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And thus, OG earns his Driving license: Part I

April 30, 2009


And finally, after a classical “rubber meets road” spectacle, I received my American driving license two weeks back!!!! You might ask me as to what is so special in an American license since I drive in India as well. The common thinking is that if you can drive in India, you can drive anywhere in the world; which is very true.

The only problem that we Indians face is that we need to follow rules here and I mean REAL rules unlike in India. I know so many desi blokes who have failed in the first attempt; the reason not being their driving judgment but their rule following ability. Initially I also had this problem when I had to adjust to the 1001 rules that we have here.

If you did not get me, then let me give you an apt comparison. Suppose Archimedes lived in America now. Learning to drive here is very simple; roads are good, people have good road sense and it is like asking Archimedes to run naked through the streets crying “Yo Rekha” but learning the rules here is like asking the same Archimedes to dance to Hip Hop music!!!

The rules regarding eligibility for driving here are slightly confusing. Each state has its own rules and California does have a few good rules for us “legal aliens”!!!

The “California hand book for driving” states that any legal immigrant can drive in this great state as long he/she has a valid license from his/her home country. Hence I had used that as an excuse to not apply for an American license when I was here on the last two occasions (in 2007 and 2008) for a total of 6 months (3 + 3) and I drove my rented car (that my company so graciously provided) with my Indian license.

But this time, since I am here for a longer haul, I thought that I might as well apply for a license as it also acts as a residence and age proof!!! The only snag in the process what that the great law of California stated that I needed to:

  1. Pass an eye test.
  2. Pass a written examination and score a minimum of 30 correct from 36 questions.
  3. Pass the driving test of about 15 minutes with less than 15 normal mistakes and no critical mistakes.

So, I gave myself ample time to prepare for the written test. In other words, I gave myself a week to prepare for the written exam. Well, even the laziest person would have finished reading the 100 page manuscript in a week but apparently as I found out, I had not read even a single page by the end of that week!

Overconfidence has always been a problem for me in my life and there have been many significant moments in my life where it has come out in full force. I still remember my college project in my fourth year of engineering. We were the Jango group of four: me, AT, KJ and PT. If you guys remember, ISRO had sent a SRE (Space Recovery Experiment) satellite to the space in 2007. We were actively involved in that project in liaison with VSSC (Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre) in Trivandrum. In other words, our project guide was actively involved in it and we did not know chicken shit about it!!!!! We only used to go to VSSC to eat the superb low prized food and visit the Veli beach!!!

We also used to have a project review in front of a panel (in college) every month those days and it used to be an individual effort. Not knowing anything was never a problem for me as I used to be the first one in for the interview. Let me just say that during those interviews, I used to let my imagination run freely and tell the panel big grand tales about what I (not we) did. Since the panel was as dense as we were about the project, I used to get away with it. AT and KJ were no different!!!! Finally when the poor soul PT (last as per alphabetical order) went in, they used to cross check everything (what we said) with him. LOL!!!!!!!!!! And he used to dread that part!!!

That poor soul finally got the lowest marks in our gang for project when in fact he was the only one who did something!!!!! And even now he gets irritated when we bring that subject up!!!

But I do not wish to digress.

And so, last month, I meandered to the DMV office to write my test. The pretty lady (why is it always pretty ladies?) insisted that I cough up 26 + 2 dollars for the test. They said that they have this new offer where I can save 2 dollars if I become an organ donor!!! I decided to save those for India and paid up those 2 dollars as well.

I had my apprehensions about the eye test as my eyes are not exactly good and they always fail me when needed. What I mean is that I always spot the beautiful girl on the road long after others have (poor me).

Thankfully I passed that without much of a problem!!! And then I had to take the written test. That was when OG started sweating!!!!

Part Two (and final) coming out soon!!!!

