My Driving Licence
If you don't have your own transport, commuting is very difficult in Bangalore
Auto drivers can really test your patience in Bangalore
It is easy to obtain a driving licence in Bangalore
How I Obtained My Driving Licence
It wasn't easy but ....
I woke up one morning and decided that I had had enough of auto rickshaw drivers ‘taking me for a ride’. [Pun intended!]
Luckily, I am blessed with an adorable son who will support my every decision if it involves some adventure for him as well! We both decided to find our way to the R.T.O. which is very far from where we live. The drive there was an adventure in itself!
On reaching the R.T.O. we were ushered upstairs into a queue which had many horribly nervous people standing in it and studying their notes.
I turned to my son and said, “This isn’t going to work out! Neither am I nervous, nor do I have any material to study from!”
“Never mind!” was his encouraging reply. “We can come again!” [Of course, it would just be another adventure!]
“What are you studying?” I asked the lady next to me in line.
“Road signs!” she replied.
By now I was quite sure it wasn’t going to work out!
I was led into a room where a very strict officer sat behind a desk and glared at me above his huge spectacles! I wondered if a smile from me would help in any way but before I chanced it, he snarled that my documents were insufficient.
I was shown out in a jiffy, grumbling to my son and even more determined to make things work the next time I came.
So in the next few days, I enrolled myself in a driving school. They took care of all the documentation and filling of the forms. They helped me to put all the required papers in a file. They told me what I had to learn. They gave me the notes I needed. I studied very hard.
Finally, the day arrived when I had to make a trip to the R.T.O. I studied very hard all the way there. I stood in line as I had done the first time. The same strict officer glared at me above his thick spectacles. Everything was in place. Smile or no smile, he signed the documents and I signed his register.
After that I was taken to an examination room where I sat among many nervous people doing a last minute revision of road signs and signals. The papers were given out. Each one had a different question paper. I found that really remarkable! The questions were not all about road signs and signals. There were also questions about what gases are emitted by vehicles, what one must do in case of an accident, etc. No matter how much people may grumble that they are very strict at the R.T.O., I really appreciate what they are doing! In fact, I have every possible reason to appreciate them. They gave me a wonderful score of 15/15. With that test complete, I was taken to another room where they tested my eyesight. They also did another test for colour blindness. Having passed it all, I was issued a Learner’s Licence.
One month later, I went to the R.T.O. again to convert my Learner’s Licence into a Permanent Licence. My photograph, thumb imprint and signature were taken. Then I was led to a road nearby and told to wait for the examining officer to come!
“What will they make me do here?” I asked a gentleman nearby.
He told me that I would have to ride my bike down the road, take a stiff U-turn without putting my legs down and come back. My hand signals, confidence levels and riding skills would be tested. I looked at the narrow road sadly. It seemed like a herculean task! I could not imagine myself feeling confident under the scrutinizing eye of a man in uniform! Neither could I imagine how I could possibly take a U-turn that sharp without putting my legs down for additional support.
I decided to practise for awhile. I went up and down the road, practising the U-turns. Each time, my legs just went down as if I had no control over my reflexes. All those standing by the side of the road watched me and shook their heads sadly, as if sympathising with me. I was so depressed. I could not imagine making another adventurous trip to the R.T.O. to re-do my riding test. I told myself sternly that I had to keep my feet up on the bike even if I fell.
The officer showed up eventually. He asked me what my name was and then instructed me to ride up and down the road and make a U-turn. I mustered up all the courage I could and tried to look as confident as ever while I started the bike and rode off, using all the necessary hand signals. I even did the U-turn to perfection. Quite pleased with myself, I rode back to the starting point and stopped.
“You can go home now!” said the officer.
“But did I pass the test?” I asked him.
“You will know at 3pm today!” came the reply.
So I went back home and spent many anxious hours until the clock struck three and I called up the R.T.O. to find out the results of my driving test. I was on cloud nine to learn that I had indeed passed and was now completely qualified to ride a bike.
Putting all that behind me, I now ride ten kilometres to school and ten kilometres back home. Most of the route is good and I quite enjoy the ride. It is only when I am on the highway for a few seconds that my hair stands on end. Sometimes I find myself riding between two huge buses on either side of me, sometimes there is a truck on one side and a crazy auto driver on the other. Those few seconds are mind boggling and I almost hold my breath until that stretch is over every day. Other than that, I do love riding a bike and would much rather be on a bike than in a car any day!