The 12-euro ride took me to Piazza Paolo Ferrari, the Consulate address, which is incidentally, where I had booked my AirBnB for the night. But, first things first. The Consulate General of India in Milan has a very familiar air. People inside drinking masala tea, were addressing each other in Hindi, as two men discussed the fiery election wind sweeping across India. One of the women asked me to fill out a little form and told me that I needed to pay 14 euros. As I obliged, she asked me to get two copies of my passport, visa, flight tickets, and the police report, along with three passport-size of my photograph. I got my copies from a stationery supply store nearby and the Consulate asked me to come after 2 hours, as they assured I would be handed a white Emergency Passport that would allow me entry to my country for one time, before it expires. Relieved partially, I walked to my AirBnb and stationed my luggage for the day. I needed to see Da Vinci's art after the rough day I'd had. I needed a recovery. Two hours later, following some signatures, I got my Emergency Passport, and it was valid for a month!
The moment I got out of the enormous door of the Consulate General of India, I noticed how insanely beautiful the city of Milan is. Cobble-stoned main streets with trams passing through from time to time, historical architecture with sublime high-street fashion arcades, stunning classical buildings with modern high-rises peeping between alleyways - adorn the ancient city. With a heavy sigh of relief, I started walking to a brightly-coloured gelato store across the street. I was hungry, and Leonardo can wait.
So, here is a quick guide to lower your panic levels in case your passport is lost/stolen:
1. ALWAYS, and this is an imperative, keep the major stack of your money and your backup debit/credit inside your main luggage that has a combination lock system.
2. Never carry all your money and cards together in a bunch.
3. Carry in your main luggage a folder with at least 5 copies of your passport, visa, flight tickets, another address and DOB proof (preferably your Adhaar card) and a handful of your passport-sized photographs. Also, keep scanned copies of all these documents in your mail as well as your phone.
4. The moment you notice you passport gone, head straight to the police station and report a loss of passport.
5. You would need to produce your document proof there and hence carry your scanned copies in your phone. Get the police officer to sign and stamp the report of loss/theft.
6. Ask them if it's possible to make a copy. If there is no such option, make some copies from a nearby copy store.
7. You need to find the nearest Consulate General of India. If you're in luck, it will be in the very city you lost your passport in. But if not, find the nearest city with our Embassy and take a cheap mode of transport to that city. Flight travel would require a passport and hence your options are limited to train and road. If I had lost my passport in Florence, I would need to file a police report in Florence and THEN come to Milan because the Consulate General of India is in Milan.
8. Phone the embassy and ask the price for an Emergency Passport and have the amount ready by the time you go in. Be at the Consulate as sooner in the day as you can. You will get your emergency passport in no time. But if you go after the first half, chances are, you won't be able to get your hands on an Emergency Passport on the same day.
9. Produce the police report along with copies of all your documents (passport, visa, flight tickets) to the Consulate for a smooth process. Be patient and answer any questions they ask with honestly.
10. And most importantly, don't panic. You have a way out. These things happen way too often in foreign countries and you will be helped by friendly officials.
Also, posting here the addresses of the Indian Consulate services in Italy:
Consulate General of India
Piazza Paolo Ferrari, 8 - 20121, Milan
20121 Milan, Italy
Tel: (0039) 02 80 57 691/ 02 86 53 37
Maximum 7-minute walk from Duomo Cathedral, 5-minute walk from Milano Centrale station
How to reach Subway:
Line 1 (Red), stop at "Cordusio"Tram: 1 - stop at Santa Margherita 2, 12, 14, 16, 27 - stop at Via Orefici Piazza Cordusio
The Embassy of India
Via XX Settembre 5; next to the Palazzo del Quirinale
00187 - Roma RM, Italy
Tel: (0039) 064884642-3-4-5
Maximum 20-minute walk from the Coloseum
How to reach Subway:
Line A, stop at "Repubblica". Maximum 6-minute walk
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