Monday, November 12, 2007

You hate me, but I love you!

So this new donut place opened up the other day near work. Being the full-on Thames nan maga that I am, I ran off instantly to sample their wares. I was not disappointed. The donuts were the yummiest I'd ever eaten and sold for like 20 bucks a go. There were all manner of killer combos involving medium to large scale sugar overloads, with caffeine fixes to boot.

The shop assistants, imported as always from a different planet, nodded and shook their heads for everything. Several sweet delights later, I waddled back to work and realized my wallet was gone. "Aiyo!" I screamed, and huff-puffed back to the donut shop. "Did you see my wallet?" Nod, shake. "Wallet, purse. Left here. Anybody saw?" Nod shake. "No?" Nod shake. "Yes?" Nod shake. I gave up, wrote my name and number on a paper and told them to call me if it turned up. Nod shake.

The wallet contained credit cards (easily replaced, whew), cash (as good as gone) and.. gasp! My Driver's License!

I quailed at the thought of getting a duplicate. The prospect of coaxing, cajolling, pleading and... shudder.. bribing my way through the RTO, had me wondering if I should bother getting one at all. But knowing my penchant for getting goosed by the traffic pulliss wherever I go, I figured I pretty much had to.

I made a few calls to friends who'd been in similar situations before, and figured out approximately what to do:

(1)Lodge an FIR with the police, get it attested (Bribe opportunity 1),
(2)Go to the RTO, pay Rs 235 duplicate license fee
(3)Submit several papers to the assistant RTO for approval (Bribe op 2)
(4)Collect my license 3 days later (Bribe op 3)

Four years in a Gowda college taught me to suspend my dignity for long periods of time to get my work done, but the art of bribery had, for some reason, always evaded me.

"Bunnrrrreee, koothkoLi, tea-gee kudeetheera?" (Come in sir, sit down, tea and scones perhaps?) said a pleasant SI as I walked in to the police station and told him my story. He read my FIR, written in the best Governmentese I could muster at short notice. It was a jewel of colonial composition. Every sentence had at least three of the following words : kindly, respected, faithfully, the same, therein and purse. Susy miss would have given me 10/10 for following the "Official letter format" down to the last tee.

Bunnree plodded through the letter and asked me how I could prove my wallet was stolen. "Err umm, it wasnt there when I looked for it?" I said. Dry sarcastic laughter ricocheted off the walls of the police station. He tossed my literary gem nonchalantly in the dustbin and glared at me. "Take down", he commanded. I almost fainted. Strip torture?? Oh no! What did I let myself in for!!In a few seconds however, I realized that his intentions were considerably less evil, and I faithfully took down the following letter:

"Bariri (write)" :

Two: Yes Eye, Sadasivnagra Polittashionu

Saar,

I walking roadu, coming aaffice to hotelu.

Aaan date-u, timu ella bariri (Aaan date time write ri)
When I going backu, purse miss-seddu. Pursu containing faalowing eyetams:

Aan bariri yenen itthu antha (Aan write what all was there).
Yif yanybody returannu, please caantactu my numberu.

Number gimber addressu giddressu ella bariyappa (Number gimber address giddress write father).
Saaaaaar, kindly request give that ackka-naalijmentu this FIR faar duplicate licensu.
Regardsu, gigardsu hesaru-gisaru bardhu sign haaki.
(Regards, gigards, name, geeme, sign put)

I nervously handed my hen tracks back to the SI, who gave it a once-over, regarded me with a beady eye and sealed and signed the letter.

Whoa! That was easy- and they were actually sweet(u) !!

Off I went to the RTO, quailing again, thinking of the number of touts Id have to avoid and the corrupt officers I'd have to deal with. There wasn't a soul about, save one non-scowly man sitting by himself at a desk on the second floor. I touched the center of my chest(Bangalore version of Namaskara), and he nodded back.

"Banni, banni heLi." (Come, come, tell me). Wow, polite, but my jaded soul suspected that the politeness came with a price. This one's gonna fleece me dry, I thought, as I told him my story.

