How does one grow old ? You know one counts the days and years since the day of birth and says I am 25, 38 or 92. But the mind refuses to acknowledge the numbers. So it is a shock when someone calls you an uncle or aunty ( in India, that means you are boring, adult and are excluded from all fun things kids can manage) for the first time. Then is comes to another surprise when someone you think is an uncle, i.e. out of college , in early years of working as something) calls you uncle. It is shock when PYTs seek you for your advice looking at the bulging body, grey or coloured hair. And If you are not shocked by these things then you have grown old. Or you are due for your driver’s license (DL) renewal.
So, we get our DL in the late teens or early twenties for a two-wheeler ( with gear ) and then upgrade to four-wheeler. May be some of the smart ones get them all at once and then for next 20 years is it ride, break rules get away if you can, bribe or if you are a the shiny armour kind pay fines. I have paid the fine/lubrication for every offence that is possible. One way, signal issues, triples, seat belt, mobile use, polluting car, not insured etc. etc. and then become an uncle. So now I obey rules, do not ride without shoes or helmet ( Pillion included ), go the right way in one-way … in short I have become an uncle and know it too. That and I HAD to renew my license.
How does one do that ? One needs to apply for the renewal “not earlier than 20 days before the expiry and not later than 30 days post expiry”. If one ignores the expiry date for over a year hoping the PYTs will flirt instead of seeking advice then one needs to appear for the driving test again. BTW no one knows what happens if one applies after 30 days of expiry but before and year has gone by. The whole DL application, renewal is looked upon with nervousness. The RTOs ( Road Transport Office) are notorious places. Dark, mazy things with files and folders that can hide goblins, spells and spooky things. These things take over the work force employed to serve, so they in turn become nasty and nit pickers. To feed the spooky, creepies they also insist on lot of paper – forms, photo copies, photos and steel guts.
When I looked around I saw this post that validates the last paragraph. But. My guts have become little stronger so I asked my coffee mate. He said it is a breeze these days, piece of cake. I looked deep and hard into his eyes. He is joking ? No he was not. He is a sadist ? Having been eaten and pestered by the goblins wants me to experience the pain. No. He was serious. And he was my coffee mate so trust worthy.
And thus with the age hardened guts and a friend reinforced wisdom I went to the electronics city RTO in BTM at 9:45 am on a week-end. A new building with clean corridors and well-lit rooms. The crowd on the other hand on that Saturday morning was fierce, long and winding. All of them had forms , files and an intent look on their faces. So I skipped the queue. Felt little sheepish to stand there empty-handed with an expired DL in the pocket and a confused look in the eye.
I went to the security and said I need the confidence that a form can give me. He said,”you have come to the right place but wrong time, the form giving being behind the help desk will come at 10:30”. I Killed the 30-40 mins I had, the help-desk opened, an uncle looked at my DL and asked for address proof. That I had. He marked it in red and said he can give information that I need – I had to have a change of address form, a renewal application form, a self-addressed and stamped( Rs. 17 ) envelope and my original DL in a zip lock. And I need to get a doctor to certify that I am fit, can see and hear things well enough to drive. And there is a form for that too. He gave me the renewal form and fitness form and the CA form however envelope and zip lock I had to buy from the Nandini booth opposite the gate. I filled the forms and paid the fees for renewal and CA ( change of address).
With the fitness form I went to Arekere govt. hospital nearby. Surprisingly the hospital too was clean and more or less empty. The doc looked at me and the form and assumed I am fit enough so filled it up, stamped it. Now I am certified fit to drive a car or a motor cycle with gears. I decided to call it a day and complete the submission on a week day to beat the queue of resolute people.
Following Tuesday I went to the office again. This time I had the forms and information with me so with an intent gaze I stood, 3rd person in the queue. At 9:30 the form checking , token giving being ticked my application and set the process rolling. I had to go for a bio metrics and photo taking room no 8 on the first floor and then a fact checking, correcting room 5 back on the ground floor. Once the details are entered , corrected and verified on the machine final step is to get a receipt for the renewal. This is what will save you from traffic cops till the new , renewed license is with you. I was told it will take about a month and I will get the new one by mail. I got mine in 20 days.
All in all a nice ,pleasant experience. No nasty surprises, no nit pickers, no goblins, no bribe. My wify dear applied for re renewal last week, yup she too is an aunty to PYT now. Hers is more complicated since the original DL is from another state, but the process still was simple. She had to do all I did and in addition she had to write a letter an NOC ( No Objection Certificate) to the other state. She had to submit the receipt for that letter. And that it seems is enough. Now we wait for hers to come home too.
BTW, the official process with forms is here: http://www.rto.kar.nic.in/RDL-PROCcss.html. And I found that is easy in Jaya Nagar too, as per this post – https://deepakpm.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/renew-your-driving-license-in-60-minutes-flat/