Sunday, September 6, 2009
In the driving seat
The ordeal is finally over. For the last one and half months, I have been learning how to drive the car and finally my training has come to an end. And needless to say that I am very lazy, this was one hell of an experience. My teacher (driver) from the driving school is a young lad, may be 19 or 20 yrs of age took pains to teach me every morning. I have always been a slow learner; I take time to learn new things. Biggest example for this trait-I never learnt how to play chess or cards. Before the chess loyalists come gunning for me for taking both chess and playing cards in the same breath, I shall explain -both requires brains to play and I don’t think when I am playing.
Driving cars needs remarkable ability to concentrate on different things at the same time. I have heard people say, it’s easy once you get used to it but getting used to it is a problem. That’s sounds like an oxymoron for me. For the first few days of my ‘training’, I was taught how to handle the steering. That was fun. He used to say-“take a left” and I used to turn the wheel to my left and conveniently forget to straighten the wheel after that. After a week of learning ‘how to steer’ amidst his frantic shouting, he tried to teach me to use my feet on clutch, brakes and accelerator. I never understood how to use my two feet for three pedals. If Michael Jackson had seen me trying to pedal them, he would have invented another iconic dance step. The biggest problem I encountered while learning this was-releasing the clutch slowly and raising the accelerator simultaneously. These are two opposite acts-one is releasing; other is raising and it has to be done with my two feet which have to move in opposite direction with one exerting force while other relieving it-Got my problem? My driver desperately tried to teach me the physics of using my feet along with controlling the steering and also constantly praying to god that I don’t hit someone on road. God is never kind-I once hit a can of milk at the corner of the road and my driver had to rush the car away from the spot as fast as he can to escape before the milk man comes. After 10-15 days, he was convinced that I didn’t make any progress whatsoever and there are only some odd 10 days left for my training. So he decided to teach me the third part of my training-changing gears and immediately regretted his decision. One fine morning when I was driving with utmost concentration on the wheel and my feet on pedals, the driver casually remarked “Change to third gear” and I was quick to say-“yes yes change it” –with my hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. He looked at me with agony and with his fingers on his temple, he informed me with all respect that he won’t be with me all my life to change the gears. I managed a smile.
How much ever he might have despised teaching me to drive, he liked me thanks to my bad habit of talking friendly to people I meet. Once he made the mistake of asking me a question I dread the most.
“What do you do bhai?
“me…err I am looking for a job”
“oh! An engineer?”
It’s funny to note that for people, every unemployed graduate has to be an engineer.
“Well yes, but I have done MBA too” I said trying to look proud.
“Oho …nice…so what do you all day?”
Another most dreaded question.
“I blog”-I said without thinking, without realizing what grave mistake that slip up was.
“Well err, I have a website in the internet and I try to keep myself occupied with it”-I said trying make things very simple.
“Oh your parents don’t say anything?”
“Why should they? They encourage me”-I said with a smile.
“Oho okay. But where do you get the girls?”
I thought I heard his question wrong. Girls? Who said anything about them? Clearly confused, I asked him-“what girls?”
“ohhh with guys????”-he was very much looking aghast and I could clearly see this conversation is going somewhere into the taboo lands.
“Relax; I don’t understand what you are talking. What guys & girls? What are you talking about?”-I asked him.
“I don’t know…you only mentioned something about websites. So I thought you have something like sex sites or something.”-he said shrugging his shoulders.
“oh god..no man. Its not like that. I actually write stories.” I said still trying to make him understand things easily.
“oh stories!!”-he said with an understanding smile and I returned his smile.
“Stories for Savitha Bhabhi haan?”-he asked me again after a full minute.
My huge shout of ‘NO’ was actually drowned by the screeching of the car’s tires because I had unknowingly pressed my foot on the brakes in shock. The car stopped in the middle of the road but I didn’t give a damn-hell my image was getting tarnished here. For his own god’s sake, he thought of me as a writer of sex stories. I patiently told him that I don’t write sex stories and I write normal stories about my life. I could see he was clearly disappointed and I promised myself that I would never ever talk to him about anything remotely connected to internet.
Well I had my share of laughs too. I once asked him casually-“what happens if cops catch us?. I am sure none of those who come to learn have licenses.” He gave me a ‘you are so naïve’ look and asked me not to worry because cops never catch cars from driving schools. But alas, the very next day he informed me of some new traffic cop who held his car and they had to shell out the fine. He told me vehemently that this was the first time in his career and I desperately wanted to show him my blog post about my luck to him (didn’t take the risk) to make him understand the alarming coincidence between his first time & my casual comment.
I don’t know if I have learnt how to drive-I want to test my skills on my dad’s car now. After all it was his idea that I learn driving. My dad asked me to learn driving so that I might come in handy when we go for long drives. Fat chance-I thought because I know his ulterior motive behind this. He wanted to make sure,I wake up early in the morning. What he didn’t know was, I used to sleep after he went to office and wake up in the evening. The ordeal is finally over and I am sure this is a mutual feeling shared by both me and my driver. I am happy driving my little Scooty Pep and he must be happy to see my back.