Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My biggest achievement till date

   Looking at the title, if you had thought I am writing about stuff after having achieved something really big in my personal life, you got it wrong. Or if you had thought I had done something astonishing in my professional life, you have still got it wrong. Some of you might already be thinking that finally some girl telling yes to marry this crazy guy has to be the biggest :), no you still got it wrong. Well, all I have managed is to get a driving license for a 2-wheeler . And yes, I do consider this as the biggest thing I have achieved. I can already hear somebody asking me, "Hey, you are 28. Getting a 2-wheeler license now!! What the fuck you were doing all these years :)?". I would answer you telling, "Actually, actually,.........".

  We always blame the Government babus hearing stories from our friends and relatives on their horrible experiences which they had come across. For me, I do not want to base my opinion hearing things from here and there. And hence, I thought I will directly go and apply in RTO without approaching a Driving school. I wanted myself to go and see and experience what is it like in getting things done in RTO. My area falls under Jaya Nagar, and hence went to Jaya Nagar 4th Block RTO.

  My Trip 1 to RTO: You first have to apply for an LLR. Only after a month of getting LLR, you can apply for a DL. Before I went to RTO, I had googled a bit on "getting a DL" and other stuff. I realized they ask some simple questions orally about basic traffic rules. And hence went little prepared.Once in RTO, paid the requisite fees for applying LLR.  The next step is to get the signature from the "sir". Well, there is an officer from whom you need to get signature, and the peon outside instructs you to address him as "sir". I went to "sir" and the "sir" signed on the form. I was instructed to go and give the test. Went to the room thinking there will be an Oral test, but to my surprise it was a written test. 

   The test room was a kind of class room in a school with around 10 people sitting and taking the test. The person-in-charge over there handed over a question paper which was a laminated one and an answer sheet. Actually, they have set of 10 question papers which they give in rotation to people appearing for test. The test had 15 questions out of which you had to get 10 right to clear the test. And the time given is 15 mins, if I am not wrong. First look at the questions, I started wondering whether this test is meant for somebody to secure a license for a 2-wheeler or for someone who wants to become a traffic police.  Not many questions I was able to even comprehend. But to my luck, the question paper had the answers marked in it for some questions. In fact, you need to see it little deeply to notice it. Perhaps, some guy while taking the test earlier, marked the answers in the question paper itself. On seeing this, my eyes lit up and I finished the test faster by giving the same answers, and went and submitted the paper to the guy. He collected the paper and asked me to go and sit.

   After a few minutes, the guy called out my name and said, "Guru, neevu testinalli fail aagedeera. Ondu vaara bittu banni. (Guru, you have failed in the test. Come and appear again after a week)". For a moment, I cannot believe I have failed in an LLR test. For some strange reason, I had thought failure is not an option in this one. Add to this, the girl sitting next to me gave me a smile because she has passed, and I have failed. I could see the corrected answer paper of mine on the table, and I realized all those which had answers marked in the question paper were incorrect. Well, I realized its actually a trap laid out by these guys, and I went and sat beautifully inside it. Went home dejected.

My Trip 2 to RTO: No need to pay any fees again. But again had to go and get "sir's" signature. Sir signed and went to the test room again. Lot prepared this time. Got the question paper, but of a different series. Again answers marked in the question paper. However, this time I had things covered and most of them I was confident of. Still I would say some questions were beyond comprehension: A question read:"What should be distance between a towing vehicle and towed vehicle?" For God's sake, why should a guy applying for a 2-wheeler should be aware of this? Anyways, I completed the test and went and submitted the answer sheet and the question paper to the guy. Like last time, he asked me to go and sit. I told him its ok I will stand here itself, since I do not want him to call out my name and say I have failed again, in case of any eventuality. 

  The guy corrected, and said: "Guru, neevu mattu fail aagedeera.(Guru, you have failed again)". I hated that word "again". Little surprised this time, since I knew I got it right. I asked him to show my answer paper. He said, "What? Come again.". I said I want to see my corrected paper to which he straight away said:"I cant give you". Nothing more you can do in these places than keeping quiet. Let me talk about the other side of it. People giving test coming through driving school are not necessarily asked to appear for test. Even those who appear had their driving school's rubber stamp in their application form which is a sign for the testing guy to understand where they are from. And as expected, none of them failed. This was happening both the times I had come.  To know my next step, I asked the guy  should I come and appear for the test again next week? He said, "No more tests, next week you will have oral test".

