The dream of many an Indian citizens is to get a green card in the USA or a PR in New Zealand, Australia  or the UK to live the remaining years of his lives in a ‘clean’ environment, where a common man commands the same respect and rights as the privileged and his sight is ornamented by both, modernity & natural beauty.

Moreso, when it comes to travelling, most of us prefer going to Austria, Switzerland or New Zealand to see the snow-clad mountains, turning a blind eye to the less trodden and much beautiful Himalayan Ranges. We like to flutter to Maldives & Bali to enjoy the sea but hardly know of the serene beaches of Andaman & Nicobar Islands- particularly the Hevelock & Neil Islands. Perhaps India is one of richest countries when it comes to natural beauty and has a unique environment saturated with age old traditions, culture and spirituality besides all the beauty of nature which engulfs one. Yoga & Panchkarma Ayurvedic Spa in India manages to attract and intrigue flocks of foreign tourists. Perhaps the answer to our ‘travel lust’, thirst to witness diverse environments and breathtaking views seeks no other land but the very heart of our own country.

A very interesting petition has been filed in the Kerala High Court by a 74-year-old US citizen Johnny Paul Pierce who now wants to spend the rest of his life in God’s Own country, Kerala. The brief and intriguing facts of the case are that the petitioner was stranded in India due to travel restrictions  imposed on account of the Global Covid-19 pandemic.  He was also desperate to get back to the USA, but God had differing & better plans for him. The five-month forced stay in Kerala was such a novel & soul-soothing experience for him that he unilaterally decided to spend the rest of his life where he lay stranded. Pierce has petitioned & pleaded before the Kerala High Court for conversion of his Tourist Visa into a Business Visa.

“My aspiration is to show a viable business model and get a five-year business visa. The easiest way to become a resident is to marry an Indian, but I am 74 and probably past that option,” he said. Johnny is planning to set up a centre for foreigners and explore the tourism potential in Kerala. “ Those who could afford to stay long term are generally the retired folks who are at the risk of contracting the virus in the USA,” says Pierce.

The petitioner has asserted that he feels absolutely safe in Kerala where the entire state has only reported 25 deaths. He has pleaded for the issuance of a directive to the government to permit him to apply for a conversion of his tourist visa into a business visa without having to leave the country. He had arrived in India on February 26 on a tourist visa which is valid till January 26, 2025. He is presently staying at Kandanadu in Ernakulam. It is noteworthy that this is his fifth visit to India as a tourist. As per the visa regulations, he is permitted for a  continuous stay for only 180 days under  the tourist visa which is going to expire on August 24, 2020 and he cannot apply for conversion of his tourist visa into a business visa without returning back to USA.

His reasons for staying back in Kerala are manifold. He realises that it would be risky for him to return to the US at the age of 74. He genuinely feels that there is chaos in the USA whereas he prefers living in Kerala peacefully and practise yoga & meditation delightfully. He also wishes to make his stay a business proposition and is presently negotiating with resorts near Wagamon for a long term lease. He has made many friends in Kerala and loves Wagamon because it is not crowded and he loves such a location far from the maddening crowd. He also plans to produce a film with location in and around Wagamon.

This is an inspirational petition as his love for peace, tranquility, natural sights, yoga & meditation reflect his desire to live the remaining years of life in this wonderful &  ‘Incredible India’, far from the buzzing crowd, in the lap of nature. Let’s hope his desires are fulfilled by the Kerala High Court and his petition is allowed.

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