This time, comedian Lilly Singh was not amused.
As the Indo-Canadian YouTube celebrity went to the Indian Consulate in Toronto for a visa for a book tour in India starting later this month, she was given a three-month business visa, instead of a travel document for a longer term.
Miffed at that, and at “rude behaviour” there, she tweeted a complaint to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Swaraj directed India’s High Commissioner in Ottawa Vikas Swarup to address the matter, while tweeting back to Singh: “Let me see what best can we do for you.”
On Saturday, Swarup, also the celebrated author of Slumdog Millionaire, contacted Singh on Twitter: “Please send me your contact particulars on my official twitter handle. Happy to be of assistance.”
Given the directions from the minister, officials are looking at a longer-term visa for Singh, who has often travelled to India in the past.
In an emailed response, Swarup said the minister “has asked Lilly Singh to contact me. I am waiting for her to do so. We will try our very best to resolve her visa issue.”
While visas to India are usually handled by an outsourcing agency, the 28-year-old Singh visited the consulate in Toronto.
Less than satisfied with the result, she used her considerable social media heft (2.24 million followers on Twitter; over 11 million subscribers on YouTube) to make her point.
First, she tweeted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi: “For travel to India, the consulate makes acquiring a visa the most difficult task. I hope one day @narendramodi can remedy this. It’s sad.”
During that tweetstorm, she said she did “love India” but the consulate was “literally the worst place on earth.”
Then to Swaraj: “just a kind note to make you aware that the consulate of India in Toronto is extremely difficult and unprofessional.”
In between, she said she received a “lesser visa” with “more documentation than ever before” and that she was told she would get “a one year visa. That was of course when staff wanted a picture though.”
The Indian consulate replied that an “emergency business visa based on your documentation, was issued in about 1 hr,” and asked her to email them about the “specific difficulty”.
Singh, who is among the highest-grossing YouTube stars in the world, will be touring India, covering Mumbai, Hyderabad and Delhi. Her book has already reached the top spot on the non-fiction bestsellers list in Canada.
Meanwhile, as Indian officials scramble to deal with the visa affair, she may have lived up to the title of that book, How to be a Bawse: A Guide To Conquering Life.