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Magix 'n' Curses
..the argument continues

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Driving me crazy


Ladies and Gentlemen,
Harish is hereby officially recognised by the Government of India as a traffic troubler! :)

Thank you, Thank you!
And quite a lot happened during the course of being granted this status..

Flashback time! [Extremely lengthy post! Read at ur own risk!! :) ]

27th May, 2004:
Yup. Check that date. That was when I got my Learner's license, or the LLR. And what was supposed to be a month's wait for the permanent license stretched out to a whole year! Every time I decided to go for it, something or the other cropped up. Lab classes, internal exams, laziness, internal exams again, laziness, chicken pox (yup!), laziness, semester exams. Aaah, fate was hell bent on makin' me renew my LLR for another 6 months. I've a friend who's renewed it thrice. I seemed so responsible in comparison!

27th May, 2005:
It wasn't preplanned. It was jus' coincidental that I was to go for my license tests exactly a year later. But it surely wasn't short of action!

7:32 a.m : Who let the dogs out?
The driving school had warned me to come at 7:30 on the dot. "Ettu poda practice pannanam pa nee. Late-a vandha avanga unna vittutu poiduvaanga." Adada.. engayo dhoorathula edho ground-ku kootitu poga poraangalo-nu naanum avasaravasarama kilambinen kaarthaala. Turned out that the practice road was practically 20 yards away from the driving school. Grrrr!

There were 4 of us planning to practice the 8. The tutor showed us how to do it first. He went diagonally between the two stones around which we were to put the 8, and started flailing his right hand as if a lizard fell on it. It took me a few seconds to realise that was supposed to be a signal for a left turn. A U-turn around the stone later, he stretched his right hand to signal right. Yeah, now this seemed more sensible and practical. He went around for the second time repeating his "create ur own tornado" step. And came to a stop after two 8s.

The youngest of the lot went first. Ah ha! So there were ppl younger than me in that driving school. He was pretty funny. He signalled with his left hand, (kinda reminded me of Rajni's "en vazhi, thani vazhi"), kept his foot down and made all sortsa funny mistakes. But I was distracted by a li'l dog that kept staring at me. I bent down and said "Hi, what's your name?".. and realised that the dog wasn't the only soul staring at me now! A gal eyed me with the kinda disdain reserved for creeps. I stood up and decided to concentrate on what was going on. Another guy went next. He'd been practicing the moves even as the tutor was showing us how to do it. Looked like he was dancing to some inaudible tune. Ha! I wasn't the only person acting weird! the gal went next, and she seemed pretty comfy doing it. Err, putting the 8, I mean. (ugh! "ettu podaradhu".. adhukku literal-a translate panneeten!)

Yours truly went last. The minute I revved up the Kinetic, the li'l dog's ears pricked up, and thought I deserved an escort. So the little one jogged alongside me, dodging the wheels, wagging its tail, fixing me with a rather silly look with it's tongue hanging out at a funny angle. It made me keep my foot down twice. I saw the funny side of the situation and grinned at the tutor. The tutor meanwhile was yelling at me for wasting his time and not practising properly! I shot a "It's all your fault!" look at the dog. It slunk away looking sorry! Wow, enakku ipadi oru power-a? :)


10:45 a.m : At the RTO office
My mom shooed me away before 10:30 citing Yama Gandam. Didn't wanna upset her when she seemed to look more nervous than I was supposed to. Chammathu payyana I went to the RTO only to realise I'd forgotten my wallet. So, went back home giving my mom a sheepish look. And left to the RTO exactly as Yama Gandam was turning on its heat! He he, I still cannot forget the look on my mom's face..

I had to wait for quite a while till another tutor from the driving school turned up. Hey, this was the guy who taught me to drive a car last year! I didn't have too much difficulty coaxing him to gimme a practice round before the RTO arrived. I completely screwed up! 2 seconds after ignition, the car jumped and came to a stop. The tutor was glaring at me! I don't blame him. Jus' seconds before, he was proudly telling the man sitting at the back of the car (another person who'd come to get his license) that I was one of his better students. Cha, endha nerathula sodhapanam-nu vevasthaye illai enakku! :( The next 5 minutes were no better. The tutor gave me a rather piteous frown and said "RTO-ku munaadi aavadhu urupadiya oteedu pa!"

