My Experience at the Regional Transport Office (RTO), Mumbai

Here I am, after quite some time with something different to write about! I’ve always shared my experiences (most of them being happy and memorable ones). It is time now to share a bitter experience as well. Instead of exchanging pleasantries like I always do, I will start off with my experience. It has been quite some time now since I was planning to learn driving (probably two years). Finally, I made up my mind and got myself enrolled in a driving school last weekend. I got the appointment for the Learners’ License Test today. I was told to go to the RTO. Since I’ve not been to the RTO and also since I’m relatively new to Mumbai life, my husband was insistent that somebody accompany me along. Obviously my sister who is my inseparable body part accompanied me. We reached there after a lot of difficulty in the heat (when I say heat, read it as heeeeaaaaaatttttttttttt). Believe me, it is super hot. The agent from the driving school was waiting there and I must say he was very helpful. He took me to the counters without me having to find it on my own, which is really a big blessing.

At the first counter we are supposed to get our forms checked by a police and we are supposed to sign in the register maintained by the RTO. Until today I had a lot of respect for police. Yes, you read it right! I really don’t have a wee bit of respect anymore. The police guy, in the process of checking my form asks me what my name and what is my education qualification! I gave him the answers. He, then, asks me if I’m working! I told him that I work from home, to which the shameless guy replies saying, ‘haan auraton ko ghar pe hee rehna chahiye’ (ladies are supposed to stay at home only). I’m working from home because I choose to do so and not because I am a girl and I’m supposed to be in the kitchen. I’m sure all ladies who work from home would agree with me. How can the country make any progress when such people are there in large numbers? I really controlled myself from doing anything. I mustn’t be speaking this way, but I really felt like slapping him.

Somehow I finished with the first counter and reached the second one where we were to collect tokens for Biometrics. I collected mine. There were a few college girls with whom I became friends when we waited for our turns to come patiently. Finally my turn came after half an hour or so. They took the thumb impression, photo and signature, after which they told me to check my details and see if everything is alright. I started reading with special care because I don’t trust any Government office. I’m sorry for speaking this way, but I really can’t help it. My name was correct. I went ahead to the second point and couldn’t believe my eyes. Instead of writing ‘Wife of’ they had written ‘Son of’. I was like what is happening here! I request the lady there to make the correction politely and she says, ‘Son hai, toh’ (yeah it is son, so what). I mean, are you serious! In shock, I just asked her ‘mein aadmi ki tarah dikhti hoon kya’ (Do I look like a man). She finally grumpily changed it to ‘wife of’.  How ridiculous can it get? I do understand if it was ‘daughter of’ but what the hell. My whole point is I don’t look like a man to become son of someone (though my dad always calls me his daughter-cum- son) and how the hell can someone who doesn’t know the difference/meaning between son, daughter and wife get a job?

I, then, waited for my turn for the Online Test. We waited for more than half an hour. Our turn finally came at 12.30. After getting into the room also we had to wait for fifteen to twenty minutes. Finally we finished the test and came out at around 1:15. It was such a relief; I just can’t explain the feeling. They really need to improve on their infrastructure. Also I would like to make one point, as long as men like the police guy do not learn to respect women and accept their choice, believe me, the country will never make progress, and when I say ‘never’ I really mean ‘NEVER’.

I’m sure most of you will agree with me….. Do let me know your opinion J J