As far as failures go, flunking both two driving tests I underwent today - one for a motorcycle license and one for a four wheeler license - should be a cause for deep concern.
Well, not so much the motorcycle test since I haven't ridden a motorcycle in decades so I was going in cold for the test.
The four-wheeler test was a bit embarassing to say the least. You see, prior to my return to India last year, I had been driving in the US for years without incident.
First, let me show you what the test site looked like.
And the motorcyle test was like this. You fail the test if your foot touches the ground before you exit the white lines.
The four wheeler test was a little trickier than this one. Unfortunately, I don't have a recording of it but basically, you have to reverse into the square and then reverse out of it without touching the white lines. The circles in the middle don't matter for the four wheeler test.
Anyway, I was having some issues with my car's transmission so it stalled a bunch of times after which I was asked to come back next week if I wanted to retake the test.
So why am I glad?
Every test was being recorded for later review
You can't see it in the gif posted above but every test was being recorded for later review before finally awarding the driver license.
No jugaad. No bribes.
It was refreshing to me that there was simply no mention of anyone bribing anyone to get the license without taking or after flunking the test. If you've lived in India for any length of time through the 90s and (probably) the early 2000s, you develop a sixth sense and start picking up subtle language which tells you that some palm-greasing is expected of you.
Happily, there was none of that. Everything was cashless. People came with their papers, did the test, and went home. It made me happy.
Boring as it is, this post is about the absence of something - the idea that a bit of money, some you-scratch-my-back-I-scrath-yours could open doors for you - that has come to define India in my mind. Not seeing it made me happy enough to want to share the news.