Archive for December, 2006

A Mysorean who didn’t know his worth

30 December 2006

T S SATYAN alerts us to an unsung Mysorean, a man from Krishnamurthypuram who T S Eliot—yes, T S Eliot—said, “didn’t know his own worth, like a flower that is not aware of its own fragrance.”


What the Ace Political Expert predicts for 2007

30 December 2006

E R RAMACHANDRAN writes: As we sipped the best coffee in the campus canteen, I asked the Ace Political Expert (APE) what he thought of the University’s move to cut trees wholesale, to make way for a Laboratory.

“It’s ridiculous. It’s akin to ‘Fence eating the Crop’. It’s in schools and colleges one expects the teachers to instill a sense of responsibility in the students to respect and preserve the environment. However, some of our Professors who lecture nonstop during a vana mahothsava function, seem to practice Ona mahothsava for the rest of the year!”

“I believe the trees are cut to make way for Molecular Biology Department.”

“That’s the irony! On the one hand, you remove life from trees and convert them to a pile of wood, and on the other, create a Life Science Department!! It’s all nice to hear that more saplings will be planted, but does any one care to comprehend the loss to the environment when you go on chopping well-grown trees? It reminds me of a similar incident during Chinese aggression during the ‘Hindi-Cheeni Bhai- Bhai’ days. When Prime Minister Nehru told parliament that not a blade of grass grows in Akshaichin area and we shouldn’t make too much of losing land to China, the ever irrepressible Acharya Kripalani asked Nehru, ‘As per your theory, should I cut my head as I have become bald now?!.”

“What do you think of the Kannada Sahithya Sammelna that was held in Shivamogga?”

“In terms of participation, it drew a large crowd. But it appears to have widened the rift between practitioners of politics and literature, which is a pity. Here was an excellent opportunity to, possibly, create a ‘Kannada Wave’ in the State, which could have ushered classical status for the language, brought our border brethren to the fold, and created a stronger Karnataka that spoke and acted in unison. Unfortunately, political interference from literati themselves and a grand spectacle of fights on the dais seemed to have negated whatever it gained in the Sammelana. Sahitya Sammelna, to a large extent, became, Kusthi Akhada of Hattu Mane Garudi!

“The year is ending. How do you see Karnataka in 2007?”

“We will see the test of 20-month-theory-of-power-sharing. Even if there is smooth transfer of power, I already see an Internal Tsunami brewing in BJP ranks. Here too, we may have ‘CM-in–Waiting’ queue as at the Centre, where there is already a PM-in-Waiting line! This is a case of ‘koosu huttoke munche Kulavi’!,” concluded the APE.

Why do all Miss Indias look the same?

29 December 2006

CHETAN KRISHNASWAMY writes: Just when the New Delhi fog seemed to be clearing from our benumbed brains, Rajeshwari and I, vacationing in Bangalore, slipped into brain-dead mode on Wednesday night.

And it took the combined talents of an eclectic group to pound us into this state of inertia.

The notables: the scion of the Mysore Royal family Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, Bangalore’s fashion guru Prasad Bidapa, ace fashion designer Neeta Lulla, Bollywood star Sameera Reddy. A charming bunch. Really.

The event was a fashion show. The Bangalore palace bathed in soothing amber lights looked ethereal. The creative event-manager had  strategically (this is a word that I cannot do without, please bear with me) and purposefully positioned a few tongas, minus the horses, across the grounds probably to enhance the Royal setting. Caparisoned elephants would have probably been a logistical nightmare.

We had been seated for over an hour and there was no sign of the models.

Fluttering tantalizingly in the December gust were giant sized pennants with copywriter prose (usually glib, catchy and full of untruths) on the subliminal potency of the official sponsor of the evening, Royal Challenge whisky.

I willingly succumbed to the persuasions of the copywriter and expectantly surveyed the landscape for an amiable bartender. No luck. Whisky would be served after the show for a select group only at a different venue, I learnt.  The harsh reality: I was not part of the select group.

