How To: Get a Duplicate Driving License
The Indian government is an interesting machine. While some parts are well-oiled and run full speed (think Telecom and Aviation), other parts are rusted and dilapidated chunks that should be retired. According to Murphy and his rather accurate laws, I always have to deal with the latter.
So without further adieu, I present to you: How to get a Duplicate Driving License and Not Pay Anything More Than a Paper Clip!
Step 1: Lose your Driving License
I believe that losing your driving license is the most important step. It’s vitally crucial to all of mankind that you to complete this, without which it would be impossible for you to continue to the next step.
There are multiple ways to lose your driving license. You could ask your friend Rohonesh to keep it for a day, he’ll surely lose it. Or you could take a crowded 9:00 am bus to office, like I did, and get pick pocketed for free!
(I even wore my bag in the front, like they do in Mumbai’s locals, and kept my phone and wallet inside my bag. The [very professional] bugger managed to open the bag’s front zip, pull out my wallet, close it and open another zip before I got off the bus. A total travel time of 5 minutes.)
Somehow, you feel happy it was a fine professional job. At least you’re weren’t like Rohonesh.
Step 2: File a Police Complaint
Ah, you’ve lost your wallet / purse? Ensured that apart from easily-replaceable items like credit cards and debit cards you’ve lost your driving license too? Great job, you! Keep up the good work. Remember, victory shall be yours!
The process for a duplicate driving license starts here!
Do ensure that you go to your nearest Police Station and file a complaint. Remember, you’ll have to file a complaint in the station that was nearest to the place you lost your wallet, not nearest to your house. A complaint would be a handwritten letter signed by the person-in-charge. It’s nice to have a photocopy of your driving license to mention the DL number. Do note that the police would prefer you mention ‘lost wallet’ rather than ‘stolen wallet’, but I’d leave this fight to you.
And if the ‘person-in-charge’ asks for some lunch money, tell him/her that you just lost your wallet. And show them the puppy face. It works – really!
Step 3: Visit your Friendly Neighbourhood RTO
I lost my wallet in Bangalore, so I went to the nearest RTO (Road Transport Office?) to get a duplicate made. I did some online research before that and I knew exactly which form to fill, etc. In fact Karnataka’s government website has some really helpful information!
The weekend after my wallet was stolen I went to the Bangalore RTO. Kayaking through a sea of touts (who were haggling to ‘help me’ as if I was a customer at a fish market), I went straight to get a form and filled it up. It was simple and easy. Went up to the desk to submit my papers ..
And they told me to go home. It turns out that my driving license was issued in Delhi, and only there can I get my duplicate made. This moment is also known as the WTF moment.
Step 4: Travel to your Hometown
So I waited two-and-a-half months before I could take any action. That’s when I went home but, alas, I was busy with too many social engagements to go to the RTO there. (Yes, an evening spent in a staring competition with your dog counts as a social engagement.)
It was in my next trip home, a month-and-a-half later, that I actually got down to business.
Step 5: Stand in a Few Queues
Target: Sheik Sarai RTO, New Delhi
The street was empty, littered with election pamphlets, devoid of any cacophony. The wind picked up the sand and blew it on our faces. My nemesis and I. In a duel. Out in the Wild Wild West.
I could hear the pulse of his beat twenty paces away. He wore his stupid tweed jacket, laced with his blood from the fight indoors. All for a glass of water. But this was the Wild Wild West, and people would die for such things. He would die for such things.
Stop With the Western, Will You?
Oh right. Back to the RTO. I day-dream a lot.
Outside, there was an “Enquiry” booth that handed out forms too, so I picked up the L.L.D form for a duplicate driving license (pictured above!). After filling it up, I attached a photocopy of my previous driving license, the acknowledgement of the police complaint, and a self-attested medical declaration form.
(Interesting bit: the medical declaration form has around ten Yes/No questions, but the questions are framed such that some answers are Yes, some are No. Very smart – you can’t ‘do a Rohonesh’ by circling all the ‘Yes’es! It’s a small little test in ‘attention to detail’)
I had to stand in Booth 1 and when it was my turn to submit my form I was asked to get a photocopy of the L.L.D form. Argh. Repeated the procedure to finally submit my form. Without any dramatic effort or thunderous sound, they told me to come a week later. This was my second WTF moment.
Step 6: Stand in a Lot More Queues
So I returned, exactly a week later, to show my face.
Stood in Booth 1 to pick up my form and was told to go to Booth 6 for Data Entry. I noticed what they took a week for: a computer printout of my prior driving license details. Anyways, stood for 20 minutes in the queue for Booth 6, and got a ‘number’ after the data entry was done. What I really liked was that the booth had a monitor facing the customer, so he could see the spelling of all the stuff being typed. Very cool touch.
After getting my ‘number’ I stood in the horrendously long line at Booth 2 for payment. Quite funny that when it comes to payment, the RTO has the longest and slowest line! Stood for 30 minutes and paid the exact fare (Rs. 200/- as of this writing) and got a receipt. Poor touts must have felt sad.
Step 7: Get your Photograph Clicked
After all this, I had to go and stand in a long line at Booth 9. That is where I actually got my photograph clicked, finger scanned and signature taken. All very digital very cool. It was funny how the touts were trying to get their clients to butt in – we called them the “Extra Fees ki Line”.
As a final step, you get your entire bunch of papers signed by one person who cross-verifies everything. He even asked me if the police complaint was correct (it was in Kannada after all, I’m sure he couldn’t understand) and asked me to show my original address proof.
And that was it! With my form submitted, my driving license was sent to me via Speed Post and it reached me within two days. WOW! It’s a fancy one too – a proper smart-card to store my information.
Step 8: Nirula’s Hot Chocolate Fudge to Celebrate
It was quite a herculean task – but I managed to pull through. Ignored the touts, stood in all the lines in a building that was almost about to collapse (due to the pressure of all the paan-thook). For all this effort, I deserved an over-priced under-sized Nirula’s Hot Chocolate Fudge. Yes.
And so do you, reading through 1300 words of utter rubbish after a long hiatus. I sympathize with you all, I really do!
Photo Credits: Me! Woha!