My Trip 3 to RTO: Again to go and get sir's signature. Sir while signing asked: "So, 3rd time ah?" I gave a smile.  This time, for the oral test, its altogether a different environment. It exactly is a class room kind of a set up where around 30 to 40 people are sitting. In the teacher's place, a traffic police is sitting who is a lady. She calls out the names one by one. When their turn comes, they have to go to her. She will ask you to show some hand signals. On convincing her, you will be cleared. My turn comes. I go to her. She tells how do you show stop signal? I showed. Then, how do you show left turn signal? I did. How do you show right turn? I did. Then she showed a chart and asked some questions showing some signals and directions, most of which I was able to answer. Then she asked me one question: "You are approaching a railway crossing. Which gear will you be in?". Feeling a little shy to tell her that I don't know to ride a geared vehicle, I answered saying: "Mam, actually, I am applying for a non-geared vehicle". She gave me a smile which had the message: "Thu nun magane".(Friends, please help me in translating this phrase into English :) ). I too gave a smile, in fact, the only thing I had been doing right from day I entered RTO. The traffic police cleared the test, and asked me to come and collect the LLR the week after.

My Trip 4 to RTO: On the specified day, which was actually a week after I gave the last test, I was in there right when the office opened, around 10:30. I went to the person from whom I am supposed to collect it and asked him for the LLR. He said: "Come after 4 P.M". I said: "Sir, I was told to come today". He replied: "Don't you understand what I say. I said come after 4 P.M. We issue LLR's only after 4 P.M". Went back.

My Trip 5 to RTO: Evening 4 PM the same day. I went and collected. Half the work done.

My Trip 6 to RTO: Now, the next stage. The test for DL and getting a DL. I had to pay Rs.250 at the counter, and fill a form. Once done, next thing is to go to that "sir" for signature. Sir signed and asked me to go the registrar. The registrar tells to first get an envelope with some Rs.30 stamps sticked to it. Got the envelope and went to the registrar. Registrar asks to sign in the register and tells me to go and give driving test which is in a different place altogether. I asked him, "Sir, which is the place where I should go for the driving test?". The registrar replies: "What you were doing when I was telling to the guy before you? Is it my job to sit and tell each and everybody where is the driving test? Bandbitru nun makklu (Pata nahin kahan kahan se aatey). Go ask that guy".  Well, by now, I am more or less used to the RTO language.

  I went to the place where the driving test is conducted with my Honda activa. The testing inspector collects the documents. To conduct the test, he asked to me go around the park and come, using hand signals at appropriate places. I took a round as per their instructions and again came back to the place from where I started. The police said to park the vehicle aside and come. I parked aside and went. He asked: "Where did you park the vehicle?". I said, here only sir. He said: "Do you know the parking rules? I am asking you only man, do you know the parking rules?". I just kept looking at him since I did not understood whats going on, after all, its him who asked me to park aside. He said again: "You should always park in the opposite side. Where have you parked?". I could not talk much. However, I said, "Sir, you said to park". To which he replied:"I told you to park. You should know where to park". Saying this, he failed me in the test and told me to come and appear again after a week. The pattern by now is very clear, there is no getting away without throwing money at them. He kept looking at me. I left the place.

My trip 7 to RTO: Went and paid Rs.50 for re-appearing in the test. Took the signature again, and the sir said to go and directly appear for the test. Went there. The police said to go back to the office and enter in the registrar and come. I said, the officer there had told me to come here directly. The police said: "Dont you understand what I say." I left the place and went to the office again. Got it signed by the registrar. Came to the police again. He looked at the vehicle and said:"Go and put the L sticker on both the sides and come". Yes, its my fault to go without L, however there are quite a few vehicles without L symbol. But then, the others are through agents. I searched for an electric shop and bought a red cellophone tape, and got the L done by myself and went to the police again. He looked at the vehicle and asked: "How did you get this done?". I said I bought a red tape and got it done. He said: "No no, this will not do. This will go off in a day or two. Go and get it painted from any shop. And have a look at this form which tells about the rules of L. The length of the L should be 18cm and width should be so and so cm. Go and get it done like this". And showed me a shop where the painting can be done. I stood there for a minute without able to realize what is going around me.