Luckily I'd gone online to the RTO website earlier and managed to get all the documents for the duplicate license ready. He looked at them and told me to go back to the police station and get an FIR acknowledgement challan. "Saaar", I said, scratched my head and tried to look harrassed and helpless. I asked him if the stamped FIR copy that I already had wasn't enough. He cleared his throat, flung my papers back at me, and looked ahead grimly.

Back I went to the police station, and haltingly told the SI I needed a challan. "Challan close aagide" (out of challans), he said. "Uh oh!" said a little voice in my head. Money time.

Suddenly a dulcet voice from heaven came wafting through the sultry air of the police station.
"Yaaeh, compter nal idiyalla saar faarmyattu. Sumne print haaki sign haak kotbiddi papa avarige. Math-mathe yaak barak heltheera" (Yaaeh, just print the damn thing out and sign it I say, why make this poor dude come again and again"). I turned around and saw a tough looking ladiss police with woollen scarf around head (winter, you faallow?). I beamed at her gratefully and was rewarded with a scowl.

I grabbed the attested print out, almost fell at everyone's feet and looked around waiting for someone to say "Saaaaaar.. hehehehehe scratch scratch" which is how I've always pictured people asking for a bribe. Noone moved. I left!

Back at the RTO the next day, the helpdesk people (Wait there's a manned helpdesk?) guided me up to a series of neat queues (Whoa!) near the cash counter where I paid the prescribed duplicate fee and had the receipt flung in my face. Took a deep breath, collected the receipt and went back to non-scowler. He muttered something about pinning the papers in the wrong order, scribbled all over my application, and sent me off to get my picture taken.

At the picture office, an efficient young lady looked up my old license number and, wonder of wonders, brought my old license up on her screen. "Allright, you may go", she said, and directed me to another guy who looked like Lt. O'hara from Duckburg. He scribbled furiously in a ledger, and wordlessly handed me a slip of paper with the collection date written on it. I waited briefly for Lt. O'hara to scratch his head or object to my existence, but left after he glowered for 5 more minutes at his ledger.

What? No bribe?

Arrived bright and early on the collection date and went straight to Lt. O'hara. He rolled his eyes sideways indicating that I go meet Gladstone Gander at the next table. Gladstone eyed me meanly through his half moon glasses and continued working. After a practiced 5 minute pause, he looked up and said: "God has given you eye. Father has given you spectacle. Take ten minute, sit down and kindly read distribution time." Uh oh, I thought, bribe time. Read the distribution time: one hour later. Whew.

An hour later, Gladstone had assumed an even more evil expression than before. He rummaged about and fished out a smart looking duplicate license card. Flinging it at my face, he slapped a piece of paper down on the desk. "Sir?" I asked in my smallest, scaredest voice. Gladstone flashed me a look of utter contempt. "Haiyyyyo.." he said, slapped his forehead, rolled his eyes, looked at O'hara and gave me another vile glare. "Ree swami! Sign haakri, Receewadu antha." (Swami (sarcastic), sign I say, received like that).

Signed. Waited. Gladstone started barking at someone else. And I left!!

What? No bribe?

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

Moral: They scowl, frown, treat you like dirt and all that, but a little obsequiousness and a total suspension of dignity can get you very far indeed in government offices.

Seriously though, hats off to the Yeshwantpur RTO! Sure they don't have the best bedside manner, but they do their job!

And thank you, thank you, my dear scarf wearing, scowling godess!

41 comments:

CW said...

This is indeed heartening! One of my friends got laughed at when he pressed a few wads in policeman's hands (which got thrown back at him). Strange things will never cease to happen.

Naveen said...

as usual masthaagidhe kanappa..actually bribe-less aagogidhya govt aapis antha aascharya aagtha idhe...:o)
athava ninna luck sakkatthaagidhe..rajajinagar RTO hegidhe nodbeku eega! they have always been known to set the standards!

Roopa said...

Getting things done at a govt office can be such an ordeal but it takes someone like you to write a humorous post out of it :) The letter dictation part got me literally LOL

Spunky Monkey said...

