Monday, July 03, 2006

License to kill... MUAHAHAHAHA!

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

15 comments:

soleil said...

Congrats on getting your license! :D
My mum said the Malaysian driving test is quite hard as well. It comprises the written theory test on the traffic rules and the practical driving test itself. Before the practical test, you have to drive at least 10 hours with the learner's license. The practical test has slope, parking and driving on the road. The total cost to get your license in Malaysia is about RM1000 which is around Singapore $500. Compared to India, is this expensive?

Confused Soul said...

Congrats!! To both of us!! haha..
I completely agree with you that once you learn to drive in India, you can drive anywhere in the world..seriously.. its so true.. cycles, scooters, autos.. and people, who think the road is theirs.. or probably a park to stroll in!! God! They come in front of you from nowhere.. and sometimes take a right turn when they are in the extreme left side of the road..!!
And about driving skills, my parents complimented me too!! Am happy about that :D
You really can't do anything about the RTOs you know.. though I don't like the system at all.. I just had to drive 100 metres or so.. not even a U turn or anything..
Anywayz leaving all that apart, both of us HAVE licenses.. we couldn't be happier!! :D :D

Macho Girl said...

#soleil
Thanks! :D:D
Wow! the Malaysian driving test sure sounds hard! But then again, thats how a real driving test should be! I wasn't tested on slope and parking, but I learnt that from Dad anyways. And about the total cost, I think thats expensive compared to India... I am not sure what the exact fee is though... the driving school normally pays on our behalf... we pay the driving school for the lessons and the license fee combined. Still, it definitely doesn't amount to SGD500! Thats a lot of money! :O

#confused girl
Haha! Yes! Now both of us can drive anywhere, anytime! :P Seriously dudette, the cyclists scare me on the roads! The just happily decide to turn all of a sudden, then make the turn without looking back to check if the road is free! And the autos, one guy almost hit me! :S
No U-turn for you??????? Thats amazing! I won't say "lucky you" though! I don't find U-turn all that difficult. Its actually a walk in the park on that empty beach road! (walk in the beach!! :P)
And you said it m'dear! Both of us have license and don't have to take the test for another 20 yrs! :D:D

moonlight said...

congratulations! drive safely.its better to arrive late than be A LATE...sorry dint mean to scare u there.

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

congrats on your license. sad state of affairs there, as far as the Road Transport Office goes.

Macho Girl said...

#moonlight
Thanks! I'll drive safely :)And don't worry! u didnt scare me ;)

#TGFI
Thanks :)
And I agree with the RTO part. Something needs to be done to revolutionize the system :(

Clueless said...

Heylo! 7th to comment? *sniff*

Good for you about the license! I'm yet to finish my classes even - I put them on hold so that I could take my vacation. I'm seriously worried I won't have enough time to finish my classes and then take the test before I get back to Sg. :(

And I have a feeling the tests here are much harder - they ask us theory questions and stuff. Yikes. Soleil's sounds harder, so I'll stop complaining. :P

Macho Girl said...

#clueless
Sorry m'dear! thats wat happens when u go on long vacations! It happened to me on yer blog when I went! So... no big deal. Who cares if u r 7th?! (better be the 1st next time! Or else! :P)

Doesn't ur driving school let u take make-up classes? When I missed classes because of vacation, I used to drive 10kms per day instead of the normal 5 just to make up for what i missed. Ask them and find out if thats possible.

And about the test... i thought they asked theory qns only to get ur LLR. Thats what happens here and thats what andromeda told meabout Sg. If u've already got ur LLR, u must have finished ur theory test. For me they just asked a few things like "whats the hand signal if you want to stop the car, whats it for turning left" and that sorta easy stuff. Don't worry lah! :)

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

clueless,
next time i'll wait for you before i comment. :p ;)

Hiren said...

The way things are happening in the local trains, we will probably need the macho attitude everywhere.

Macho Girl said...

#tgfi
once clueless gets back from her vacation, there will be no stopping her! This is a temporary phase :P

#hiren
you said it. Shocking news :(

Clueless said...

TGFI,
Awwww! That's so sweet! But Macho's right - it was just a temporary phase. Watch me spring back into action! :D

athcnv said...

Pah! 500 SGD? That's nothing! According to the AA driving school website in the UK (http://www.theaa.com/drivingschool/the_cost.html)

lessons (at that school) cost an average of £22, and the national average for the number of lessons needed is 45. With those numbers, lessons will cost £990!

The cost of the test is also on top of that - approx. £70!

In addition, the test has 3 components (I think). A multi-choice theory test, a hazard perception test (watch a video and press a button when you see a hazard developing) and the practical test.

athcnv said...

UK£ 1,000 = 6,877.47788 Malaysian ringgit OR 2,949.35732 Singapore dollars.

And I had to take the practical test 3 times! To pass, you can't get more than 0 majors and 15 minors. My tests went....

4 majors 17 minors - FAIL
1 major 13 minors - FAIL
0 majors 13 minors - PASS!

athcnv said...

Erm....btw, 4 majors and 17 minors is quite a lot, considering the test wasn't "terminated early in the interests of public safety", and the fact that we didn't crash into anything.

Actually, during your lessons, did anyone teach you what to do in the event of brake failure? It seems to happen quite a lot in indian news stories - and indian movies!