22 Comments leave one →
  1. sraboneyghose permalink
    April 30, 2009 3:05 am


    I remember when I first got my American license in NYC, I had to sit through a full day class on rules (NY rule)…Maha boring…I even fell asleep and the instructor had to wake me up! Thankfully, when I moved to NJ, all I had to do was take the written test as my NYC license was still valid…
    OG: LOL … you seem to sleep in the class and behind the wheels…. πŸ˜›
    thanksfully I did not any class……. just had to read the hand book……. πŸ˜€

    • sraboneyghose permalink
      April 30, 2009 3:52 am

      Yes, driving in America makes me do that :-)…That’s why like stick shifts…
      OG: LOL!!!! good that you aree in india now!!!!! πŸ˜›

  2. April 30, 2009 5:06 am

    Congratulations dude… “Yo REkha” …. he he he … thats really funny… !!! πŸ˜€

    OG: πŸ˜› πŸ˜› Thanks!!

  3. April 30, 2009 5:28 am

    I couldn’t go past that picture. Ha…ha…ha…. Why is your index finger longer than the middle one? πŸ˜†

    You can’t spot a beautiful girl on the road? Oh my! your eyes are failing you. πŸ˜₯

    OG: πŸ™‚ LOL at photo….. The original pic was like that…. nyaan endhu cheyyan!!!! πŸ™‚
    yeah, my eyes are failing me…. Sob sob!!!!

  4. April 30, 2009 6:14 am

    :lol:that pic !!!
    a work of art OG πŸ˜€

    had no clue that getting the driving license was such a long process..and Smitha’s post says its more tough in UK…

    In Inida the rules are such BS that ppl dont even go to give any test…just pay some green paper and get the damn thing sitting at home..

    waiting for part two when OG started sweating and the written test loomed large πŸ˜€
    OG: LOL!!!! IN india, I had to go thru the whole process…. write test and then behind teh wheel as well πŸ˜› πŸ˜›
    well, it is not that long a process but you know how I exaggerate things πŸ˜› hehehehehe
    yeah, part two coming out soon as soon as i can recollect what I did πŸ˜›

    • April 30, 2009 2:40 pm

      Indyeah, In Kerala – you have to do everything – eye test, written and the practs – My aunt just got her license, after going thru all that πŸ™‚

      OG: Hey smitha, did you pass yuour test?

  5. April 30, 2009 6:30 am

    hehehe….truly interesting! waiting for the 2nd half…

    and yes, pls convey my heartfelt sympathies to PT.. lol
    OG: πŸ˜› yes, I will do that!!!!

  6. Mystery permalink
    April 30, 2009 8:35 am

    such a long process! I was so tensed during my driving test in india that i messed it up a bit. but luckily i passed πŸ™‚ and got my driving license
    Waiting eagerly for the part-2
    OG: congrats on your license!!!!

  7. Happy Kitten permalink
    April 30, 2009 8:53 am

    LOL! as for spotting girls.. please dont worry.. it will only increase with age.. am living with one..

    Yea.. Indian DL is easy any time….. and it used to be somewhat the same way here in Kuwait too until a few guys got caught.. but money still does it quietly..
    OG: LOL……. am not bad though…. πŸ˜›
    money works even there? interesting….

  8. April 30, 2009 9:54 am

    Congratulations on getting your most valuable American photo ID and for a very interesting post. Are you going to continue to follow those ‘yo rekhas’ (Chennai and Bangalore have some well marked roads these days)on landing back in India??

    OG: when in india, i drive like indians!!!!!

  9. Badz permalink
    April 30, 2009 1:35 pm

    LoL! I take it we have the same rules here in the UK (meaning like yourself, I only had 36 questions and hazard perception BUT unfortunetly, a year ago, it went up to 50 questions plus hazard perception. And my sister passed it on the last day it was 36 questions. πŸ˜€ ) BUT the only differnce is we don’t have to take an eye test first. Our eye test is on the day on the practical exam. Before taking the exam, the make us read a random number plate from about 20.5 metres away. If you cannot do that, then they terminate the test. Which is basically you failed before you even started. πŸ˜• When my father took the test, he cheat by pretty much memorising the number plates around. πŸ˜† And I just got it right by pot luck because my eye sight is REALLY BAD but hate wearing glasses. BUT I passed somehow 2 years ago. so πŸ˜€
    By the way, congrats and looking forward to the next part.
    OG: our eye test was on the day of written and it was just a formality!
    50 question!!! wow and congrata to you as well and your father!

