi there, how’s your day going?”He greeted me ‡ what do I do? Is this part of the interview? Oh no, I don’t have an answer. Smile. Smiling is good. He won’t hate you if you smile.I smiled. He waited.Oh shit, he asked you a question. Answer it, jackass?“OH IT IS—you’re too loud, dolt—going well”, I whispered.He didn’t hear that last bit, but he nodded as if he did.“May I have your I-20?”“Here it is,” I breathed.He stared down at it for a minute. Then—“So, you’re going to Purdue?”Say yes, don’t say yup. And don’t shout.“YUP?” I shouted.“Ok then, you’re good to go” he said, stamping my passport.“What?” I yelped, staring at him in disbelief.“You’re good to go, sir, your application has been accepted.”You mean after all that stress you didn’t ask me a single question? Not one? Why?? Are you crazy, man? I even lied about my day, it was shitty as hell, you should quiz me on it? Make me grovel for that visa, like the bastards I know you interviewers are?“Good luck with your PhD, Mr.Raman, and enjoy your stay in the United States of America.”“Thank you,” I replied, my throat catching.I was going to America courtesy this senile interviewer. Thank you Hanumanji?