Wednesday, April 9, 2014

No grumbles as I went to renew my DL today!

I had heard horror stories so I checked with the shop owner opposite, they usually know! He said the scene was bad and set up a meeting with a facilitator! They are usually found in the ground floor shops. Most of the shops deal with preparing documents and they have moved with the times. In addition to photocopiers, digital cameras etc., many have computers, from which they upload forms!

I drove in and parked. It did not look too crowded! I felt it was my lucky day!

The facilitator was not in the shop. I casually asked the chap who was serving tea how much for their work. He said Rs 600. Soon an young man with an attitude appeared. He knew I was coming and asked me for my DL. He did not look too happy that I was there ahead of the expiry date. These guys look for complicated work.

I asked how much. He said Rs 700/-  The moment I said it was high, he walked away from me to another, grumbling he hardly makes a hundred. Anyway I had by then decided to take my chance with the RTO system!

I walked up the second floor ignoring some more guys offering help. There was a security guard at the door who let in only the applicants. The only concession he made was when he let in a man with a two year old kid! He gave me a form in Kannada which I had to get filled in by a doctor attached to a government hospital. The nearest one is about 3 kms away. I thought it was crazy as earlier there were doctors available on the premises.

However the security was nice to advise me go to one of the shops and collect forms 7, 9 and so on. And people there would help me fill up the forms. Just then I met someone I knew and she said it was simple and I could tip the guy who helped just Rs 50. As I walked down, I heard prayers being chanted and many of the shop keepers had collected in the landing area and were distributing Kosumbari, Panaka and Majjige. They were celebrating Rama Navami!

I bought the stationery necessary, in fact I had already downloaded and printed some of the forms.  I had not printed the change of address form and another to be filled in capital to be used explicitly by the computer operator. The kit included a brown file, a tag  to put all my papers together and a small plastic ziplock bag to put my DL so that it did not fall off. Finally an envelope on which I wrote my address which would be mailed to me with my DL about two weeks later! All this cost me Rs 34/-

The person who helped me prepare my file also located a doctor to check my health ( cost me Rs 100/-) came up with me up to a point on second floor and briefed me again what to do. This probably was the moment when I should have given him the tip. But I had the file in one hand and my bag in the other. In addition my helper was carrying the prasad he had collected, so his hands were also not free.  The moment passed and he walked down! He probably wanted to do one good deed on a such an auspicious day! So no tip!

The system was pretty simple, the security guard took my file and stamped a message on it. This said in Kannada that I should not forget to vote! I then waited at table number seven with a few more people. The officer arrived after about 15 minutes. May be he had gone down to offer prayers. He checked my papers and wrote Rs 270/- on my file. I went up as advised to the 3rd floor and paid up and came down and entered the Data room.

 The girl at the data room took my picture and asked me to press my left thumb on a electronic pad. And then I signed on a pad with an electronic pen. I was a little embarrassed that  it took me 5 or 6 attempts before my sign was properly recorded on the computer. The girl was patient and the man behind waiting for his turn!

I walked back to the table 7 and the man next to it collected my file and noticing that I had not pinned the receipt properly, stapled it. I thanked him and said I was very impressed with the way the office worked. I think he liked it as he smiled.

He gave me a receipt saying I could use it till I received the DL by post and added that I had to pay for the stamp he had pasted on the receipt saying it would go the TB association. I gave him a hundred and said all of it could be sent to the association! He gave me a whole page of stamps and asked me to give it to the children.

I think Lord Rama was definitely there today! First my helper walked away without collecting a tip.  Then the  clerk had actually given me Rs 124 worth of stamps. I am sure the divine calculations will benefit us all.     Rs 50/- to the helper, Rs. 24/- for the clerk and the rest to me!

Compare this to the story we used to hear about giving thumb impression in the old days! It seems the clerk would hold the left hand to help press the thumb on the stamp pad. Only the hand  would not move down unless it was weighted by a rupee coin in the palm. The clerk would help himself with it as he helped! It was an accepted practice those days!

The stamps to benefit TB association

I also saw this machine in the data room.
Glad I was not tested on it!


VATSALA said...

I have never used a so called facilitator. The system works for genuine persons.
Good experience.

CS Murali said...

You may want to become a member of the Automobile Association. It makes dealing with RTO hassle free....

P.Varadarajan (Varad) said...


I heard there was some celebration at an RTO office for the `deemed Rama's arrival' on Rama Navami.....Didn't realise it was you!! Now, that explains a lot of things you have wondered about, right??