The Myth of Globalization


In a world which is said to have disappearing boundaries, ‘globalization’ is the new vogue of the day.  Treaties between countries, global organizations and welfare, the magic of the ‘one currency’ system; the world is fast becoming a place that is more of a ‘unit’ than that of a multi-layered system. At least this is what is promoted to people. But the question is, is this the whole truth? Do I sound cynical? If so, blame it on the last two months and let me explain why.

To celebrate the trend of multiculturalism and global integration, (and also of course the fact that I fell in love) I had entered a relationship that tied my family to a Dutch family. We assumed that from the sentence ‘Of course I’ll marry you’, things would be utter bliss and all about rainbows and floating on clouds with the universe conspiring to make our happiness its top priority. Sadly I was in for a rude awakening of the most unpleasant nature.

We had decided to make a trip to the Netherlands so that I could have an opportunity to meet his whole family as he had done mine. So I applied for a Schengen visa. Having travelled quite a bit in my 28 years, I didn’t expect any hurdle in my path. After all I wasn’t asking for diplomatic refuge, I was asking for a 3 week holiday to get to know my new family. The difficulty of being a single woman applying for a visa alone hit me for the first time as I learned the sad truth; globalization apparently didn’t include the reality of common people wanting to do common ‘global’ things.

The paperwork was stupendous. Being a freelancer didn’t sit well with ‘them’ (as all government officials will be referred to hereforth). So my poor dad had to run around and show property, figures is bank balance that I suspect even the Queen of England does not have, tax returns, birth certificates, passport copies and a whole hoard of every imaginable document. And then there were unhappy about the length of my stay stating that three weeks seems quite unnecessary and there didn’t seem to be much to do. The whole circus act went on and on and I couldn’t make it to the Netherlands with my fiancé Bart as planned and had to go much later when they finally conceded that I wasn’t  a gold-digging schemer who planned to silently creep into the country under false pretense and stay on indefinitely.  The next question we started asking each other was how much paperwork would be involved to get registered? The Indian marriage certificate has to go through a whole process to get legalized in the Netherlands. And to get married in the Netherlands paperwork that could make a paper stairway to the moon is needed which carried signatures of all different officials so that everyone’s ego and self importance may be satisfied. Then we have to get him a PIO card, see how my travelling can be made easier, see how his visa extension can be made less hellish; basically we were easily looking at a few years of being harassed. Sort of kills the buzz and happiness of finally having found your soul mate.

At this time, I am finally sitting here in the Netherlands, happy to have met his family, (missing my cats) and all I can still keep wondering is ‘what else do we need to do till everything is OK’. I understand the logic behind the paperwork, how people misuse the system, how it is to protect a certain group of people, I get all that. But a part of me still is annoyed with the fact that in a world that is all about being global, countries still hang on so fiercely to their own boundaries. People don’t really want others from outside, they still want their own language and identity; it is difficult to let go and become part of a unit instead of a small familiar clan. SO where does globalization fit in exactly? Only with ‘news worthy’ affairs? When will it creep into all the small details that actually form lives? When will we be truly global?