July 7, 2006 will be quite a memorable day for me. That is the day the Republic of India awarded me the privilege to drive a car.
This, for me, was a struggle that spanned two years. I shall tell you how.
Attempt 1, July 22, 2004
Just when my vacations were being spent doing what I like (absolutely nothing), I was bullied by my parents into applying for a driver's license. After pointlessly resisting for a month, I relented. The test was due on July 22, 2004.
I am an idealist. I believe in the basic goodness of humanity. And then, there is the RTO. I went expecting the worst. And boy did I get it. The RTO, Jayanagar inspector made me run back and forth several times to get various irrelevant documents signed. I finally lost my cool, screamed at him for five minutes, and telling him where he could go, I left.
The vacations of 2005 passed with me happily indisposed and couldn't be bothered about a driver's license.
Attempt 2, July 07, 2006
As a challenge to myself and to prove a point to no one in particular I said a resolute "no" to kick-backs of any sort. I hoped against hope that RTO, Jayanagar wouldn't let me down.
I went to the RTO a week before July 7 and filled out the required forms and paid the prescribed fee. The day arrived, and soon the hour arrived with the RTO inspector nowhere to be seen. The test was to take place in front of the Jain temple. There was no sign of that. I finally decided to wait at a spot where a couple of others, equally lost, were waiting. I cautiously approached them and asked them whether they were there for the test as well. They said they were and they were waiting at that spot because I was. Poor bastards... I didn't have the heart to tell them that I was waiting there because they were.
The test finally started at the prescribed spot, albeit two hours late. I was the last in line and the test went smoothly. The inspector passed me. One week later, I collected my DL.
I was pleasently surprised that RTO, Jayanagar did not betray my hopes. I got my license without any hassles, kick-backs or "driving schools". Perhaps this is a sign of things to come. Then again, I might be hoping against hope.
For now, I am the proud owner of a shiny new Driver's License.