So, the post itself was nice, funny yada yada.
But what grabs attention is your increasingly interesting artwork, not to mention accurate. The sheepish smile of the harassed with the "obsequious" bow, the knit eyebrow of the cop and his imperial folded-hands stance! Wah, varry much coolness is seen I say.

P.S.: D'uh. Donuts in high-end shops it simms. Stick to 8th cross and Rajanna's chaat trolley. Nothing of the sort happens.

Bit Hawk said...

Dude, that was hilarious! Especially the policeman's "BarkoLree" :))

I find it extremely difficult to write government letters, with words like aforementioned, herein, hereby, hereinwith and all their complicated cousins!! :))

Harishhh said...

he he! soooper guru! I was reminded of my experience in obtaining police verification for my passport.... Not a paisa of bribe they took I say! But yeah, like you said I had to suspend my dignity for as long as I was within the police station walls... But hey! it works... So no complaintu!! ;-)

Rambodoc said...

Hilarious post, as usual!
The "take down" part was brilliantly funny!

Empress said...

I agree with spunky monkey. Your artwork is very commendable. You even got the khaki police cap right! Bhesh bhesh!

Poojitha said...

ahaa...
i wasnt as lucky as u..
2 get my passport...had 2 wait fr "6 months"... me n ma dad had 2 pay a million no of visits 2 tat shastri bhavan...
remba lollu panitaanga...

Sreejith said...

The ACB seems to be working extra hard! A corruption-less India.. a discgrace! especially when we were eagerly trying to overtake pakistan in the corrupt rankings! Well our last line of defence is there..the traffic cops :D

Krish Ashok said...

I laasht my liseance 2 manths ago and I decided to do the simple, sensible, common sense, moral, ethical and legal thing - use my younger brothers (who is in the You Ess Yay) license and claim that I had plastic surgery after I got the licence in case the police asks me why the man in the license photo looks completely different from the shady driver of the automobile breaking the red signal.

Bikerdude said...

CW, harish: What do you know. Not bad for the old biys no?

naveen: lol i think they can smell fear. But why fear when RTO website is here, allva?

roopa, bithawk, rambodoc: thanks :)

spunky, empress: Full artisht aagbuttiwn nodri :P

poojitha: Too bad! My sis-in-law had the same problem in Mysore.
bithawk

sreejith: heh you bet!!

KA: Just say daadhi valathuttain saar. UNder all that recently aquired foliage, Im sure noone will be able to tell the difference :P

I love Lucy said...

whaaaat?no bribe in Benglur RTO vaaaa?
Unbelievable I say!!!
Still remember vividly the harrowing experience I had at the J'nagar RTO about 7 years ago to get a license for a lowly 2-wheeler.I actually went through a broker!

maxdavinci said...

loved the letteru wrintingu..

back in hyd its illegal to do anything without approaching a middleman, I'm pretty sure those guys even pay taxes.

more like tatkal seva i guess!

Thoppai mama said...

aaay..nim Bengloor police mandhi bhaaL soumya-vaag adhaar bid-ri!

Idhu 18 varsh hindin maath. Passport appli haak bekandhra police clearance thogonD hog bekaagitth.

Naa agdhi smart-aagi hodh-ni, HubL-yaag-in Keshwapur station-ge, appli, gippli kayyaag hid-kond.

Inspector saaheb-r kade heLdhe...hing hing aith nod-ri anth. Patil saahebr nun myaag-keLag, hindhka-mundhka noDi 'Kod-ri' anth ondha maath.

Appli kai-yaag kotte. Sign geechi kottr. Naa adhan thogond, baai kisidh, 'BhaaL thyanks-ree, bartheeni' anth salaam hodedh hindh-ka kaal haakidhni.

Patil-r garjisidhr 'Aen, hunga hontralla...lae GuLedgudda baa illi'.

Constable GuLedgudda-navaru bundh ninthru. ThiLidh hoth nanag. Avar kayyag 50 roopay haaki 'bartheen-ri' anth heLi himburuki haaki bandhiddha, thirugi hoga lill nod-ri!

