Thursday, July 22, 2010

How much pain I had to go through to get my driving license -

I'm talking about the phase between when I arrived at the court and when I actually gave the test. It was torture, trust me. I arrived at sharp 12:30PM at the court as instructed by the person from Taraknath Driving School who taught me to drive all these days to find a huge crowd, waiting. I asked one of the instructors from the driving school, "When will our test start?", after half an hour of waiting in the sun. He told me that the people giving the test for the bike's license will start and finish off soon. So I waited & so did everyone else. After another half an hour, the bike test started & around 120 men and women with their respective bikes gave the test. Another hour passed and we stood, waiting. Right then, it started raining & right then they said the 'ladies' will give the car-driving test first. So, few of the the ladies jumped into the a common car which would be the vehicle on which our skills would be tested. And I, with one more girl, waited in the rain, thinking that it'll be our turn next, while the examiner disappeared somewhere.

When one and a half hour had passed and there was no sign of the examiner, off we all went to his office to protest only to find him peacefully having lunch while we were waiting for almost 4 hours. While others revolted, I went back to the venue of the exam and rushed to a Chaat stall with only ten bucks to spare and bought something and was on the verge of gobbling the whole thing up when the examiner called the 'ladies'(I had to throw one-fourth of the Chaat) and started asking them questions whose answers they had no clue about and the examiner failed most of them (including me) (Nobody had taught me or told me to learn HAND SIGNALS!). Actually, he was angry about the fact that we protested about standing for four hours in the sun and then in the rain while he ate lunch in his comfortable office.

In the meantime the men giving the test quickly learned the hand signals from an instructor and after a while the examiner stopped asking questions altogether and passed whoever could drive a bit. So again we went and requested him to let us give our tests and told him about how unfair he had been. Finally, he let us take the test which turned out to be nothing but pressing and releasing the accelerator and pretending to look backward when in reverse gear. Relieved, exhausted, wet, slightly embarrassed & hungry, we thanked him for giving us a second chance and finally left the court, pledging not to come back for a long time.

Well, I haven't got my license yet nor will I get it until mid-September! So until then I can't drive as they've taken away our learner's licenses as well. Let's just hope for the best.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

This time for Africa

This was my first visit to Africa and I instantly fell in love with it (& no I didn't go to South Africa to watch the world cup, I went to Kenya for a safari). One word is enough to describe my trip- amazing! Well, it was not perfect (keeping in mind the mega-fight between me and my dad and the almost inedible food at Masai Mara and the broken aeroplane which we traveled in), but who pays much attention to these when you are lucky enough to see the Cheetah and the Leopard and when you can ogle at the king of the jungle for as long as you want to without fearing that he'll attack you.

During the trip, we got to see millions of animals, birds and flora. On the first day, in Nairobi, we went crazy when we set eyes upon the Malibu stork and crazier when we could feed the giraffes. Ben, our driver and tour guide assured us, the next day, that this was just the beginning. And truly it was. The next day was in Mount Kenya Safari Club which used to be a getaway for many well-known Hollywood stars. There, we saw two zebras and started clicking pictures vigorously, only to discover later that zebras were as common in Kenya as cows are in India. The third day, when we went to Lake Nakuru, I was bewildered to see what lay in front of me. Trillions of flamingos which had migrated earlier made the whole lake look pink, and there were several wild buffaloes(one of the big five), zebras, storks, cranes, ibises and others birds which enhanced the beauty of the surroundings of the lake. Later, that day we saw the rhinoceros(two-horned white) and a leopard (which made it three out of the big five). According to the guide this was the 'day of action' and rightly said so. Off we went to Masai Mara the next day and spent the next two days either in a modern tent or safariing on the 'Safari Trails' jeep. Excitement is what it was when we went in search for the other two among the Big Five and complete satisfaction is what it was when we got to see the whole silhouette of big-eared African elephants and the Lion (and his wives and kids), completing the quest for the big five. I also won't forget to mention the numerous hippos with their ears and nose sticking out of water that we saw or the ostriches, vultures, hyenas, jackals, hyraxes and various kinds of bovines(Wildebeests, Hartebeests, topis, elands, antelopes, gazelles, impalas, black bucks, etc.)

I love Africa's wildlife!