The PHD (Precious Hours of Drinking) were slipping away. Y.N. Krishnamurthy—friend, mentor and the late editor of Kannada Prabha coined this acronym. And when you are taking time off from the professional rat race and holidaying there cannot be a bigger hour of crisis. While inviting me over for a drink, YNK would always tell me to be on time and not fritter away the PHD. This was one of his numerous tips for healthy, disciplined drinking.

The personable Prasad Bidapa, with whom I have had some healthy Masale Dosai eating sessions at his studio on MG Road, did not make us minions forget for even a minute that we were in hallowed company. At regular intervals, he kept referring to Mysore’s Royal Scion as “the Maharaja, the King”—while Wadiyar himself the epitome of style, sporting a blood-red bow-tie drew on his formidable Havana, obviously unmindful of Health Minister Ramadoss’ diktat.

Rajeshwari whispered into my ear that he was probably tense. It was a big day for him.  After all, as Bidapa, the sonorous emcee, kept announcing: “This was the ultimate fashion from the Royal House of Mysore…” And as my chest inflated with pride, I almost fell of the chair.

At last, the beauties glided across the ramp one after another—“all Miss India finalists”—Bidapa announced triumphantly. I pinched myself, I was in truly privileged company.

My wife, an authority in matters that are privileged, rattled out their names supplying me with  insights into their personal lives. The information would definitely hold me in good stead at our annual quiz jousts that I have been losing by a whisker.

To me and thankfully to my MES college buddy Rajashekar Jatti—who had succeeded in snaring me for this event—the women looked eerily similar. Fragile waists, straight hair, pert noses… all of them looked the same.

Like my Marketing Chief says: What was the differentiator?

Judging beauty contestants is probably like tasting wine. World-class sommeliers advocate: Consistent practice, focus on the subtleties, develop a fresh worldview and then savor the wine.   But for now, they all seemed to have rolled off an assembly line. “This is what they mean by commodification of women…,” I told Jatti with the quiet rage of a raving feminist.

He gave me a puzzled look and turned away. Rajeshwari glared. I shut up and quickly applauded. The fog descended, a little more swiftly this time.

And then Sameera Reddy arrived…J

Sweetness in the Land of Lime

24 December 2006

Dr Prithvi Datta Chandra Shobhi weds N.C. Malini

24 December 2006, Mysore, India

Also see: Questions couples should ask (or should have asked) before marrying

Doctor Strangelove, I presume?

22 December 2006

SUNAAD RAGHURAM writes: Mulling over the gains and losses in the stock market in 2006 while also wondering when next the helmet rule would be scrapped and at the same time thinking on which day Siddaramaiah would pull off the coup in which Messrs Gowda and Sons would get it below the belt, I drove in the direction of Gangotri Glades, where nangada Robin Uthappa, scored a blistering century, not too long ago.

I braked seeing an old friend from my Saraswathipuram days, a man whose forefathers hailed from good old KGK, short for Kanne Gowdana Koppal, our very own Bronx!

“So what’s up?” I began. “How have you been?”

“Well, life is as usual,” he drawled. “Have you seen the real estate prices in Mysore?” he exclaimed.

“Oh, let’s not even talk about it. It’s a bit like asking the directions to a place we will never go to,” I smiled.

“So are you on your way home?”

“Yes. I had been to the doctor,” he winced. “Why, what happened?”

“You know, it all started here, a few days ago,” he explained, pointing to the back of his neck. “The doctor said it is romantic pain. He’s given me some pills.”

I muffled a laugh which in other circumstances would have been a booming one.

Could it have been rheumatic by any remote possibility?

Brand new helmet policy: more thoughts

22 December 2006

E R RAMACHANDRAN writes: Before introducing the helmet rule for the nth time, the Regional Transport Officer (RTO), thought he should, once again, take the opinion of all concerned for the final time.

Not surprisingly there was wide response, which heartened him. A sample of the responses is given below.

Astrologer Jain: As one who is concerned of the health of all, right from the CM down to the lowly citizen, I feel the new helmet rule should not be introduced in the month of Dhanurmasa, as most riders would have run out of money and will be like Dhurvasa, full of anger and they could throttle themselves to death. The only parihara,  I can think of , is, they should pad the inner roof of helmet with Thulsi leaves and sabsige soppu, so that the impact of a fall will be less, apart from cooling in summer.

