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As a law abiding, responsible citizen, the author shows immense patience in getting the PUC of her car done, but loses out in a moment of rashness. A hilarious personal account.
Recently, news broke in Delhi about a man surrendering his two-wheeler to the traffic police, after he was fined for Rs. 23000/- for multiple traffic violations. He claimed that the “scooty was cheaper than the challan”.
I couldn’t resist digging deeper into what kind of traffic violations he was booked for, which lead to such heavy fines. To be honest I only wanted to ascertain that I don’t violate any such traffic rules unknowingly.
I am anyway a bit scared of interacting with Police. Though I was taught that the Police Station is the first place you should reach out to if you are in trouble, yet I realise that I don’t want to interact with them, because I just want avoid any ‘trouble’.
Talking about the said case, I learnt through media that the driver of the scooty had numerous violations against the given challan of Rs. 23000/- , including driving without a helmet. Now, he has ascertained a value for his scooty, the challan obviously has a substantial value, but I wonder if he really valued his own life while he drove without helmet?
I visualised the driver of the scooty in my mind, similar to Hrithik Roshan in the movie Bang Bang. As the news spread in digital media, the macho image that I had created was shattered.
Anyway, the entire incident led me to check the revised challan rates at Delhi Traffic Police and its list of fines.
I usually practice the conduct of a good citizen. When it comes to driving and maintenance of my car, I am even more disciplined, for the simple reason that I am a woman and do not intend to ‘invite trouble’.
I ensured that all the required documents are kept in my car in accordance with the new guidelines.
How can I miss such an important document?
“Mar gai!” (I’m dead!) I murmured, as my heart beat was now audible to my ears. I checked the invoice of the car. Oh! My car has yet not celebrated its first anniversary with me. “Bach gai,” (Saved) I sighed.
Though I was saved then, I knew that I would need a PUC Certificate in next ten 10 days.
It was 12.30 pm. I immediately discarded my plan to write a good story and headed to the nearest Pollution Check Centre.
In next five minutes, I was at the fuel station, which I visit regularly. I avoided the long queue as usual, considering that it was meant for vehicles waiting for CNG at the adjacent station.
The queue was considerably longer than usual, as I passed beside a long stretch of parked vehicles. I was impressed that many people these days are smart enough to drive a CNG Vehicle.
I proudly parked my car just in the centre of the fuel station in front of bright yellow box. Before, I could get out of my car, a man, apparently in his early 40s with a strident persona appeared and asked me “Pollution karene aaye ho madam?” (Have you come to do a pollution check, madam?)
“Ye line dekh rahe ho? Ye sab pollution karane aaye hain, jaake peeche lag jao” (Do you see this line? They have all here to get a pollution check done, please go and line up behind them). He showed me the queue which I had mistaken for CNG.
“Ye sab log?” (All these people?) I was astonished.
“Haanji, wo naye challan aaye hain naa, to in sabko yaad aa gaya.” (Yes. After that new law has come, they have all remembered that they need to get it done.) He said, and directed me to move my car and get back in queue.
I glanced at the watch. It was 1 pm. The heat, humidity, and hunger together were a perfect reason to award instant euthanasia to the responsible citizen in me, but I have been a fighter always.
I moved, and parked my car right at the last spot of the long queue. There were about 30 cars waiting ahead of me, with their responsible owners / drivers.
The entire scene looked like a hospital where the patients wait sitting on a bench in a queue. Their respective attendants are roaming to and fro beside the queue to assess the busyness of the doctor and to ascertain “mera number kab aayega?” (when will my turn come?)
The doctor on the other hand inserted a tube in the butt of the car ruthlessly, (of course with the assistance of a nurse), checked it for its well-being and gave a Fitness Certificate.
The queue moved slowly for initial 15 minutes. After an hour I felt stagnant since my car had not moved an inch. I started walking towards the yellow ‘cabin’ of the ‘doctor’, when I saw a man rushing towards me waving his hand furiously suggesting a loud “NO”. He reached his car and shouted from there. “Server down hai, aaj nahi hoga” (The server is down, it’s not going to happen today)
I approached the ‘yellow’ office. I couldn’t see the ‘doctor’, but the man who had directed me to wait in the queue told me, “server down hai madam” (the server is down). I asked him, “kab theek hoga bhaiya?” (when will it start working?)