THoppai Mama said...

Aay..yuvar Bangloor police very soft and gentle only, leave-it.

This is 18 years behind talk. PP appli put means police clearance needed.

Very smartly I went to Hubli's Keshwapur stn, appli-gippli hand-in holding.

To Inspector sir I said, matter is like like this only see. Patil-sir me up and down, back and forward looked and 'Give-me' said, one word!

Appli I gave in his hand, he scratched signature and gave back. I mouth split in a smile 'Too much Thyanks, I will come-ree' and feet put back.

Patil-r roared 'What, like that only going no..aay Guledgudda come here'

Constable GuLedgudda came and stood. Understood and went for me. in his hand 50 Rupaay put 'I will come-ree' said and reverse put, have not gone back since!

L N Srinivasakrishnan said...

> Sadasivnagra Polittashionu

This august institution is civilized because the Yes Eye and such like have had to butt heads for many years with much more retarded specimens than mere products of gowda college - Tata Inishtitoot Electrical Engineering graduates, of whom, undersigned was one of the more retarded.

Undersigned laasht HMT watch in hostel, so it was assumed, lodged complaint in Sadashiva nagara PS. Few weeks later I was marched along with hostelmates to Malleswara PS where we were all given Seiko watches for our trouble. Actually the watch was laasht in Hebbal Theater near Mehkri Sarkal, during a 2nd show. The watch was duly returned to me by some army type in Hebbal during our next visit after a few weeks.

The fake Seiko watch (donated by Malleswara PS) was then sold by me on Sampige Rd to finance a shopping expedition for my entire hostel wing to Cole's Park in Frasertown, then an important clearinghouse of agricultural products.

Needless to say, this whole adventure taught me the futility of wearing a watch.

Tapan said...

Brilliant, brilliant stuff. My favourite part? "heLi" - the capital L there was a neat touch.

Tumbha santoshaa aaitu ree... tumbha santoshaa.

Swaroop said...

Sooper Dude
I am just hooked to your blog. I am bengalooru huDuga.... but i work in Delhi... and boy, your blog makes me crave for good old Bangalore!

Keep it up!

Rekha said...

Well, you might not believe it, but I had to deal with the same attitude thousands of miles away at the Indian embassy in Chicago, where they assume every Indian should know Hindi and be accustomed to bureaucratic behavior. Actually it deserves a post on my blog perhaps.

bird's eye view said...

Channagi baradiddiya!

small squirrel said...

OMG I think I just peed myself laughing.

brilliant.

hey... donuts? really? WHERE? have been hunting them for 2 years now!

desigirl said...

What did yours, Krish Ashok's, ATP's etc mums put in your food I wanna know? Which kadaila rice buying?

Anu said...

My colleagues must think I am the most heartless, insane person to grace this planet.

I am supposed to be compiling a list of autism symptoms instead here I am laughing my head off...

And when someone stopped by to enquire - I just said somebody lost a wallet...

realistic dreamer said...

a friend suggested i read this post, boy am i glad i did! it was hilarious! :D esp the FIR letter! thumba chennagithu kanriii!

Bikerdude said...

ILL: Unbelievable isn't it! The ACB (Anti Corruption Bureau) certainly seems to have done its work well! Thank god, and hope this lasts.

Maxdavinci: haha oh yeah the hyd police is quite legendary. If theres any consolation it is that their bribes are smaller :P

thoppai mama: Nim commentige kaaythirthene yavaglu:) Great fun and seriously saarey- hows that blog of yours coming??