Police Commissioner: The State Helmet Rule reminds me of a toy called ‘Yo-Yo’, I used to play with, when I was a kid. The only difference is, instead of going up and down, this keeps moving back and forth! I feel all scooter and motorcycle riders should wear helmets on odd dates like 1,3, 5 etc. The even dates like 2,4, 6 etc could be ‘helmet-free’ days, as they wait for the ‘ last & final’ decision from the Govt. This way, both Govt. and riders will be happy.

Deputy CM: I am not bothered what really happens for the first twenty months. After the ‘Rahu- Kethu’ effect is over, I will announce a new Helmet Policy for the State. The new ‘PM-in –Waiting’ has already promised to help me in this regard.

New MLA from Chamundeshwari: With the divine blessings of Chamundeshwari Mathe, blessings from Mathadipathis in the State, the new rule will come into force soon. With the blessings of Madam, when this Govt. falls or when I become the next C.M., whichever is earlier, I will introduce the New Helmet Policy and rule the State. Till then, no wonder we are seeing anarchy in the streets as well as in Vidhana Soudha.

Municipal Commissioner: We are eagerly awaiting the Policy. If the Helmet Policy is introduced, we can divert the funds earmarked for filling the potholes, asphalting the roads to more important jobs such as beautification of Parks, colourwashing our corporation building etc.. We also feel they should use only ISI brands of helmets as they can take the impact of head going into a pothole better!

CM: It is important to have a policy which satisfies everybody. I wonder, sometimes, whether we are rushing this through? That is the reason I stopped short of implementing this rule, before the Bye Election! Even, this didn’t help. We need to find out whether everybody wants it. I am secretly doing my own survey whenever, I am spending time in villages. I have asked Deputy CM to ascertain this in Shivamogga, where I understand, everybody is already wearing helmets for the last 3 days even if they are not riding scooters!  Finally, we will have a policy, which will satisfy everybody. I am clear about one thing. At least here, I will not allow anybody to influence my thinking…

Meanwhile, there was a commotion outside the RTO’S office as the supporters and opponents of Helmet Rule fought a pitched battle near the gate. As he came out of his room, a well-directed missile crash-landed on RTO’S head. But thanks to the helmet he wore, it left only a dent!

Anil Thakraney on Sunday

18 December 2006

The redoubtable Anil Thakraney, founder editor of Brief and some time editor of Mid-Day in Bangalore, has started a blog “where I will shoot out my shameless Sunday sermons every week”. Those interested in some no-holds-barred commentary may like to check it out.

If Cheeka is an analyst, I’m a rocket scientist

17 December 2006

SUNAAD RAGHURAM writes: Krishnamachari Srikkanth, with a double ‘k’ to his name for numerological compatibility, is a neurological liability!

Sample this, courtesy CNN-IBN on the night of the second day’s play in the first Test match against South Africa:

Lady: So the Indians have done very well in the first Test.

Srikkanth: Yes, I can’t remember when the Indian team got the opposition out for double digits.

Lady: Neither can I.

Srikkanth: Shall I tell you the reason. It was VRV Singh. Although he had nothing to do with the bowling, it was Singh who was the spark. He ‘enlightened’ the team!

Lady: Saurav Ganguly also did well.

Srikkanth: Yeah, to a certain extent.

Gosh! What gobbledygook! What undiluted, pure, crystal clear, unadulterated, finely distilled non sense! And coming from a cricketer who was introduced on the show as a former India captain!

Nothing of the steel that Ganguly exhibited on a pitch that wasn’t exactly a bed of roses impressed Srikkanth.

Not the unfathomable mental pressure he was under when he walked out to play ball with India quite precariously placed.

Surely not the application and the oneness of purpose that Ganguly’s demeanour at the crease exuded.

Definitely not the 50 not out in circumstances that had so many personal ramifications. Never really the demons he had to battle in the unseen insides of his soul after being treated with contempt and disdain by an ungrateful cricket establishment.

