Opinion: You aren’t judged based on what you drive anymore, but where you are coming from…

Each state or popular tourist destination has a villain registration plate, which they despise from the depths of their hearts.

By Shivank Bhatt | on January 31, 2024 Follow us on Autox Google News

Regardless of how loudly I feel that ‘mountains are calling’ me, I shudder at the thought of stepping out of the cosy confines of my bed – be it to celebrate a new year or to enjoy a long weekend in the hills. The reason is simple. I don’t want to encounter the same bunch of people I despise every single day of my city life – fellow motorists, that is. Plus, at higher altitudes, the mountain air, or the lack thereof, tends to bring out the worst in the average driver of our country. Let’s just say that these things aren’t conducive to maintaining my blood pressure. So, thanks, but no thanks.

This New Year was different, though, And, nope, I am not talking about the traffic.

Two of my cousins landed at my place and wanted to celebrate the grand occasion of the earth completing a full circle around the sun by having a bonfire night at a slightly higher altitude. Surprisingly, they managed to pester me into submission. According to them, I apparently love driving all the time: ‘That’s your job, isn’t it?’ Yeah, well, alright then.

And soon, we were on the road to the hills of Kasauli in my long-term Jimny. As soon as we entered the Kalka-Shimla highway, a Mahindra XUV500 cut me off rather violently. ‘Here we go…business as usual,’ I thought to myself as I cussed and abused the unruly driver in my head.

‘These HR drivers are a menace everywhere, dude. They have no understanding of how to drive in the hills; no lane discipline!’ ranted one of my passengers.

‘Yeah, you’re right… but, then, we are also driving an HR-registered car,’ I replied with a smirk on my face to lighten the mood.

‘Oh, then everyone else on the road must be calling you an idiot because we all know that HR guys drive like *drumroll* idiots,’ he blurted with a deadpan face.

Well, I took some offence. Now, while I agree that the XUV driver did everything to confirm the stereotype, I must add – rather surprisingly, in his defence – that he wasn’t the only one veering left and right on the road like a kite in a storm. In fact, there were multiple drivers pulling the same antics, sometimes even more recklessly. But, only the HR guy caught our attention.

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Fast forward to two days later. I was lost in a sea of reels, watching random stuff, and suddenly there was a video of a white Creta driving through a traffic jam in Manali with all of its doors wide open. The occupants, including the driver, were hanging out as if they had won an election (such absurdity is only acceptable then, isn’t it?). I looked through the comments section, and to my lack of surprise, it was all too predictable. ‘These HR guys should be banned in the hills,’ ‘I knew from a distance that it was going to be an HR / DL car when I saw this video’, and so on.

Here, I must add that it’s not exclusively HR-registered vehicles that drive people up the wall. Each state or popular tourist destination has a villain registration plate, which they despise from the depths of their hearts. For instance, last year in Udaipur, I was hanging out with a local, and every time he spotted a GJ-registered vehicle, he would start fuming and make disparaging remarks. I noticed a similar behaviour in Sikkim towards WB vehicles. And I am all but certain that this trend is followed in other regions of the country as well.

In fact, I believe I have also faced this strange prejudice multiple times over the years. You see, as car journalists, we get different cars from different manufacturers, registered in different states. And I think people tend to judge me differently depending on the registration number of my car.

For instance, when I drive an MH- or a TN-registered car in north India and end up doing something silly unknowingly, fellow road users tend to give me the benefit of the doubt. But if I make the same or even lesser mistake driving an HR or a DL vehicle, I get death stares and muted abuses through glass windows.

So, what’s the solution to this misery?

My suggestion is that the government should make BH registration plates standard across all state RTOs, just like the GST. You see, with identical registration plates, drivers / cars from different states won’t be subjected to derision based on some preconceived notions and strange prejudices. We shouldn’t let this registration-based hatred come in between us. As kids, didn’t we all pledge ‘all Indians are my brothers and sisters.’ So, let’s refrain from harbouring hatred and passing judgment on each other based on regional barriers.

Also Read: What India Needs is Fewer Lanes and More Common Sense

On a different note, have you ever come across an HR-registered Thar that’s driven by a mentally stable person? Yep, me neither!

Tags: Car Registration

1 Comment


Very true in every part of the country. Even RTO No. based basis do exist and once I was not allowed in a toll gate skipping village route as my car was a preowned car with different RTO Reg no. instead of local RTO no.

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