My tryst with driving classes started right after I got my first job and planned to buy a car. Since the car I had zeroed in was a small one, the dealer insisted that I should drive it myself, to push the car to its limits. All charged up and excited, I headed to the driving school, located in my locality to kick things up a notch by learning to master the vehicle and rule the road. Well, at least, that was the intention.
But after 10 days of huffing and puffing, being all sweaty in the chill of Northern India winters, I still hadn’t managed the basics to qualify driving on the streets without an accomplice. Since, time was a constraint and beside, every morning the thought of going for another driving class kept me awake for best part of the night, I reluctantly gave up the idea of driving it myself and enlisted a professional driver to take me around.
The second time was right after my marriage, when I shifted to Malaysia. The public transport system in Malaysia is certainly not something to write home about and rather than be left alone stranded at home for the best part of the day, I decided to take up driving lessons to be able to drive the automatic car resting in our shade. Bright and cheery, I figured the automatic would be a breeze but the speed at which the cars moved on the streetsof Malaysiabroke me out cold sweat and I figured, lazying at home is a far better idea than trying my luck on that mean machine.
As things went.., I had almost resigned myself to a life spent on the side saddle or the backseat of a car. Back in India, my gear-less scooter served me well , zipping me off here and there but then came along my son and once again the need to take up driving surfaced since my husband is rarely at home (he still works off-shore) and tagging along my toddler son on a bike, long distance , is certainly not my idea of fun. A car would be much safer, I reckoned, if only I could learn to take it out on the streets, without proving to be a menace to the lives of other people.
With this intention and a determination steelier than before (motherhood does that to you), I ventured into the roads, with a trusted elderly aide guiding me. He was our old chauffeur and a very experienced man at that. My driving lessons were different this time around. He let me made my share of mistakes and promptly corrected them and made me do repetitions till I got the hang of it. Since I already knew the basics, he took me to the street and made me fight my demons of fear by keeping it real and crowded, as Indian streets are wont to be.
The initial days were tough, as I had to leave behind my wailing toddler son at home, in the hands of a part –time nanny to render my full focus to the job at hand. After 15 days of tough grueling session, I finally felt more confident than ever and took out my car for it’s much needed servicing to the Authorized Center, a few blocks away, during peak hours, all by myself. It is another matter altogether, that I forgot to switch on the headlight, on my way back, while it was already dusk but that is something which I promptly made amends, the next time around.