And Srikkanth was surely not thinking of the heroics of Sreesanth, a rookie fast bowler with a gutsy attitude and a hard to douse fire in his belly. And of Zaheer Khan and Kumble.

I hope the day dawns soon when we will see the maverick opener hold forth with biblical wisdom on the intricacies of Kabaddi and why and how India won the gold at the Doha Asiad! And to think the dastardly sun doesn’t normally rise until 6 am from behind the majestic Chamundi hill across my flat’s balcony.

What a tragic wait!

The view from Manhattan

15 December 2006

Chinmayee Manjunath alerts us to Wyatt Mason‘s new piece on the Master of Malgudi in The New Yorker.

“While other writers rely on paragraphs and pages to get their points across, Narayan extracts the full capacity of each sentence, so much so that his stories seem bound by an invisible yet essential mechanism, similar to the metrical and quantitative constraints of poetry”

Why we are like this only after 50 years

15 December 2006

E R RAMACHANDRAN writes: Anything and everything in Karnataka these days, is reduced to a Big Fight – a prolonged ‘Tu Tu, Main Main’. With whom? Mostly among ourselves!

Also, the State is hell-bent on scuttling projects, which could do wonders for its growth! It’s all self-inflicted. Let’s see a few.

1. ‘Kannada should get official Classical status.’

Hopefully, there are no two opinions on this. To achieve this, it needs the efforts of writers, politicians, those in power, those outside of it, the public—you and me—to do everything possible to get it. Most importantly, the major effort should come from writers, poets, playwrights, irrespective of the region they come from, their food habits, whether they have won any awards or not.

Yet, the most important cog in the wheel seems to become a spoke sometimes. Apparently, there seems to be no unanimity and commitment to put aside the differences and work for the cause. The result? There are sporadic efforts here and there, but largely inconsequential.

Possible Solution: Can’t the leading writers and poets take a lead, come together, mobilize people power and bring in a sense of purpose and unity. Some of the finest writers are here in our land. Can’t they put aside their differences and work for this cause? Didn’t Gokak, Sarojini Mahishi and countless others do this earlier for Karnataka Ekikarana?

2. Doubling of Railway line between Bangalore –Mysore.

Everybody agrees it should have been done years ago. But, let’s look at what’s happening? The CM said, many months ago, a letter would go to the Railway Ministry releasing the State Govt.’s contribution for survey between Ramnagar and Chennapatna. Or was it between Chennapatna and Maddur? Does it matter between which two towns, as one understands no money was released at all?!

One of the MPs periodically gives a ‘Running Commentary’ of sorts about movement of files, release of money etc and then we heard the Deputy Railway Minister spilling the beans –It’s not included in the budget in the current year! Meanwhile, there’s a regular ‘tom tom’ of what the double line will do for Mysore!

Solution: Is the State serious about this project at all? If so, Can’t we get the Railway Minister Lalu Prasadji to IIM Bangalore to give a lecture, call him to inaugurate Dasara or some State Function, sit with the Rail Bhavan guys and get the project initiated with time-bound actions.

Bangalore is full of technocrats and marketing whiz kids. They have been able to attract practically ‘who-is-who’ of Fortune 500! Our Government busy with their ‘Yadavi Kalaha’ haven’t been able to sell the idea to Laluji who himself is some kind of a marketing genius! Has anybody, in the Government or outside, taken the trouble to get him to visit Bangalore in the last 2 years? Sometimes, one gets a doubt whether the State is deliberately dragging the feet, lest it affect the KSRTC- Volvo connection? What’s the equation? One trainload = 30 buses.

‘Mysore Airport’ Project too joins this category.

3. Film Producers, actors and technicians.

Here again a tug-of war is going on with various forces pulling it in all directions with no amicable solution in sight. The bigwigs of film fraternity are not able to sort out the issue as threats and counter threats are played out daily like a ‘Soap Opera’.

4. Which language the children will study?

No doubt, a controversial topic, but are right efforts being made to resolve the issue? Here again, there is a division among writers. We seem to excel in creating differences rather than narrowing differences to reach workable, practical solution and move on with life.

