Me and Mycobacterium tuberculosis by Shahaduz Zaman

Published in the July 2014 Migrant Labor issue of Words Without Borders.


I began compiling all the documentation required for the visa. It was an undertaking involving many pieces of paper, certificates, and forms. I stayed up late into the night filling out these forms with as much concentration as if I were sitting for the Higher Secondary Certificate exams. I researched and discovered that the British Consulate no longer accepted visa applications directly. They had freed themselves from the hassle of having to deal with us face-to-face on a daily basis. This responsibility they had granted to their local representatives. They merely pulled the strings from afar. When I went to submit my application to the local representative office, I was bewildered by the solemn atmosphere, the unassailable security, and the boundless caution that I encountered. Several people sat in the air-conditioned reception room holding their applications. A deep anxiety was written on their faces, as if all had been accused of some dastardly crime. And they were here showing up for the court case.