Rohit Mishra

Thoughts which don’t fit in 140 characters.

Licensed Corruption

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I am an adult now (ah, no not that ways!) having turned 18 this January. And being a true auto addict, my first objective was to get a Driving License. After months of persuasion, Dad agreed. Exams kept me out of Patna for a long time delaying the process. Anyhow, I got my Learner’s license last month. I was told that the original license is given only after a month. Presumably, you have to prove your skill by not banging anyone in that period. It was not a great concern, though as my driving is until now restricted to riding a bike on colony roads. Even though I am 6’ 2” with a lot of extra weight, Dad doesn’t find confidence in giving me full freedom.

I came to know that my license is being made through the normal package route. Confused? It is a great service. You pay a certain amount to the middlemen, who then takes charge that your license is made, signed and delivered. Trust me, the system is rock solid. The government of Bihar has decided to do away with the old handbook type licenses and has introduced PAN type credit card sized licenses. It has also become very strict, which meant that I did finally have to go to DTO (District Transport Office) as it needed a photograph for the license. I was dealing with a a middle-aged man called Bhootnath (No resemblance to Amitabh found.) He called us at 11 in the morning on a Saturday some time back. We got delayed. Bhootnath Ji was very busy and instructed us to come later next week.

Next week, we were on time and again were made to wait. Bhootnath Ji operates out of his vintage scooter parked infront of a photocopier in the same complex as the DTO. First, he made us wait for an hour and then took me along with a couple other people to the potography. I told Dad to get back to his work. The DTO is located in a 20 feet by 6 feet room, and had around 200 people when I went in. After smelling all fragrances of human sweat and all the nice words that come out of people’s mouth when they need to wait for hours to come, my number came. My photo was taken using an Intex web cam (Note to future girlfriends, don’t judge me by my face on my DL). My fingerprint and signature were also recorded electronically and hopefully will make it to my DL too, not only any ubiquitous server in Bangalore.

After all that, I meekly submitted the given receipt to Bhoot (thats how the man is known). He told to get in touch after few days. I did so only to learn that the computers of DTO have gone on a strike. I was told - you will get your DL on friday, then Monday. Ha! that never happened. I left for VIT on Tuesday and am finishing this much delayed post from a cafe outside my campus. My license has been lost to some ghostly spirit. Looks like justice will be done. I will get the license only after I get back to Patna and start driving well in my December holidays. 
Who says computers are not intelligent!