Sunday, June 1, 2008

Taming The Art Called Driving

For me it had always been a dream to be behind the wheel.While an average human being is supposed to be licenced by 18 or to the most 20, I could not go beyond a two wheeler till 39.This is my story of how I finally fulfilled that hidden desire.

For years I would dream of driving through the streets effortlessly only to end up hitting something living or non-living and waking up sweating and in shock.The recurrence of such dreams would only reinforce my determination to learn driving.Then finally one day I decided I would buy my own car and then it would be no looking back.For days I would be flooded with all sorts of emotions.The pride of having my own car in the front yard, the anticipation of being behind its wheels, the feeling of self worth and above all the feeling of freedom.I talked over to my husband and chalked out a schedule for him to teach me the nuances of the much elusive art.I could not sleep the night before the morning he was to take me out for my first date with my dream-in-real.I woke up much before the alarm went off at four.Went into gear and tried waking up the snoring thing.In spite of my best efforts he would not budge. Finally he got up shouted at me for my being over zealous and then went off continuing with his passion.......SNORING.All my eagerness went down the drain. But the sight of that beauty in white wouldnt let me be in peace. Once again I started pestering him with renewed vigour. Finally on our way back from a party one night ....we were quite late and there was no traffic.....he let me take on the wheel. I was excited and filled with ecstacy. Finally the day had come. I would be driving.......God.....driving.After the initial ABC of driving he asked me to switch on the ignition.With shivering hands I turned on the keys.Wow was like music to my ears.I was feeling no greater than the first conquerer of the Everest.But this was not to be for long.From that moment onwards till the next 10 minutes that I sat there I could hear nothing but his irritated bickerings......hell is this the way u drive....hey u will hit that.....women can never drive.....I was an idiot to let u sit there......Driving is not for u ......and on .....and on....Finally I had enough of it.I hit the brakes.....God that was pretty smoothe.Gave my bit to him. Got off the wheels and asked him to enjoy being my unpaid driver. I promised myself I would never ever try again and die with this unfulfilled desire.Would I end up being a ghost haunting every driver on the road?......I wondered!!!!!
Over the years things changed.I left home and was on my own once again.Left the car back, as it had no meaning for me any more.Without a driver it was worthless and I couldnt afford to hire one.I was back with my two wheeler. It is the best mode of self driven conveyance I guess.I loved gliding through the traffic into the rugged roads of the village where I worked.Then one day suddenly out of the blues came this agent of God sent down specially to get me into driving. This fellow was very proud of his car and it was one of the few things that he loved dearly. He took me for a drive around town.I loved it, relishing every moment of it.Suddenly he said....come on, you drive....I told him I can't drive.He said never mind....just give it a try, I know you can do it. I was this was a man who loved his car more than anything and he was ready to hand it over to someone who probably didn't know how to even hold the steering wheel properly.I told him what if I hit it somewhere and the car got damaged.He said ...I can always get it repaired, You dont worry about that.Anyways it was me who could not gather the courage to give a dent to his beloved .But then that was the moment of truth for me and in my heart of heart I promised myself that the next time he was here, I would be driving him around .A couple of months later I bought home my second car. I went to a training instructor. Enrolled myself for the one month course. I was surprised with the level of patience my instructor had.At the end of the first week I asked him to accompany me in my car.He argued that I wasn't trained enough to be on my own.Finally he had to accede to my stubbornness. I took out the car put on the reverse gear and started moving.My instructor barked at me....I haven't taught that yet don't try it. I panicked and instead of hitting the brake I hit the accelerator and the next moment..... WHAM......I had already rammed into a parked car by the time I hit the brake. I rushed out to see how much damage I had caused the other car.I was releaved to see that there was not even a bit of a scratch.Then my daughter came out running.....mumma see what you have done...The huge dent at the back of my car almost brought me to tears....but from that moment I knew I had finally tamed the art.
Exactly after six months my dear friend happened to visit again . I offered to pick him up at the Railway Station.By that time he had the entire briefing of my adventure.We were driving together again through the town ,but this time in reversed roles.Me behind the wheel and he on the passenger seat. I told him about the promise I had made myself and how he was instrumental in my learning to drive. Then I asked him the question which I always wanted to.....Why did you ask me to drive the car that you love so much knowing well that I could not drive?....What if I damaged it trying to do so?.......He said " Dear I love my car that is why I asked YOU to drive it" I simply smiled and drove on.....................

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