License to Drive

A long cherished dream…of my mother really not me. Yes, I’m 23 year’s old, male , brought up in a metro, completed my UG at boys college where there are more bikes than students, done with my MBA, got a job in a FMCG, not disabled (at least physically touch wood)  and yes, I can’t drive. To be clear, I can’t drive a bike nor a car. I started off my driving career with my BSA champ (stolen by the paper guy who wanted a ‘test ride’ and went to mexico I guess with it) ,moved on to my sisters BSA SLR and finally got my manly Hercules Thriller© (which I sold to my watchman who I hear is putting it up @ Ripleys believe it or not- as something that this ‘boy’ claim to have drive. Even he thought I wasn’t fit for anything more than a BSA champ I guess. The curve stops here.  My dad actually is a silent accomplice in this crime, for he believes that the entire motorist community is waiting to run me down if I show up on the roads.

My mother was the one who told me ‘Neeku Bike kuda raledhanthe,okka ammi kuda  nee moothi choosi parthi potharu…Neeku budhi ledhu emmi leddhu..eethi atleast che ra ledhuntay akkada MBA le annthadha neeku..’ (From telegu to english, roughly translates to-‘Look If you can’t even drive a bike which girl will want to look at your face? Its not like your intelligent or good looking least learn this before you go do your MBA else you will be ostracized’. Well, I don’t know the relation between my face and my (dis)ability to switch from 2nd to Reverse gear* (scroll to end of post for story behind the * ) .  But I think by and large what she said holds true in pop culture atleast. The guys with bikes get the chicks. Lucky for me, the opportunity to put to test my (in)abilty to drive any kind of motorized vehicle was almost minimal due to the institute’s rules that will impound your ride if present within 100 kms of where you reside. And those with bikes only managed to get fines slapped on them or it being ‘borrowed’ by fellow mates for cross country soul searching.

In the driving school where I am currently taking lessons for my car and bike riding, the scene was quite disturbing. Let me describe how it is. There are two rooms, one looks like a depressing hospital waiting room with people silently sitting on the bare creaky benches. You have 2-3 guys my age, about 4-5 middle aged business men and even a couple of 60 year olds waiting to kick the bucket (bucket list #11 perhaps?). No of the guys there  makes eye contact and look straight, do what you came for , do it and hit the road asap…something like the scene at a men’s urinal. You don’t want to be caught looking anywhere but straight & down.

Some of the male gender pretending to read the traffic charts and one eager vehicle enthusiast is eagerly trying to replicate a chart depicting the inner complex working’s of a crankshaft & pistons. One glance into his pad shows it looks more like a dustbin with broomsticks sticking out. Men, I notice in general seem ashamed of being here to be there and are waiting furtively for their sentence to be pronounced.

There are girls too but for them it’s a different social experience. It’s a sense of liberation and freedom that they have finally won the battle against the Islamic Courts to exercise their desire to drive, sick of being relegated to 2nd place by their brothers (younger/older) who drive the family vehicle with impunity. One of the girl, about 22-25, got chatty and enquired about if I came to get a license (No actually, I came here to see if I could enroll for belly dancing lessons).  I told her I came her to learn how to drive a car….and a bike. She looked at me brows arched ‘For car..ok..but I’m sure you can drive a bike, you’ve just come here to get the license for it officially right..being from Loyola & Symbi’…the contempt in her tone was unmistakable and I was discomfited into a awkward grin with  just a ‘hmm..yea…’. I made myself feel better by assuring myself that I will make three times what she does now. Such is the social stigma attached. And such is the lame mode of self assurance I will resort to.

The second room is the promotion room. Its classier, with air conditioning and complimentary newspapers.  It is where those who have successfully completed their 15 day training get to sit with their LLR forms ready for the actual test. Occupants of the 1st room cannot talk, look at them. For they are the learned ones. Weather they pass is another issue, but they are done.

I recall one of my favourite antics back then was purposefully drive in front of, overtake any car which had a “Car training board” over it just to see the look on the faces of the drivers-in-learning. I realize now, that its not so great when your in the drivers seat, literally. And Ironically, I can win races in  Need For speed : Most wanted with ease using my left hand,outrun over 10 police cars, turn at 90* bends like Knight Rider and switch gears like Michael Schumacher did on the Malaysian F1 grand prix.


* I actually took car driving lessons briefly 3 years back and during the test, I reversed the car instead of going to 2nd gear nearly killing an elderly women selling fish on the street. How I did that I will never know.  The motor vehicle bureau has posted a mug shot of me in its office warning officers not to issue anything to me, not even a parking ticket. Hey, even If I cant drive, all I want is a license, its one hell of an ID card and I can finally have an authentic Govt Id to book my railway tickets on the internet 😉 




10 Responses to “License to Drive”

  1. Very Interesting !! keep posting !!

  2. hey i never thought it’s so difficult to get license..but a nice post..

  3. That was a hilarious post!! ROFL!

  4. BSA SLR : 1000 Rupees
    Psychiatrist fee for treating you for being delusional enough to be caught riding a SLR and furthermore giving the SLR to the paper boy for a test ride thinking he got to mexico: 1000 Rupees.
    The image of you riding the BSA champ:PRICELESS!

  5. Dey!
    Never knew u speak Telugu?
    And I bought my license from Warangal in 2000 for 800 bucks.
    How many do you need?

  6. Man
    Correct my name to Nikhil Narayanan in your blogroll.. tnx 🙂

  7. offbeat says : I absolutely agree with this !

  8. Hi dear,
    Hmm, i am also learning bikes, and i know 80% also. but is only that i have a fear of taking it alone..
    Anyways, hope you learnt it well.
    Take care

  9. Pudgy says : I absolutely agree with this !

  10. Ha… ha.. reminds me of my driving lessons…. LOL … funny post

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