By the time this article is published, I will have either earned rightful ownership of one of the most coveted possessions, ‘the NSW driver’s license’ or be sulking over what went wrong and why the testing officer couldn’t be a tad bit lenient.
Whatever the case, I truly and most sincerely believe that of all the examinations that I have taken in my life until now, the NSW driving test has been the most petrifying of all and has made me feel like a ‘good for nothing’ even before attempting it. Having said that let me confess that the first bit, the computer test was a cake walk. Aren’t we Indians sheer geniuses at all things theoretical! While the guy next to me was venting colourful epithets after almost every third click, I found myself breezing through it and finished the test way before time.
Yes, I had done it, I had passed the DKT (Driver Knowledge Test) in one go. But was that the real challenge? For all of you who have gone through it, I bet, you know the answer.
It was the next stage, the practical bit, the driving test that was sending shivers down my spine.
I had heard stories, real stories of how one can fail the driving test. One of my friends had shared her experience. She had barely started the car when the testing officer said, “You have failed, would you still like to continue?” “What? The car hasn’t even moved, how I can fail?” she quipped. Well, she hadn’t moved the car, but had moved the rear view mirror to adjust it, after she had started the car. Rule broken = Fail.
Another friend who has been driving on Indian roads even before he started high school had committed a supposedly common mistake, stopped just past the stop line. Rule broken = Fail.
A regular listener who often rings in on my show on Indian Link Radio, Ruchika once shared with me on-air, how she had always been a topper all her life and how failing the driving test has shattered her confidence and made her feel miserable – to the extent that she didn’t attempt it again for years. Fortunately she recently called up to say that finally she mustered some courage and attempted it again, this time passing with flying colours. Well, I have a bank of such horror stories, but I shall ‘brake’ at that.
So, to cut a long story short, I decided to enroll myself in a driving school. Needless to say $60/hour did hurt, but as everything comes at a cost, so be it!
Now here’s another common ‘funda’ that we Indians tend to share: getting a ‘desi’ trainer to teach us the nuances of the Aussie rules. After all we share a bond, they would understand the psyche of a fellow Indian like no other Aussie trainer, and above all, have to give us some discount at least!
But let me warn you, experience has it that unless you are prepared to reveal your entire ancestry, every little detail of your existence and answers to all those encroaching questions during the course of that one hour lesson, steer clear of the desi trainer. Pay some extra bucks and get someone who’s not interested in your history, but in your driving and driving only!
So, back to the driving lessons. With every lesson as much as I was fielding those questions, I was getting to know ways in which one can fail the test. Start without the leg on the brake = Fail; don’t signal for at a least 5 seconds before leaving a parking space or moving from a kerb = Fail; and the list simply goes on. And then there is a list for loss of points too.
I don’t know how many of you have gone through something similar, but trust you me, if you were one of those who passed the test before things became so strict and difficult, consider yourself lucky.
Did I not mention that I used to be an expert behind the wheels back in India, but does that matter anymore? Don’t bother answering, that was meant to be a rhetorical question. So while it may be too late for you to wish me luck, here’s wishing good luck to all of you who are yet to drive past the checkpoint.
Stop Press: I passed, watch out NSW roads!