Passport: Patricia Rozario - `Getting visas is a real headache'

My passports are always full of stamps. I keep an Indian passport even though I have lived in Britain for 20 years. It's a sentimental thing. My mother still lives there and I like the feeling that I can get back home at any moment.

Getting visas is a real headache, though. In fact, I've just come back from a battle at the Spanish embassy where I was trying to renew my Schengen [most of Europe] visa. I had all the correct paperwork but the woman in the embassy still gave me an earful. She told me I was lucky next to my compatriots. She even seemed to be complaining that my job was more interesting than hers. Why do they have to speak so nastily? I told her I didn't understand why she was in a rage.

People ask why I attend embassies in person when I could get others to sort my visas out. I think it's because I want to keep in touch with normal life. I want to know how we foreigners are being treated.

I once had a difficult time flying into Athens very late at night. I had a visa but the man behind the desk didn't dare take responsibility for letting me in while his boss was asleep. My composer friend who spoke Greek protested: "She's a famous singer. She's singing at the Megaron." But his Greek was not that good so they decided to let me go and detain him instead. "You go, madam," they said. I refused. It took a lot of persuasion to let my friend go.

Which passport stamps do I remember best? A Chinese visa intrigued me. I got myself one when I was alone in Hong Kong. The visa only took a few hours to be issued and it was an old-fashioned one, which I liked. The whole experience of just going over the border was beautiful. It was lovely to see all those Chinese people.

As for India, I go back every year now. I helped start a musical festival in Bombay a few years ago, which I always attend. When I was younger, it used to be emotionally hard for me to go back - I couldn't take more than a couple of weeks. Nowadays, I am much happier and more relaxed about going.

Bombay, where I was born and brought up, carries a great sense of survival. It's such an active, tough, positive place, in spite of all the competition. People still manage to have fun even when they are up against it. I get renewed when I see my friends there. Over here there is more of a tendency just to get depressed about things.

I'm a bit of a curiosity over there. People ring up my parents when they read about me. Western classical opera isn't well-known in India, but sometimes after performances Indians come and tell me that they enjoyed my voice in spite of not understanding the music. It's great to think I might have turned them on to opera.

Patricia Rozario is an Indian soprano. She is performing on 4 and 6 February in the Canary Islands, and on 1 March at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London.

News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'