Cattles Driving Carefully
July 22, 2009
Getting a driving license had been at the back of my mind for a while, being 25 and mildly ashamed not to own one.
So after months of nagging our omnipotent friend, fixer of all things scary, and paperwork magician Mr F, Victoria and I, one fine morning of last month, set off to the Rajasthan Road and Transport Office.
Or whatever it was called.
It was a sweet 48°C outside, but thankfully Mr F had provided us with an air-conditioned car, and driver. At the head of a small army of errand-runners, Mr F had also assigned the very efficient Vinit to escort us through the Driving License Mission.
We first visited the lady officer in charge. To make an appointment, simply push the other 95 people agglutinated under her window, stand on the tip of your toes, and wave until a peon notices you. If you wear fancy sunglasses, you will be let in.
So in we got. We sat with the lady, who examined our applications, requested a few more papers, and flashed a big, betel-stained smile at Mr F.
We went back to the heat, into the fascinating underworld of bureaucracy. Outside the building stand dozens of little huts spartanly furnished with a few plastic chairs and a wobbly table. Mountains of papers adorn them. These people, it seems, are entrusted by the government of India to notarize paperwork and deliver affidavits.
When we finally retreated to the car, Vinit the Almighty handed us a torn, dirty booklet.
“It’s for the test”, he said.
“What test?” I asked, alarmed.
“You read it, no problem.”
The booklet’s aim was to train one for the theory test.
There were mulitple-choice questions about road-related signs and situations. But oh dear reader do not underestimate the wickedness of it. What we thought would a be a silly read turned out to be mesmerizing.
Firstly, the relatively simple MCQ format was somehow obscured by the formulation itself.
However, “what is by mean this sign” even though not grammatically perfect, is still understandable by means of key words.
Then came the situation-related questions.
There were some relatively mild, although beguiling ones:
It is authorize to ride two-wheeler without elmet.
Well, don’t smile, you would wonder.
At night, it is not necessary to follow the rules.
I like that spirit. There is something kinky, rather Stanley-Kubrick-ish about it.
Now after this gentle warm-up, Victoria and I reached the really really serious questions. By that point, we were tearing the booklet from each other’s hands.
You are involved in accident. What do you do.
a. carry the injoured to hospital
b. carry the injoured to hospital and go to police
c. go to police
d. go home
You will be happy to know that “b” is the correct answer. The fact that moving the injoured without medical equipment might aggravate its condition and result in lifelong paralysis is, of course, preposterous.
And because I can’t bear making this post too long, I will love you and leave you with my favorite one. At this point Victoria and I are simply rolling on the floor, in tears.
What is by sign mean:
a. milk available
c. cattles driving carefully
d. none of the above
The fact that “c” is the correct answer, may I just say, fills my heart with joy.