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Stories about driving licenses, and cops

What a joke! 

I have been driving for a year now in India... 


I had tried to get a driving license in Delhi but since all my documents were registered in Mumbai (including my residence permit), I had to give up (but not without spending half-a-day in the Kafkaesque labyrinth of the Delhi RTO...). 


I tried again in Mumbai. I first found the driving school and I gave them my papers: passport and visa, French driving license, residence permit, renting agreement and invoice. Obviously there was a snag because since I had moved in for less than a month I did not have any invoice... But I kept my cool, Indian style, I left my papers and came back a month and a half later with an invoice! And 3,500 rupees (about 60 euros). 


Then all it took was to harass the driving school so that they would take me to the RTO. Which was kinda of a empty hangar, two desks, four chairs, two antique computers and two people who take your photo and your fingerprints. Surreal. But in 30 minutes it was done.  

I was not convinced when the driving school guy told that I would receive the license by mail – because I'm never home during the day – but it was useless to put up a fight, there was no other option. I told myself that I would go and sit and wait in the Post office after a month if I had not received anything and that would be about it! 


Three weeks later, by a beautiful Tuesday, my friends received the famous license at home! See, there was nothing to get excited about... 

The following Saturday we went out for a drive to try out the much awaited license. 


Since I have started driving I never had a problem: I adopted the local style of driving so I am difficult to spot ;)  

I got stopped only twice (and only in Delhi). The first time: the cop got excited because I was talking on the phone on bluetooth. I told him that no, I was singing, and when he wanted to take my cell I just left. I think he was just curious to see a foreigner driving and looked for an excuse to stop me and talk to me... 


The second time, I don’t really know how but I managed to get stuindia,mumbai,delhi,driving,driving license,rto,driving styleck in the middle of a huge crossroads going on the opposite way I should have. A little stuck by panic and by all the cars that were coming on me on I stayed still. And when I saw a policeman who was waiving at me from the other side, I took him as a target and drove slowly slowly towards him. When I reached him, I lowered my window, gave him a sweet look, said « sollllly » and continued driving. Here we go, you have not seen me! 


Here we are, back in Mumbai. I was driving, happy to have escaped the cops who stopped the vehicles for speed excess on the Sea Link. When I reached the end of the bridge I saw a red light. Which seems to be of no use. So here I was, wondering whether it was really worth it to stop when my right neighbour just went through! Obviously I followed him... And obviously I got arrested. 


I was almost happy to hand my brand new license! Except that the cop told me the procedure was to keep my license at the Worli police station and that I should go there and get it later. 

So I lost it: no freakin way! C'mon give me back my license right away. We can’t even see your signal. And why didn’t you stop the other car? I want my license immediatelyyyyyy! 


100 rupees (€1.5) later (quite cheap considering all the signals I have missed...), a receipt in hand (yes I did not bribe the police officer) and my license in the pocket we left for other adventures... 


Comment book - Vincent B.

“Another trip to India... I could stop counting now (it must be my eighth visit), but it is always good to have your head to the grindstone til the last day of work in France and feel some form of relief the moment you board the plane! And this time the program not really defined except for the part where I will rest rest and rest...


Except that in the end, I travelled from one end to another and most of it in an adventurous style!


I am just writing a summary, you can see some pictures online if you want because the sites I visited are kinda crazy crazy crazy and really worth the effort.


Travel route plan: arrival in Mumbai, journey to the Sundarbans, return to Mumbai and recovering from the West Bengal heat for a few days, then a couple of days in the middle of the week in Matheran, weekend in Ellora and Ajanta, quick stop between two planes in Mumbai and end of stay doing really anything in Goa!


And what to tell?? The plane from France was...


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Meeting the Gandhis...

 india,politics,gandhi,nehru,dynasty,indira gandhi,sonia gandhi,rajiv gandhi,rahul gandhi,sanjay gandhi,the red saree,javier moro,congress,bjp,elections,prime ministerIf there is one topic that I am not interested in, it’s politics... So Indian politics I let you imagine…

And all in a sudden, while I think I am going to read about a love story, I find myself engulfed in The Red Saree, a book by by Javier Moro! 

I panicked a bit at the beginning, as the novel begins on very soapy tone with the love story of Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi. 


But rather quickly it engages on the political history of India since Independence through the private and political life of its main characters (namely the Nehru-Gandhi family). 


Basically, it all started with Nehru, Member of the Congress Party and first Prime Minister of independent India and thus until 1964, date of his death (of a heart attack). 


Then his daughter...


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