Sitting beside my husband and watching him steering the car with such effortless ease, I developed an instant desire to do likewise. How wonderful it would be if I could also drive so well, I thought. When I expressed my wish to my husband, he readily agreed to teach me. The very next day before he made me hold the steering wheel he taught me the ABC’s (accelerator, break, and clutch) of car driving. Only after some more theory lessons and quizzing me, he let me start the car ignition. Nervous and excited I put the gear in 1st position and pressed the accelerator. A sudden jerk and phut went the car abruptly. Baffled I turned towards my smiling husband who told me to let the clutch slowly and press the accelerator equally slowly when giving the car a start. After a few trials and testing the patience of my husband…the car started to roll. Even as I was getting instructions as to when to change the gears etc, I soon felt I had learnt it all and was happy that I could drive the car like he did when his hysterical and sudden shout brought me back to reality. He was frantically pointing to a large herd of buffaloes casually moving towards the car with reckless insouciance. Oh wow what an audience I thought for a moment. I stopped the vehicle waiting for them to pass the car and give me unrestricted space to move ahead. As we drove on we saw a man a little away walking on the middle of the road as if the entire road belonged to him. My repeated pressing of the horn had little effect on him with no indication from him to make way for the car. Seated beside me my husband told me, "The control of car is in your hands. The road ahead is not only for you but for other careless users also…make sure you don’t hit the vehicle on anybody. And if you do so, be clear that I would not be accompanying you to the police station." Newly married and not knowing whether he was serious or making a jest I gave a wide berth to the man on the road and managed to reach safely back home with the thought that there goes my dream to dust.
Few years later…an opportunity came for me to learn car driving. My friend and I found a driving school and enrolled our names there. After paying the initial deposit of Rs.1000/- each, we were thrilled when the tutor came with a tiny battered Maruti car the next day. My friend wanted to be the first to sit in the driver’s seat and we had the car moving with very little difficulty in starting it. She drove the car with no hurdle for a few kilometers and on our return I took to the wheel. I was immensely pleased when the tutor asked me if I had driven the car earlier and I was just refreshing my driving lessons.
The 2nd day was equally thrilling. More so because we found that the road was left entirely for us to enjoy and we could move without the fear of hurting anyone. My friend drove onward and I drove on return. The third day he took the same route. And this time we noticed that the petrol tank was on the verge of becoming empty. We did not enquire. But when it was the same in the following two days with the petrol level touching the red mark, we asked the tutor if we would be able to drive down both ways with the scanty petrol. He said there was no problem whatsoever and we could drive long distance with that level of petrol. This went on for five days with us picking our driving and theory lessons. On the sixth day he sent one of his drivers to teach us. This driver being smart said he would help us learn to drive a car earlier than the 22 days schedule provided we brought our own car and willing to pay him extra. Not interested to do so we declined politely. Three classes later neither our tutor nor his driver turned up. Upset at the delay in our becoming the proud owners of a driving license, all our efforts to contact him over the mobile failed. Assuming he might not be feeling well or so, we took an auto to the driving school only to find it closed. On enquiry we were shocked to know that Suvidha Driving School has been closed and the owner had left for his native place forever a few days back.
Disheartened we decided to take out our cars on alternate days and complete the lessons on our own. Luckily our husbands wholeheartedly supported the idea. So when I drove my car my friend became my tutor and when she drove the car I became her tutor. We slowly moved ahead driving around our colony and the nearby roads. When we became a little more confident we took our car to the main roads. It was just a matter of a few days before we obtained the license from the authorities.
Thrilled at having learnt most of driving by ourselves, and eagerly waiting to show my husband my driving skills, I took him in the car to the nearby Ayyapa temple. Receiving compliments from my husband, I felt I was in heaven.
I got an opportunity soon to showcase this skill of mine to my in-laws too when we drove down to Bangalore. Oh god! Was it not exciting and memorable to take to highway. And it gave me great joy when my co-sister asked me to give her driving lessons.
But not accustomed to driving car regularly, my skill seems to have slept now.
And the fact that learning to drive a car has been done without the help of a good tutor, there is some hesitancy to go ahead. So I know I need to refresh my driving skills and so am waiting for a good tutor to help me achieve the same.