    • Badz permalink
      April 30, 2009 2:20 pm

      My father passed 22 yrs ago (& mother 25 yrs). They had it easy. No theroy just practical. 😦 BUT thanks anyway. πŸ™‚
      Everyone in my household drives except my baby brother. πŸ˜€

      OG πŸ˜› πŸ˜›

  10. April 30, 2009 2:45 pm

    lol!!! You sure know how to spin a yarn πŸ™‚ ‘I had not read even a single page by the end of that week!’ – Sounds remarkably similar to my story 😦 As for ‘legal aliens’ – well, first time I went to the US – It actually shocked me to be referred to as an ‘alien’ – of all the possible things!!!!!!

    LOL at ‘Yo Rekha’!!! Here in the UK – you also have to apply for a ‘Provisional License’, then you can apply for your ‘theory test’ and then you need to have classes with instructors (each class costs around 20 pounds and I know people who have needed 48 classes!!!!!!) My US experience was a cakewalk in comparison 😦
    Anyways, atleast you have got your license!! Congrats!!
    OG: Hey Smitha, how was your test??

    • Badz permalink
      April 30, 2009 6:09 pm

      LoL Smitha! I get the impression you have driven a car before. Why didn’t you just do the fast track course to get your driving license? you’d have you’re licence in a period of 1 or 2 weeks (considering you pass).

  11. Badz permalink
    April 30, 2009 6:13 pm

    Which I’m sure you would of course. πŸ˜† And applying for a provisional isn’t that bad. We use it as ID. πŸ˜‰

  12. Vimmuuu permalink
    April 30, 2009 6:47 pm

    I just had to drive on one straight road for 5 mins to get my license. Ok, now thats in India. And Im pretty much sure with all those written tests, I will never ever earn a license in US.

    LOL @ Yo Rekha. I somehow have a feeling that this is what Archemedis meant too !! πŸ˜€

    Waiting for the second part !
    OG: πŸ˜› πŸ˜› dai, it is simple here as well…. πŸ˜›

  13. April 30, 2009 8:11 pm

    I was at the end of my driving classes(only one class was left), when I was picked up and thrown in UK! 😦 So no license and that too when I had bought my first car in India just 1 month back. I did not even got a chance to touch it!! 😦

    OG: Then get one in England dude πŸ˜› πŸ˜›

    • Badz permalink
      April 30, 2009 8:57 pm

      Awww! Poor you. I’m sure you’ll be able to drive it when you return back to India. πŸ™‚

  14. May 1, 2009 9:51 am

    Lol @ the picture :P!

    And congrats on passing the eye test. Lemme go on to the next post πŸ™‚
    Heck! Congrats anyway πŸ™‚ for an achievement:)

    I think it is only in India that people can get a licence to drive, and what not, so very very easily, because they dont even have to write, read or even drive the darned vehicle… :P!

    Used to be that way, an age ago, I wonder how it is still, these days πŸ™‚

  15. May 2, 2009 6:14 am

    I am way way late at commenting here! Blame it on weekend.. mine starts on friday πŸ˜€

    Man that was funny! your pic i mean!! he he he..

    I am planning since one year to learn to ride a two wheeler but havent got around doing it.. but then on second thoughts i am so absent minded that I better not..!

    • May 2, 2009 6:18 am

      And yo rekha was cho funny!

      We did our project in LnT having said that have no idea about what the project was πŸ˜‰

      In the implementation phase ( 15 days before submission) we came to know that the kit was no longer available [ we were to do some fancy programming on DSP processors] so it turned into study project

      We added all we had into the documentation added pseudo codes .. crazy time I tell you.. and each of the PPs had different ideas about what the documentation entailed.. it helped that we had the college toppers in the group πŸ˜€ [not me ofcourse ;)]


  1. And thus, OG earns his driving license: Part II « Aram + Aram = Kinnaram

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