Today was an important day for the preparation of the journey, as I finally went to pick up the Certificate of Registration of my bike at the Western Indian Automobile Association (WIAA) where I am a member.
I bought my bike more than a year ago but didn't take the time to register it on my name, by negligeance I admit but also because I knew that I would never be in trouble in India if the cops arrested me and I didn't have my bike papers with me. It never happened anyway and when arrested a couple of time (it's quite usual as they are often curious about a foreigner riding a bike in the city), I was only asked to kindly show my driving licence. The encounter would most of the time end on a nice note chatting about Mumbai life, asking if I were married and if I liked spicy food... A few times I had to give a little something in cash (my favorite part in it was negociating the bribe!)...anyway it was always fun at the end!
For the trip I of course had to get everything proper and make the arrangements to transfer the bike from the previous ownership (an unknow-to-me Mr Desai living in the northern suburbs of Bombay) to me through one of the flagship departments of the Indian Administration : the Regional Transport Office (RTO) ...ohlala...if you are living in India, you know that Indian Administration is really corrupted and one of the slowest in the world...
I had 3 solutions in front of me:
- go to the RTO myself and camp there for one month in order to get the transfer of ownership done. I am exagerrating a bit for the one month spent but I should have to take a lot of free time to go to the differetn RTOs - but only one office would be to simple - and explain my case to an army of local babus - the local name for the dedicated superintendants of the local administration!
- ask the services of an 'agent', pay him a good amount of money (around 4 to 6 000 INR - yes bribes fees are very reglemented and fixed in the Indian administration) for the paperwork to be done with no questions asked.
- finally go through WIAA who has an agreement with Mumbai RTO to facilitate the transfer of ownership
As I am an ethical person (ok no comment) and I didn't want to loose my temper trying to solve the matter with the local babus, I opted for the last solution. I will spare you the endless procedures (bike passing, tranfer from one RTO to another, etc.), but after more than a month and a half of phone calls to make sure my case was properly handled, going to the WIAA office to carry out all the necessary paperwork I was finally granted the certicicate of registation of my bike on my name which you can see below:
Ok, it doesn't kick a$$ but I love the vintage look of the 'thing'. Please admire the piece of paper with my signature on it glued to the book. What a craftsman work!