    By now, I was fed up and thought of going back home. But then, I realized the story is going to be the same whenever I come again. I went around searching for a shop to get it painted, could not find any. I went back to the guy and said I could not find any shop. He said:"But, without the painted L, you will fail the test. Do you want to pass or fail?". Without telling anything, I looked at him helplessly. I asked him: "Tell me, what can I do now?". He said, "Ok,do one thing. Pay me Rs.150, I will see you through this test.". Shamelessly, I said yes. I had no option. I lost my patience. I lost my energy. I lost everything. Not able to resist anymore. At a time when the whole nation is going gaga all over corruption, here I am, helplessly supported the corruption even more. And yes, I achieved getting my DL, of course through bribing.

    Moral of the story: "Zyaada shaana math banao, chup chaap go to a Driving School and get the job done." Courtesy: My friends Ashwath and Badri. I accept it friends. No wonder why my friend, Deepak Sharma, keeps reminding me, "Yaar Guru bhai, aap tho bohoth bada C ho :) ".

P.S:  Friends, think for a second. The arrongant behavior of these babus(I have not even mentioned half of the abusive language here), the kind of methods they deploy, what kind of laws can restrict them? None. Whatever law you bring, it might restrict them from asking directly. However, you will be forced to such a corner, you yourself will voluntarily start bribing them. Simple question: Lokpal or Jan Lokpal or Aruna Roy's Lokpal. You bring in whichever pal you want, what can change the mindset of these unscrupulous people?

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11 comments:

Sathishkumar said...

Good one My Friend...i faced the same scenarios in Madras University when i went for my name change in a certificate...A big question to everyone how we are going to handle this kind of persons????

dsharma said...

Guru bhai thats the reality of all the Government offices, and i would be quite surprised if it gets changed even after the long fast from Mr Anna Hazare. But the common man can do nothing despite paying the bribe to get his work done.

visu said...

Good Try da:-) Hereafter u will give the bribe ASAP u enter in to the government office.

minkoo said...

Even i have a similar story. tried getting passport on my own and it took several rounds to passport office and police stations and finally got the passport after 1 year.
Same when i applied for marriage certificate on my own.
No matter what you do, these people are so corrupt that they force you to bribe and if you resist, they will harass you to the extent that you give up!!!

I share the same feelings Guru, but still i would say don't give up. Things might change for the better some day :)

Rekha S Srinivasan said...

Closed Circuit Cameras & Lokpal Bill could bring in some orderliness by & by.

Abhilasha said...

I appriciate your effort Guru

Guru Prasad said...

thanks friends for leaving your comments....

@rekakka: CCTV cameras dont work in India, and lokpal implementation i seriously doubt it...

@mayank: i feel passport is little better than RTO..bcos in passport, if the documents are in-tact, the guy mite delay it, but he has to give it ultimately..however in case of RTO, clearing you is totally in the discretion of the testing police and well, he can just take you for a ride....

Guru Prasad said...

@satish: how to handle them...god knows :)

@deepak: i still remember the situation you were in when you had the birth certificate issue.. :)

@visu: will surely think about it next time :)

@abilasha: thanks abilasha..

Abs said...

Nice article Guru..real achievement for sure!!! Just realized how easy it was for me to get a license thro a driving school! And about the corruption part...true, we are not able to help much about it for now, but things will change for sure..for good!!

Guru Prasad said...

thanks abi :)

pradeep said...

Guru sir,nice one.
I have passed both 2 wheeler and 4 wheeler test without actually presence @ RTO.just bribed 500Rs.
as i am at Pune and travel may cost me upto 600.So anyway 500 bribe is too good for me as didnt need to visit them agin. Now secure for next 20yrs atleast.