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Friday, December 14, 2007 

A license to kill

Hello people. am back after almost 4 months. Reason could be that nothing inspired me enough till today to write a blog and now that today I have had such a fabulous experience, I wouldn’t miss sharing it with you all.

I am going on a month long vacation to Australia next week (ya ya, I am lucky). To make my life easier there, I applied for an international driving license. The first thought was that it wasn’t going to be an easy task considering the fact that it’s for Australia, where unlike India, traffic rules are strict and people tend to respect them. The RTI website had mentioned the required forms, which needed to be filled and submitted. What it obviously didn’t mention was the fact that I needed to get my medical test done. So I was kind of taken aback when the guy behind the counter asked me for it. I was like, with just 4 days away from going, this is probably the last thing I needed as this would mean getting my tests done from a clinic and submitting report. But I was in for a surprise. The guy told me that I could get one done downstairs and that too right away. Relived and a bit confused, I came downstairs to see where this could happen and I kind of felt lost. So I asked a guy standing outside a shop if he knew and he told me to follow him (was he waiting for me there? I mean he looked really enthu). He took me to a room where he asked me to fill up a form, which had questions like do i suffer from epilepsy, do I wear glasses, do I have a disease, which could be contagious in nature). I was told to just fill up my contact details and leave the rest to the doctor.

Then I was taken to another room, where a so not doctor kind of a guy was sitting behind a desk and was calling out everybody's name one by one. On my turn, I went ahead with anticipation that this guy would have the usual doctor equipment to do my check up. But it seems this doctor was a genius. As though all he needed was a heart to heart conversation and he would be able to diagnose the disease. He looked at my form and asked me If I suffered from epilepsy? Now, with god's grace, I haven’t ever experienced that but what I found amusing was this Q&A session. It was like I was on oath and it was given that I was going to be honest to the core. For all you know, I could have been getting fits every 30 seconds but this man saw truth in my eyes and proceeded to the next question. Do you wear glasses or lenses? I again said no. The third question was if I was suffering from a communicable disease. I really felt like saying that yes, I was suffering from a fatal disease and anybody who comes within 5 feet distance (after measuring the distance between us in my head) catches it instantly. But again I said no. So he very happily signed my papers and after a few minutes I had my license in my hand....

My first reaction was WOW, I have got the permit to drive in Australia. But after recovering from the jubilation, reality struck me and I was like what the hell was that? I mean, how could I get it so easy? Well, we all know how easy it is to get a license to drive in India and everyday accidents on the roads kind of shows what damage that process is doing but to get a license to drive in a foreign land and that too this easily actually was a shocker.
But then, nothing shocks me anymore about my beloved country and its systems. It amuses me and it also leaves a very disappointing feeling in my head thinking where are we headed to? Is there a hope or things would just go downhill from here? Whatever may be the outcome, I am hoping I and those who have got the license to drive in a foreign land are able to do what is required as far as those countries rules are concerned. As for the rules of our country, I don’t really know.....

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