There seems to be an all pervading death wish to get bogged down on trivialities, scoring cheap points over others who have a different point of view and generally refusing to move on.

If this were not so, by now we should have a thriving cheaper-fare, Electric Railway line contributing to the growth of both Bangalore- Mysore. Imagine the saving in Diesel and reduction in pollution and so on. ( A Win –Win situation ). We would have got the classical status for Kannada too and so on…

Alas! We don’t even see the need to get our act together in the first place and make things happen for the welfare of our state, for our city….

And finally, the language used by the so-called Victor and the equally so-called Vanquished? Even Mohammed Ali and Sonny Liston, after a brutal fight in the boxing Ring, with their eyes almost gouged out, teeth hanging out, would still congratulate the winner and both wouldn’t mind meeting over a drink….

Couldn’t we learn a lesson here?

Any suggestions??

Quo Vadis?

World famous in Mysore

14 December 2006

SUNAAD RAGHURAM returns from the longest holiday ever granted to a “working journalist” and writes: Over a long Mysorean lunch comprising kosambri, hurlikayi palya, majjige huli, uddina vade, tili saaru and holige—washed down with almond suffused payasa—the best you could have this side of the Vindhyas, my age old mate Sampath regaled me with an anecdote from the days when he was a medical representative for Khandelwal Laboratories in the 1980’s.

Sampath had a colleague, a certain Vinod Rao, who had a peculiarity, all his own.

In one of the presentations he gave to a doctor about Batrofase, a newly introduced drug in the Mysore market, Rao committed a monumental hilarity, much to the amusement of Sampath.

The doctor, as it often happens, was not in the best of moods to listen to a detailed description of the new drug, presumably because there was a long line of patients outside his door.

But the two medical representatives had a job to do.

Sampath prodded Rao hinting that he should begin and close the presentation in a jiffy.

Rao, who took the cue, began in breathless fashion, a la Shankar Mahadevan!

‘Doctor,’ he began. ‘This is a new drug, Batrofase. It is available in the USA, UK, France, Germany, Holland and City Drug House, Mysore!’

Now what was that?

A little like comedian Mel Brooks in the funny movie, History of the World, saying, “Meet my friend. He’s a painter… world famous in Poland!”

Christmas that wasn’t in Chamundeshwari

8 December 2006

E R RAMACHANDRAN writes: After supper, Ajji usually keeps herself busy reciting ‘Rama, Krishna’ till she falls asleep. Since I didn’t hear that, I called out and asked whether she had gone to sleep.

“No,” she said, briefly, and after a while called out my name. I reckoned she was still busy with worldly affairs.

“Ramu. Aren’t these Election Commission officials heartless? Our neighbour Sunandamma told me that they did not allow our CM to distribute the gifts he had brought for all of us. Also, it seems the Congress leader who brought cash for us was not allowed to distribute. It has come in newspapers it seems. ‘Idu Christmas time alweno! Yellaru giftu liftu kodtharalla… Why should the officials stop them?”

“Ajji! They wanted to buy votes by giving presents. That is the reason they were hauled by the officials.”

Howdaa? They must have spent a lot of money in the Chamundeshwari election?”

“It is in crores, I understand.”

“One crore is one followed by seven zeroes, alwa… .?”

Howdajji. They say Rs 200–300 crore must have been spent in Chamundeshwari constituency!”

“If they spend so much in a ‘Bayyo’ election, how much would they spend, when they fight in a general election all over All-India? If you write ‘1’ at one end of India, and keep writing ‘zero’ till you reach other end, won’t that many crores be spent on a general election?”

I was amazed at Ajji’s acumen in Number Theory! She was like Sourav Ganguly, not willing to give up.

“Ajji! I don’t know how many crores they usually spend. But, it will be close to what you have just described!”

“Our neighbour Puttathayamma told me that from now on, Sonia Gandhi’s birthday would be celebrated as ‘Hennumagala Dinaantha. (Girlchild day). Instead of pouring so much of money down the election drain, if they use the same money wisely, why girl-child, they can solve the problem of  ‘Hotte-Batte-Hatti’ of the entire population, alweno! If you add the suitcase money and all the gifts, Juttge mallige hoovanu agirodhu!’

