Thursday, February 19, 2009

Reflections of a Traffic Violator!

Its  a bad , bad day.

The Kangaroo court is scheduled to meet in the evening at 7pm. I havent even made up my mind yet: to plead guilty? ignorance ? or both?

And there are a host of 'other' mundane things to take care of- like having enough coins for the parking lot in front of Shezhan Restaurant! (thats where the trial is supposed to take place.)

Nothing compares to what is yet to unfold.

A routine  call from the office of Insurance provider brings a news that changes it all. Today is the last day for renewing my car registration! That means I have to clear all traffic dues, renew insurance and present my car at the registration office for renewal - or face further fines!

Pushing all other matters to a zone of relatively lesser importance, registration renewal becomes action plan for the day. First step is to clear traffic fines.  I remember I havent paid the 150 Dirham ($40) fine which was "framed" on me for   illegal parking a few months ago. 


How else would I refer the tragedy that happened seven months ago:
That was just another day. After circling and re circling the huge parking lot in Dubai creek (in front of Twin Towers)  for more than an hour, i finally spotted a vacant space . Carefully squeezing in my (brand new) car and positioning it in the most sought after piece of real estate in Dubai, as a law abiding resident,dropped 10 Dirhams in the machine and got a receipt authorising me to use the parking lot for the next 24 hours. I placed the receipt on the dashboard, and in a rush to reach office slammed the car door close and without a glance back ran off. (already late by an hour!)  

Oh! my! my! Why didnt I look back? even a fraction of a second's glance would have saved me. While I was running to reach office, unknown to me, something happened inside the car. Later on I was able to re construct the sequence of events as follows... in slow motion.... after placing the parking receipt in a clearly visible position, i close the front door by pushing it hard and fast... door closes.. moving a volume of air inside the car... the small piece of paper that I have just placed is raised up... makes an 180 degree somer sault ... and settles back in position.. with the blank side up!! 

End of day, RTA (Roads and Transport Authority) man has already placed a slip for 150 Dirham fine! 

Any way, its an opportunity to learn from mistakes! 

Thinking of it, did I learn from mistakes? .... 

NO is the answer! And the truth stared at me point blank when I opened the Dubai Traffic web portal to pay the fine today.  There I discover ANOTHER traffic violation recorded in my name. This time its attached with an even costlier price tag- Dirhams 400 ($100).  Dated 21 November, Friday 08:50 AM ! 

Considering the fact that Friday is weekend holiday in this part of the world, the natural question arises "Why on earth did I violate traffic rule on a Friday morning?"

And the web portal fails to provide the most important details: what was the type of violation / where was it committed.

Its for me to solve the puzzle. And the clues? ...friday mornings usually start with my wife posing the question:"so what have you cooked up today with your (association) friends so that you can stay away from home?" 

YES!! I remember now. On that fateful day, I was driving to Dhaid Cricket Grounds to watch some of my friends play a game I dont like to watch. (cricket) 

Now the other question : What was that I committed as a violation?

From the list of traffic violations i could locate four offences for which a 400 Dhirham fine could be imposed. 
1. Dangerous overtaking by lorry drivers. - Of course I didnt drive a lorry that day!
2. Overtaking where prohibited.-- may be?
3. Vehicles entering the road in a dangerous manner.-- may be?
4. Carrying out fundamental changes to the engine or chassis without permit. -- Really?  

I spent the rest of the day trying to figure out what was the violation I committed, untill i got a reminder for the 7 pm meeting at Schezan restaurant.  

As for the registration renewal, well.. I have to attend to it tomorrow! 

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