01 March 2008

Mission: Driving License

So this was my first peek into the lives of our sarkari offices- the R.T.O (supposed to be the Regional Transport Office) to be precise. I turned 18 recently (read the postscript), so my papa finally realized that he could get me a driving license. It’s not like you have to wait till you get 18 to get yourself a driving license at least in this part of India, but then I guess I've inherited the laidback attitude from my father.

Okay coming back to the R.T.O rendezvous, I was escorted by one Yadav dude (albeit a fifty year old dude!), who is probably in this business for quite sometime but still seems nervous like an amateur. Well he’s kinda middleman who makes it easy to get a license out of the clutches of the R.T.O people, one of my friend tried to get it the straight way but ended up being failed thrice in the driving test (lol).

It was an area office, so the building isn’t so big, but man it stinks! Not that I expected a government office to be any good, but I had visited our friendly post-office quite a few times and I never thought anything could be worse than this. Plaster falling of the blue and red walls (which were supposed to be half blue half red, but red probably gave up the struggle for survival sometime back and gave way to more blue), glorious red marks of humara UP ka paan made by veterans of beetle leaves, the maze on the doors had been shredded mercilessly. There were windows but no glass in them, perhaps to avoid the pain of opening the windows to let the breezes in.

But the most distinct feature were the innumerous files, light brown files stacked up in piles, ten or twenty piles and not files in each small room, I’m sure no one would ever dare to search for a record in these files. White pages had turned yellow and even the wood pulp used in them must have started decomposing. Looking at them the only idea you’ll get is “do these people even know that computers exist?”

Anyway Mr. Yadav got me a couple of forms that had an indefinite amount of questions but he asked me to fill minimal. Next up we went to get the documents verified and then he went to deposit the bucks (he wouldn’t dare to take me there- of course he won’t want me to know what was the actual amount used). And then the real fun took place, there was supposed to be a written test-

These people had special question papers with answers already marked on them for people like me who applied through middlemen. Looks like the R.T.O doesn’t want to issue licenses without accommodating the middlemen in their ranks. So I finished the paper, I gathered that only 50% marks were required, so I didn’t care to recheck…

Well the experience was really cool, one always sees these things in films, but actually seeing the conditions of official files, officials and the working system in government offices does make you laugh a lot.

PS: I had written this way back in June 2006 :). Basically I have been recycling old diary entries to generate new posts.. ;)


Akash said...

I was told, "Don't fill anything there. I'll take care of it".
I didn't fill anything. I got my learners license.

After 6 months, I went to the RTO for the main drivers license, where I was asked "Do you know how to drive a Car?". I said "Yes". He said "Explain". I told him how to. 10 minutes, I had my license! :D

Believe me, this is exactly how it happened!

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