“If u r driving in the wrong direction, God will provide ‘U’ turns”

So I finally, finally, finally went and got my Learner’s License. (From the Vasant Vihar RTO. Which says it’s open on weekdays till 1 pm, except not really.) You have to go to this counter-thingy inside the gate which has “Learner’s License” written above it in large, not-so-friendly letters (although that could just be my imagination and their rain-washed character). There’s a guy sitting there eating biscuits and drinking tea, on finishing which, he’ll say that there are only ten minutes before the counter closes. You simultaneously stare at your watch and all the people in the queue in front of you (tricky, btw) while wondering whether the guy sniffling and coughing behind you has swine flu or not. If you eventually reach the counter, the guy will glance through your form, circle a few things (which can be disconcerting for those who aren’t used to Physics teachers circling lab experiment readings), ask you to sign in a dozen places, and also casually mention that those sweet biskuts get stuck in his teeth. Incidentally, mentioning that he may have cavities is rather futile. Oh and for the residence proof, though the passport is — in His own (translated) words — “the quintessential age and residence proof”, take it only if you want to field requests for taking him along on your next trip abroad.

Anyway, after that you have to go inside the main building. The room is pretty huge with counters along the walls and seats in the middle. They have ACs too, although it isn’t really cold because (as usual) the doors are open. You basically whizz from one counter to the other, paying 30 bucks (car only; another 30 for two-wheelers) at one, being insisted upon taking a license for two-wheelers at another (and just when you’ve decided to give in agree, they’ll tell you that it’s too much hassle because they’ve already made the receipt). Then you go to the next counter, the “Biomatrics” one. This is where they take your fingerprint, a miserable excuse for a digital signature and go out of their way to take the most horrifying photograph possible (which’ll make your mom say that you look like a terrorist, even as you half-heartedly deny such preposterous allegations).

After that you go get your photo taken again at another counter (don’t ask why) and they’ll give you a huuuge chart with road signs on one side and loads of stuff on the other (which you might not get time to read fully, because you didn’t know it was there). Then you have to sit at a computer and answer 20 questions in 20 minutes. The questions are multiple-choice ones with at least two choices being right in almost every question; sadly, you get to choose only one. (I could tell you some of the questions, except it would be useless since I don’t know the answers). You get to know if you passed soon after you finish the test. Then, if you pass, they give you the learner’s license (basically an A4 sheet with said horrible photo on it).

[Oh btw, all the stuff on that huge chart can be found at the Transport Dept website here. They even have the required forms available for download. I’m impressed — I actually managed to find stuff on a government website without wanting to throw my mousepad at their marquee text.]

N.B. If you’re wondering about the post title, you won’t once you go inside the main room and read what’s on those signs pasted everywhere.