Amidst the lockdown impositions in various countries throughout the world, several people have found themselves stranded in foreign countries seeking to go back to their homes. But this certainly isn’t the case with a 74-year old US man currently in God’s Own Country- Kerala.
According to TNIE, the man named Johnny Paul Pierce reached India on February 26. He has been staying in Kandanad, Ernakulam ever since the first lockdown was imposed 5 months ago.
But he seems to be more than pleased with how the situation turned out to be. “Actually, I am a hermit, so I have enjoyed the lockdown because I experience much more meditation,” he said.
This has been his 5th visit as a tourist to the country, and now he’s made up his mind to continue living here for the rest of his life.
He has now moved Kerala High Court in the hope to convert his tourist visa into a business one. Weighing his options, he says, “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.”
This business model allegedly includes a potential tourism center for Kerala so that other foreigners like him could visit the place.”I would recruit residents from the USA. 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,” he said. “It’s risky to travel to the US at the age of 74. It is chaos there. And I love Kerala. I don’t want to go back and I would like to live here peacefully,” he added. “I am absolutely safe in Kerala where the entire state has only reported 25 deaths (sic),” he concludes.
The official guidelines of the Indian government only permit a continuous stay of a total of 180 days for foreigners with tourist visas. In this case, it would expire on August 24 for him. He thus approached the Kerala High Court and petitioned through advocate Sanju S. Nair. He seeks a directive to permit him to apply for the conversion of his visa without having to leave the country as per the rules.
He seems to have chalked everything out for his plan to stay on. He chose Wagamon as the perfect location for him as according to him, it not a very crowded space. On his plans on what exactly he would do here, he explains, “My Indian friend Rajesh has always been with me. Rajesh is a scriptwriter and we have plans to produce a movie. We have been on to at least a dozen movie sets. Since most entertainment is now online and not in theatres, we are making the dialogue much more in English instead of Malayalam to give it a more universal appeal. We have entered the preproduction stage and are about to give a casting call. Our location will be in and around Wagamon.”
What do you guys think of this? Where would you like to be stranded during this lockdown? Tell us!