Getting a Duplicate Driving Licence Issued at RTO Pune – Surprisingly Easy

meeta lost her licence. I also wanted my licence changed – because mine was old and tattered and I wanted the new snazzy smartcard licence.

Today we decided to go to the RTO office in Pune, all by ourselves, without an agent, and get ourselves duplicate licences issues. The process was surprisingly painless.

Unfortunately, the procedure is not really well documented on the web, hence I’m writing it, for the benefit of others:

  • If you’ve lost your licence, you’ll need to file an FIR with the local police station, and bring along a copy of it. If you’re just looking to replace a tattered old licence, just bring that old licence along.
  • First download and print Form LLD from the rtopune website. Fill out this form.
  • Attach two passport size photos to the form with a paperclip.

As far as I can tell, you don’t need any other documents.

Land up at the RTO office. The official timings for this are from 10am to 2:30pm, but when we went, the 3 relevant windows opened at varying times between 10:15 and 10:35. So I suggest you land up at 10:30.

Ignore all the agents who will keep accosting you from the time you enter the gate. They’ll make it seem like it’s impossible to get anything done without an agent – ignore them. Go to Block C. Get the official to check your account in their computers, and sign your form. Then go to Block B, pay fees. If you’re just replacing a lost smartcard with a new one – you’re done. If you’re converting from old-style license to a smartcard, you need to get your biometrics done. After that you’re done.

When we went (at 10am) there were no queues at any of the 3 windows, so we could have been done in less than 10 minutes. However, the Block C person was eating something at her desk so we had to wait a few minutes for her. Then the fees window opened at 10:30. And the biometrics window opened at 10:35. So we were done by 10:45.

If you land up there by 10:30, I think you should be done by 11.

Remember though, parking is a pain there, so might want to go Uber or rickshaw. Except if you’re Sarika (for whom, primarily this article is written, and who owns a building next-door) 🙂

The Yogi and the Daughter-in-Law

Here’s a poem by Bahinabai Chaudhari, who, in spite of being an illiterate housewife (from the Khandesh region of Maharashtra), was an accomplished poet. She verbally composed poems during her lifetime – her son wrote them down and published them after her death.

I’ve attempted a translation of it, and it loses much in translation, but the original is so powerful that some of it still shines through. Here’s I have used Mom’s house for the word maher (which is equivalent to Hindi’s maayka), and in-laws’ for sasar (which is equivalent to the Hindi sasural). These are very poor placeholders. You need to remember what life for a woman was like in the days before urban nuclear families – and all the hardships and humiliations in the big, nasty place that was the husband’s joint-family home. That’s sasar/sasural. And that is in contrast to the loving, caring, carefree place that was the mom’s house – the maher/maayka. Keep that in mind while reading the translation.

If you understand Marathi, skip directly to the Ahirani original below.

The Yogi and the Daughter-in-Law


What’s this disturbance, as I sit here meditating
Woman, stop your mouth from blabbering

‘My Mom’s-house Mom’s-house’ – this song is constantly on your lips
Then why did you come from your mom’s-house to your in-laws’?

Daughter in law:

I have cravings, says the soil of the fields,
Singing songs of Mom’s-house, means I’m pregnant with a girl,

Pay careful attention Yogi, listen to what I say,
For the daughter to have a Mom’s house, the mom toils at the in-laws’,

Where’s God, Where’s God, filled up everywhere and still left over,
And the left overs have all permeated into my Mom’s house.

योगी आणि सासुरवाशीन

I’ve reproduced the original here for you to appreciate if you
understand Marathi. (Technically, it is in Ahirani a language from the
Khandesh region of Maharashtra – but it’s close enough to Marathi that
you should not have trouble understanding it.)

बसलो मी देवध्यानी, काय मधी हे संकट
बाई बंद कर तुझ्या तोंडातली वटवट

“माझं माहेर माहेर” सदा गाणं तुझ्या ओठी
मंग माहेरून आली सासरले कशासाठी ?

आरे, लागले डोहाये सांगे शेतातली माटी
गाते माहेराचं गानं लेक येईल रे पोटी

देरे देरे योग्या ध्यान एक काय मी सांगते
लेकीच्या माहेरासाठी माय सासरी नांदते

देव कुठे देव कुठे, भरीसनी जो उरला
अरे, उरीसनी माझ्या माहेरात सामावला

लेकीच्या माहेरासाठी माय सासरी नांदते (For the daughter to have a Mom’s house, the mom toils at the in-laws’). What a line!

Lack of Trust in India, and how startups should deal with it

@dkhare of Lightspeed India Venture Partners has an interesting article about the problems with the Indian startup ecosystem that makes it difficult to start and grow a startup in India, title The Silent Killers of Startup Growth.

While some of it is the usual whining about the usual problems, there are parts that I liked, especially section about lack of trust across the board in India, the problems it causes, and how to deal with it:

Lack of trust is endemic in India, whether you are driving through the streets (and perhaps Delhi is an extreme example of lack of trust!) or negotiating with corporate partners. Examples include:

  • (some) people misrepresent themselves materially without any consequences (eg overselling).
  • (some) founders focus on control at the expense of value creation.
  • potential buyers have a hard time parting with payment details or paying for off-the-shelf software.
  • (some) people negotiate all the corner cases in extreme detail, to the point where the law of diminishing returns kicks in pretty strongly.
  • trust gap between regulators, law enforcement and business.
  • trust gap between promoters (aka founders) and investors and potential misalignment on timelines and strategy.
  • (some) government and companies focus on protecting themselves from the 1% of customers who are gaming the system at the expense of the 99% remaining customers.

Relationships, not contracts, govern deals. Many brands in India are created from execution reliability at scale rather than product differentiation. Brands in India are disproportionately more valuable as they represent a trusted provider of products or services – think about the enduring value of the Tata brand in multiple unrelated categories. As one consequence, I believe more startups should think about brand-building here in India relative to if they were in the US.

I think the takeaway message is important: in India, build relationships and reputation and the contracts will take care of themselves. Read the full article here

A validation of this same idea comes to me from an entirely different source. My father-in-law, Badri Baldawa, a self-made successful entrepreneur has this blog post on Trust vs Written Agreements which says pretty much the same thing.