I got my license today... My driver's license. After all these years of waiting and illegal driving within the tiny campus that I live in, I finally got my license to face the main roads of the city! Considering the traffic around here, I am wondering whether that is my license to kill or be killed... :-S
I never liked the public transportation of my city.. (or any other city in India for that matter!). I had to deal with it on a daily basis for a couple of weeks before I got the letter from my university. Till then I had to go to another college here. And the trip was just pure HELL! I thought nothing could be worse than that. But I was wrong. Today, for the first time in my life, the buses of my city looked really attractive.
Mom and I had to be at the RTO (thats regional transportation office, right? I think I am right...) by 10:30am. Thats what my driving school teacher told me to do. So by 9:45am we decided to leave. There were a few things that had to be taken care of before we left, so by the time we actually left, it was 10am. We were going to the RTO on our scooter. I was so damn sure we were gonna be late. As I was driving through my beautiful campus (which hardly has any traffic at all on its wide and smooth roads... and yes, I was driving, not mom. I am a good driver you know!), that was the only thing I was worried about... being late. (ask clueless about my relationship with punctuality! She'll tell ya a thing or two :P)
That worry lasted only till I reached the OUT gate of my campus. Thats when I caught a glimpse of the main road and stopped worrying about being late.
All of a sudden, being late seemed like a much better option! All I wanted to do was get to the RTO office... alive and in one piece! Being late is no big deal... really....
I was not paranoid! The traffic was really that bad! I paused a bit just outside my campus gate... took a deep breath... and plunged into the mad rush of the 10am traffic! That was when I started to think... city buses are not bad... even if they are crowded and stinky and all that... they are safer than two-wheeler...
It was about 30 mins of pure hell for me. By the time we reached the RTO, I totally fell in love with the local buses. At least you don't drive them and don't have to worry about traffic. You may ask..."if you love the buses so much, why didn't you just hop on to one of them? why take the scooter?". Thats because I needed a two-wheeler license and I needed my scooter to put the darn 8.
Driving test was a piece of cake. It was a walk in the park compared to the mad driving that I had done that morning! Actually, its no wonder that there are so many bad drivers running about the city. All I had to do to get my 2-wheeler license was to make a nice "8" without putting my foot on the ground. And for my 4-wheeler license, I just had to start the car, move a bit, take a U-turn and get back to the starting point. And you know what? The inspector didn't even enter the car when I was taking my test. My driving school teacher was in the car instead. Its a sad state of affairs... Its sad that these driving school people have the RTO inspectors in their pockets. Its totally not fair that a person like me, who goes through the school, gets an easy test, while those who go on their own, fail the test even if their car stalls once. And they get a more difficult course where they have to reverse the car, drive on a slope and that kinda stuff. Its all about money... I didn't know about it till a friend told me recently, that when you join a driving school and pay the fees, the fees is not just for the driving lessons and for the petrol, it also includes a bit of bribe money.
OH MY GOD!
I had no idea! Corruption has become a very common thing in our country... yes I know... But I feel that there are a few sectors here and there which need to be corruption free and the Regional Transportation Office is one of them! And I am not talking about just the inspectors... I mean, right from the highest level. Don't they also face the same traffic that we do? Don't they understand that the reason for such unruly traffic is the fact that they simply give a license to anyone who comes in and moves the car a bit, then gives them a... ah.... token of appreciation? Don't they want to live in a safer place and drive on safer roads?! I know that if I had taken the regular, non-briber's test, I might have failed. And that wouldn't be my fault! Driving schools everywhere in this country just train the students to do the bare minimum that will be asked in the test.
I think that we shouldn't really blame the RTO inspectors... come to think of it, they are over-loaded with work. You should see the number of people that they have to test per day. And I am pretty sure that their salary is not directly proportional to the work they do.... they have to stand under the blazing hot sun, day after day, watching people take the two-wheeler test and then once thats done, they have to turn their attention to the 4-wheelers. So I do feel sorry for them. I guess its a problem with the entire system. Can't put the blame on the poor inspectors. Maybe if they got a better salary and better working conditions, things might have been different.
Ah well... I got my license. I would like to believe that I got it because I really am a good driver and not because of any other factor such as money. I guess I'll just have to believe what I want to believe to make myself happy. (My parents think I am a good driver though. And they won't lie to me about such things. Driving in this country IS matter of life and death and one does need good driving skills to survive. I learnt that today... So I guess its ok for me to believe that I am not a bad driver).
So watch out India! Macho Girl has got her driver's license... FINALLY! She's got a license to thrill! Thrill you all with her excellent driving skills! :)
And watch out world! You know what is said about Indian drivers!
If you can drive a car on Indian roads, you can drive a car easily anywhere else in the world! MUAHAHAHAHA! :D