“Ajji! What you say is so true. It’s such a simple thing to understand. But they don’t want to do it.”

There was silence quite sometime.

“Ajji, Have you gone to sleep?”

Illappa. Manassige bejarayithu, Ashte.”

Statutory Warning: Idiots can be injurious to health

6 December 2006

SRINIVAS BHASHYAM forwards a newspaper clipping that is self-explanatory.


Why Vengsarkar isn’t still in South Africa

3 December 2006

E R RAMACHANDRAN writes: The BCCI selection committee met in the house of Union Agriculture Minister to select the Indian Team for the South Africa Test Series.

‘Col’ Dilip Vengasarkar, the new Chairman of Selection Committee, who took his nickname seriously, had come in Army fatigues.

“You are still here! I thought you were already in South Africa cheering up our boys,” said Sharad Pawar greeting the Chairman.

“Before going, I wanted to make sure you would not cut my TA-DA if our boys lose a match,” said the ‘Col’.

Just then, Pawar’s mobile phone broke in to a wail.

“Hello! Pawarji! I wanted to tell you about my serious concern about the farmers’ suicides in Vidharbha belt. It’s a burning issue and we must do something about it quickly…. So is Ganguly’s inclusion in the Indian Team.. I am waiting for the ‘Breaking News’ on the ‘ National Bangla NBTV’. That was Brinda Karat.

As he finished talking, the Lawani tune meant the Maharashtra CM Vilas Rao Deshmukh was calling.

“Kaay, Pawar Saahib! The onion prices have stabilized in Yeotmal and Simhagad. There’s nothing to worry. I have personally instructed the drug inspectors to remove poisonous drugs from the medical shops. Ab Paashan bhi nahin milega! By the way, I understand Chappell’s experiments are over and you want ‘old wine in old bottle’ policy. Since Laxman and Ganguly are back, I want you to pick apna original Little Master Sunil Gavaskar. Sunil keeps himself fit with Television Commentary and by giving tips to Sachin.”

As Pawar was wiping beads of sweat off his forehead, the next call from Amrinder Singh.

“Pawarji! Suniye.I will come straight to the point. The Centre cannot ignore Punjab. Madam had told she would reduce the diesel prices by Rs. 5 and you people have reduced by only Re 1. No Punjab-da-farmer can tolerate this. Aur ek bath sunlijiye! Just include our Navjot Singh Sidhu in the team. Our Puttar is now an all-rounder! He can bat, talk his head off on any subject and break in to fits of uncontrollable laughter! He will be an asset to the team as we lose more often. Yes. He is convicted of murder. But so are many of your cabinet colleagues and MPs in Parliament!”

As the selectors started their deliberations, the next call came from the former Prime Minister.

“Because, I haven’t raised my voice, don’t think we are Nikammas! I don’t know what is your policy on giving farmers’ lands to IT/BT Industry. Large scale Hera-Pheri  is going on here with the result, major projects like Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor are getting delayed….  I am told you are the President of BCCI and a meeting is going on in your house right now. Kindly include our great spinners Chandra and Prasanna in the Indian team! Leave Rahul Dravid alone and don’t mess around with his captaincy. Otherwise I will go on an indefinite fast for 24 hours!”

Likewise, Haryana CM wanted Kapil Dev; Delhi CM wanted Mohinder Amarnath and Karunanidhi wanted Srikkanth  in the Indian Team.

Pawar felt he might faint any time when a call from the Lok Sabha Speaker.

“Mr. Pawar! The Leftists are unhappy with the measly subsidy you are giving to the farmers for onions and are planning a ‘No confidence’ motion. Don’t worry, I will not allow that. O.K.?  I will also drop the motion planned against what’s-his-name, the Indian team Coach.  Brinda told me that Dada would be back in the team.  Pranab, Mamta Didi and Buddhadeb are here in my office.We have already briefed Madam Sonia about our common minimum agenda! It is not Dadagiri. Just make sure Sourav is captain of Team India again!!”