He replied on behalf of the doctor, who has done his best but now everything is in God’s hand. “Kuch pata nahi, hone ko abhi aur nahi to kal tak bhi nahi! Aap kal aa jaana subah 9 baje rush nahi hota.” (I don’t know. It could start working soon, or maybe not even tomorrow. Anyway, try tomorrow morning around 9 when there isn’t too much of a rush.)
The next morning, I was at the Fuel Station sharp at 8.55 am, waiting in the queue which was shorter than the previous day. I asked the man who seem to be managing a chaotic pollution check station, “kitna time lagega?” (How much time will it take?
He said, “dekho, hum to apna kaam kar rahe hai, baaki aap wait karo madam.” (See, we are doing our work; you’ll have to wait, madam).
I waited for about one hour when suddenly, a brilliant idea struck my mind, and I reached for my phone and typed, ‘pollution check centres near me’ on google. It showed one at the distance of 1.6 kms. I rushed there, thinking most people must not be knowing about this one.
This one appeared like a dispensary with a much smaller set up. I parked my car and checked for my turn. The man who was managing here was already under pressure and said firmly, “line mein lag jao madam.” (Get in the line, madam)
The queue seemed to be chaotic, and the traffic was built up on the narrow road due to the vehicles queued for pollution check, occupying half of the road. I was again disappointed and came back home thinking, I will give it a try in the evening.
In the evening, I again reached my favourite hospital aka centre where the same man was trying to organise the long queue. He immediately recognised me and said, “arre madam aap chale gaye warna ho jata abhi tak. Ab dekho kitni lambi line hai” (madam you went away yesterday – now see how long the line is). The queue was actually longer than ever.
“To ab? Main kya karun Suraj ji?” (So now what should I do, Suraj ji?) I now knew his name was ‘Suraj Yadav’ after a few interactions with him.
He said, “ab kal aana madam.” (Come tomorrow, madam). I again came back home.
Next day, I was ready at 8 am as I was determined to get a PUC Certificate at any cost. Even if I had to spend entire day at the fuel station. At 8.15 am I went to the fuel station and there was no one other than a few cars parked in the queue.
I parked my car at the last spot in the queue which was apparently smaller than before. I started to search for my favourite person these days, Suraj. Seeing me, he said, “Haanji madam.” (Hello madam)
“Bhaiyya server chal raha hai naa? Aaj ho payega pollution gaadi ka?” (Is the server working today? Will I be able too get the pollution check on my car today?) I almost pleaded him.
“Madam jee teen din se aa rahe ho aap. Aaj naya system hai. Aap apni gaadi ka number aur phone number likhwa jao, aur “number le jao. Aapka number. aane se 15 minute pehle call kar denge. Aap gaadi leke aa jaana.” (You’re coming here for three days now, madam. Give me your car number and phone number, and take your token number. I’ll call you 15 mins before your number comes, and you can get your car then.)
I was impressed with his management skills. My otherwise hesitant self in sharing my mobile number disappeared, and I readily shared it with him. “97 no. hai aapka. 4 baje ke aas paas aapka no. aayega. Phone kar denge aapko, aap ghar jao,” (Your token number is 97. Your turn will come around 4 pm. I’ll call you, you can go home now) he said after writing my details.
I came back home and turned the ringer “ON” at highest possible volume so that I don’t miss his call. Finally, I received a call at around 4.45 pm and I was awarded the PUC Certificate at around 5.30 pm.
I headed back home. To avoid traffic in the local market, I came out through a deserted road and reached an intersection. The traffic signal at the intersection was apparently not working and I was confused whether to stop or go. Since it was a blind turn, I could not manage to see if signals across were working or not.
Eventually, I decided to stop at the signal and pushed the brake pedal. Thud! I heard a sound as I was pushed forward with a jerk. I saw a rickshaw driver escaping from my left. He looked furious. Before I could realise what had happened, he fled away, blabbering at me.
I waited for a few seconds but could not see any of the cars waiting or any lights flashing from the traffic signal, so I took a right turn.
Just after 100 meters, I saw a traffic police officer posing like Shahrukh Khan in middle of the road. I stopped immediately and rolled the window down as he said, “red light tod ke aaye ho madam, side mein laga lo jara!” (You’ve crossed a red light – please stop on the side).
I sighed and took out my driving license like a responsible citizen!
Image source: a still form the movie Piku
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Vandana is a freelance HR Professional, Content Writer, Soft Skills Trainer, and a Blogger. Her
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