LNS: They seriously gave you substitute watches? How lovely! All I got was a scarfed scowl, which under the circumstances was more than I barigained for :)

tapan: Thanks! Aa capital L ildhe iddiddre RTO would have been renamed Sulabh Shaunchalaya. Not that there's much difference in the cleanliness levels of the two though :)

swaroop, birds eye view, realistic dreamer : thanks!

rekha: yes Ive heard its quite embarrassing to go to our embassies abroad. A friend once told me when he asked for a form the lady said look for it on the floor :P

smallsquirrel: Thanks :) They are called Donut Baker. They have branches in 4 parts of town. One in Brigade road, One in malleswaram, and 2 more I dont know where. Very good stuff.

desigirl: LOL thanks :) reminds me of Khushbu Prabhu song "Katharikka, katharikka, gundu katharikka, yendha adayilai arisi vaanguarai.." etc. Harumph :p

anu: lol sorry! and thanks :)

Shruthi said...

Superbu saar! How, how, how, how, hadn't I stumbled upon this blog beforeu? Me hitting my headdu with my handu.

Never too late, huh? :)

Prats said...

Brilliant piece saaaar...
Got detoured from sujatha's blog...but you're amazing. The policestashannu has given me some gud moments(u) . Not everyone actually asks for a bribe...and sometimes when you offer, you are looked like you are some evil guy!!!


And now can you please tell me...where the hell does this Rajanna keep his chat gaadi......I need to know....please heLi

L N Srinivasakrishnan said...

All the fellows in my hostel who had pending complaints in Sadashiva Nagara PS were corralled by Inishtitoot Syakoorty Mr Arputha Raj, a Bullet 350cc riding red eyed 6 footer specimen from somewhere in downtown Tamilnadu, marched to Malleswara PS where your complaint was matched approx with the watch you picked from a line up of literally thousands of watches.

Of course if the dial said Seiko, it did not mean the mechanism was. The cops knew that - so they treated us with great compassion, telling us to make sure we picked up working watches.

btw, why are all He-Man jobs in Bangalore staffed with Tamil non brahmins?

Preeth said...

Absolute riot!!!

Bikerdude said...

shruti: Thanks I say :) and welcome!

Pryatsu: Tyanksu :) Rajanna's is on 5th main , 8th cross intersection, next to the dosa camp and opposite the darshini

LNS: Not bad abt the watches. Strange quip abt the Tamil thing, but Ive seen stranger from you, so will let it pass :)

preeth: Tanks ba. Khhairiyaththu?

Smitha said...

Superru Sir nim bloggu.. this "barkoLree" of policeu reminds me of somethingu.. My experience with police when I went to file an FIR for lost Pancard! Ahh..never thot the bengalooru policeu would be so politeu..!! KoothkoLi madammu.....kaapi beka..naane complain barkoDthini nimagoskara anno dialogue na expectte madirlilla...!! My handu was completly shivering looking at themmu.. neways.. Awesome stuff!! keep writing...!

Sukla M C said...

One reason i like my former CM SMK, the guy did bring in nice changes to all the "Bribe" process. People still find it hard to believe when i say i get work done without paying bribes

as far as the manners/respect
i dont blame d govt officials
1> they r loosing out on bribes
MOSTLY
its the work load / treatment they get which makes them like this

its getting better is all that i can say

Sindhu said...

saakathaagithu .. yen shtoryee telling skills i say nimdhu... nam ajji nenapaagthaarey :D

Kiran said...

nice.....had similar experiences...but i might have greased it some time...

Anonymous said...

Where is this supreme donut place that you talk of?

Nil iN dA HeaD said...

he he :) t'was reeally hilarious going through ur entire charade of getting hold of a license..... i recently had my DL exam and its been over a month and they still haven't given it to me!! (they apparently screwed my pic) stuupid yeshwantpur rto.... ho hum... next time when i go (which will be the 100th time) i'll try ur method... it may just work :P

Dinesh said...

Hey, funny :) I should have stumbled on this blog before.

Meera said...

Just came across this...nice post!

We have published a couple of useful how-to's that may be relevant --

The do's and don'ts of DL and LL
Here are the official nuts and bolts of getting a valid Learner’s/Driver’s License..

Knock, knock, FIR
What is an FIR and when does one need to file it? And how? Here's our attempt to demystify the process for Bangaloreans and help cope with the unwelcome contingency..

We welcome citizens share their experiences and feedback...

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