Getting a learner’s license—without a bribe

1 December 2006

GOVINDA K writes: I had a Learner’s License earlier. But as it had lapsed a year ago, I decided to get a new learner’s license once again.

I decided that I would get a license without going through a broker or giving extra money.

I faced lot of problems and I am yet to get a license. I faced an oral test. That man asked me about 8-9 questions. I answered wrongly for 2 questions. Hence I was failed.

My experienced friends told me that it is too difficult to pass through the oral test. Hence it is better to take up the written test where we have to answer for objective type questions. And lesser chances of failing.

After all this experience, i decided to write some useful tips for persons who want to get a new license.

* Be prepared 2 days earlier to get the license. There is a need to submit one document for the proof of your age. And another document for the proof of your address. You SSLC marks card or birth certificate will surely qualify for the proof of age. And coming to address proof, you either need to submit you passport or ration card or Life Insurance policy or election voter’s ID card. Get both the documents attested by a gazetted officer. And please keep the original documents also with you. Though the documents are attested, you will be asked for original documents for the fault of not going through the broker!

* Keep at least 4 passport sized photographs ready and keep 3 of them in a small paper cover.

* Carry a small bag. It is better that you keep all your stationery items like stapler, gum, ball pins, A4 sheets, pen.

* Your first step is to take the challan from a counter. If you go through a broker, the broker will give you a slip with your name written in it. When you give this slip, that man will immediately print the challan and give you. But if you go without a broker, he will ask you your name, and in case you don’t have proper change (Rs. 30 for Learner’s license), he will send you back again to get proper change. So the problem starts right from this counter also.

* Now as you enter the office, a man with a board “nimma sahaayakkaagi” (for your help) will be sitting relaxing and if you ask him any clarifications, he will get angry and says “gottilla alli keli nodi” (i don’t know ask there). I compared him with the hard working call centre professionals who never show that they are irritated and  ask us  “sir  any more  clarifications? thanks, have a nice day.”

* Now you have to show that challan to another counter and get an application form. Here starts the differentiation. The person who goes through a broker gets the application form from the broker. And the application form of each broker is unique with some signs which the officers can understand. And the broker’s name will be written behind the photograph. So here they get the each broker’s “account details.”

* After you struggle to fill the application form, get ready to stand in the long queue. After waiting for one hour, your turn will come. But dont be surprised. The officer who is to check you application form will go out for “kaaphee” every half an hour. And here starts your first test. If you don’t keep th photographs in a cover pinned properly to the application, your application is rejected. Your application will be rejected for every small error.

* Even if you produce your marks card with attestation, you will be asked to produce th original document. Oh this officer is so careful in scrutinising your application. But how come Al-Badr terrorists managed the scrutiny of this “intelligent” officer?

* Once your scrutiny is over, you have to again stand in a long queue. When your chance comes, you will be called in for a oral test. If you go through a broker, you will be asked 3 ready made questions. If you dont go through a broker, you will be asked to explain all those traffic symbols which RTO has never used in any roads.

* If you go through a broker, you are passed. If you dont go through a broker, then you are failed. Hold your breath if you had applied for leave and come. You have to attend the test once again tomorrow! So put 2-3 days leave together and go to get a license. The next day you have to again go through the same old officer standing in a long queue and get your application scrutinised yet again!! Didn’t he check the papers the first day? Then why a scrutiny again?

* And again face the exam the next day. The questions will be of the nature “nan magane broker illde license ad-hEge maaDisteeya naanu nODe biDteeni. ee question answer maaDu”

* And it is better to take up written test instead of oral test. But for my great amma “chamundeshwari mahime”, (chamundeshwari bye elections), one inspector who conducts the written test was busy seizing the illegal vehicles of party workers some where in the outskirts of the city.

* I have still not yet got my license. One broker gave me a deal: “yaako tamma ishTu kashTa? naan ilva. swalpa e kaDe taLLu. nin kelasa naaLe maaDisi koDteeni”

But somewhere in the bottom of my heart, a voice says: “let me try to get it done without paying money. Let me try…”

I didn’t get the license yet. I will try again after the elections.