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Posts Tagged ‘Car

Confessions of a New Driver

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I have finally taken the plunge. I have finally bought a car. I am finally driving myself around.

 

For so many years I was driven around – by our driver, by the cabbie, by friends, by my mom. Friends encouraged me to learn how to drive. And I’d brandish my driving license at them. Yes I have had a license since 2004.

The story began when I learnt how to shift gears in a  stationary car way back when I was 15 on my Dad’s office waali gaadi, a heavy duty Ambassador. Fast forward to 2004. I went to a driving school, learnt how to drive and got my license as well made. Thereafter I never drove again. I made a few ventures on our Vento last year on lovely empty Gurgaon roads on bright sunny afternoons with the driver. The moment any other vehicle was anywhere on the same road (even if it was 5 kms behind me) I’d simply freeze. If anyone whizzed past me, I’d panic and start randomly pressing at any pedal. The driver diplomatically convinced me to drop the idea. Now fast forward to March 2015 when I joined my new office (which is 33 kms from home, that is faaaaaarr). A second car became a most urgent need. Not wanting to see all my money going in paying the EMI, driver’s salary and fuel bills, I decided it was high time I learnt (re-learnt) how to drive. Hence, lots of research happened (which meant I checked a couple of sites online to get an idea of the prices and then called a friend who’s very gyaani about cars). Also I was very clear that I didn’t want to invest my hard earned money in a second hand car. The husband decreed that we would hire a second driver to teach me for the next few months.

My lovely silver Polo joined our family and we became a 2 car household in April.  Then began the hunt for another driver (since my husband didn’t want our driver running away because he had to teach me how to drive). I went through 4 drivers in about 2 months. Driver No. 1 ran away after I drove 10 kms at an agonizing 30 kms per hour and took me about 45 minutes on a relatively empty road. Driver No. 2 lasted for 15 days. Driver No. 3 was fired after the second day since I had to keep reminding him to use the indicator. Driver No. 4 lasted the longest – a full 18 days. Driver Nos. 2 & 4 managed to teach me somewhat to drive and not freeze there were other vehicles on the road. I was terrible at easing the car into first gear. The car would grind to a start under my confused control of the clutch & accelerator and then shudder to a halt. Every damn time. I’d hate stopping at signals because there’d be a queue of cars behind me honking away. I’d get tense. The car would not start. I’d get more tense. Cue more honking. I’d finally get out of the driver’s seat in a huff, apologetically smile at the cars behind me and get into the backseat.  Driver No. 2 was sadistic (actually, he was very sweet). He’d make me drive the car a few meters. Then stop. Then ease into first gear again. several times a day. Rinse. Repeat. Till I got it right. Driver No. 4 was even more sadistic ( actually, he was also quite sweet). “Madam, aap mat dariye. Aap chaliye.” He made me drive on crowded roads. With multiple lanes.Cars switching between lanes without any indicators. In start – stop traffic. He’d nonchalantly wave at the honking cars behind me and point to the big red ‘L’ on the windshield. Till one day I realized that I wasn’t scared anymore of the other vehicles on the road. I wasn’t freezing in traffic. I was one among the other cars on the road.

After Driver No. 4, I tried to convince the husband that I could now drive solo to work. He asked me to take him for a drive. Knuckles turned white, lips were clenched and not a single word was spoken at the  end of the drive. He had a really stiff drink at the end of it. Then he convinced our regular driver to go with me for a couple of more weeks. He sat in the backseat so I wouldn’t feel him figuratively standing on my head inside the car. After that I rebelled and decided it was time for me to drive solo. Surprisingly, the husband agreed. Without any arguments. That fact by itself made it a red letter day. Then I started driving solo. It takes me two hours on an average each way (because I’m too fattu to speed beyond 60 kms). I call the office boy down to guide me with parking when I reach work. The main thing is that I drive myself. Please take a moment to acknowledge that.  This is empowering for me. I spent too many years being scared. Till I just decided that I am going to buy a car and drive it.I am woman. Hear me roar!

And stay out of my way when I’m on the road. I might just flip the finger at you if you switch lanes without an indicator or drive on full beam in well-lit roads or honk at me to go faster on a crowded road or suddenly go from the extreme right to turn left blocking the traffic or are a two wheeler meandering away on the road or have that horrible white disco-dancing LED light or suddenly zoom out of a lane onto incoming traffic without checking almost causing a pile-up. And if you have an ‘L’ on your car, I’m going to give you a big smile & thumbs-up as I pass you by. 

Written by SupMM

July 29, 2015 at 5:22 pm

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