Sheesh. Nervousness. Jus' what I needed. I thought I'd have no problems with the car, coz I drove pretty decently when I learnt. Now I had to contend with the fact that I had a rickety Kinetic Honda AND a jumping Maruthi 800 looking like an imposing barrier to my driving license. Since I was supposed to get one for a bike and car, I'd lose both if I screwed up even one test. Coreeta oruthan vandhu thathuvam pesinaan.. "If you're nervous, it's a sure sign that you're going to come back for your tests for the second time. ha ha ha." Almost everybody next to him threw him a dirty look. That shut him up for good.

11:40 a.m : Testing times
The RTO arrived. It was time for the bike test. The mere sight of him gave me the jitters. He was bald, unshaven, huge, wore a big kunguma pottu on his forehead, and looked really menacing. In other words, he looked like a villain straight out of a telugu movie! And he even tried to act like one. He made a man stand a few feet away from the stones, and that meant we had even lesser space to manipulate the vehicle. The ladies went first. Two of them kept their foot down. The first thought that came to my mind was not to befriend a dog now! And finally, when I was called, my palms were already sweaty. Aana ennavo therila, the minute I sat on the kinetic, all my doubts and worries vanished. And before I knew it, I'd done it. Half the mountain climbed.

I was so busy congratulating myself that I didn't notice the bike tests were over. Everyone was crowding around the Maruthi car. The RTO was seated comfortable on the passenger seat. The two others who'd come for the tests and my tutor sat in the backseat. I jus stood staring at the car. "Ukaaru pa. Beach varaikkum otitu po, anga thaan test nadakkum", the tutor said. Ada paavigala, naan thaan bali aada?

But I got on and prayed that the car doesn't twitch like a bucking horse. Thankfully, it didn't. The only route to the beach was a really bad road, with sand, stones and construction workers! And to add to my woes, 4 huge speed breakers. I somehow maneuvered my way through it all, and came to the beach. The RTO was staring at me. I was in for it, I thought. The tutor had warned me that this particular officer took sadistic pleasure in putting us through the paces. Like in a dog show. :(

Once near the beach, he asked me to pull up to the side. And even as I was wondering if I'd be asked to take a reverse or a u-turn, he asked me to get off! What?? How?! Why?!?! He said my test was over and I could go! Brilliant! This meant, the only thing the RTO asked me was my name! Yaaayyy!! Confident that I'd passed both the tests, I went and sat in the RTO office. And sat and sat and sat. :(

12:50 p.m : Treat!
Looked like the car tests were over too. My tutor came back in the car, and immediately walked up to me. He said, "kalakittae pa! Andha RTO unna thaan romba sonaar. 'Chinna payyana irundhaalum pakka-va otinaan'." Chinna payyan? Who, me? Ada paavigala! He continued, "Nee nalla otuvae-nu enakku nambikkai irundhudhu. So treat eppo?".. I could only think "neengaluma? :( "

1:45 p.m : Say cheese
It was officially declared that I'd passed the tests. This strangely gave me more satisfaction than clearing my 12th boards. But all that waiting in the searing Chennai heat in May took its toll on me. I was drenched in sweat, looking completely exhausted and sleepy. Somehow, the sadistic streak in these RTO ppl kept rearing its ugly head. Of all the times they could have called me, they chose to take my photograph NOW! Sheesh..

The room they took my snap in, was air-conditioned. I jus' didn't want to leave. I sat down on the chair and wondered if there was any point in trying to make my unruly mop of hair behave. I also wondered if I should smile. Even as I attempted a very feeble smile, they shooed me away saying they'd already taken my pic! It was almost deja vu as a familiar set of questions ran thru my head. "What?? How?! Why?!?! When?!" :)

A wait of half an hour, and I was given my unlaminated license to sign. I was asked to check if the details were right, but I wasn't able to look at anything else other than the photo. I looked like an urichu vitta kozhi! :( Hair sticking out at all wrong angles, my T-shirt visibly sweaty, my specs hanging in a lop-sided manner.. Bloody hell, why were they doing this to me?! That put an end to all my plans of showing off my license to everyone. There was no way I was gonna show THAT photo of mine to ppl!!

2:30 p.m : Licensed to trouble
A shiny new license was in my hands.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Harish is hereby officially recognised by the Government of India as a traffic troubler! :)


Footnote:
If you've actually read through the whole thing, congratulations!! And sorry! :)