1)It was my husband's car , it was brand new and .....I was no more new ( I hope you understand the subtleness).
2) My eldest son was 6 years old at that time and had become articulate enough to opine about my driving skills.
Looking to the circumstances I was not very eager to learn driving at first but since we were staying in a township then and those who have experienced township life would know that things happen en-masse in a township and on an epidemic proportion.
Most of the employees go to their factory/plant at the same time,punch together at the time office , their kids go for karate class on Monday , Tuesday and Friday together and go for Synthesiser class on Tuesday, thursday and Saturday together.Their wives meet on bus stop to wave byes to their school going kids together and meet for a kitty party in the noon together. That's about everything of township life.
So, it was now the onset of a new epidemic in our township . All my freinds were learning to drive car.Every weekend I used to receive a phone call from one of my friends claiming that she had got her freedom of movement now.Losing a friend like this from the non driver's end was not a very good feeling.
A recently converted friend tried to convince me that driving will be very useful to me as the college I was working in ,was far off and I could drive to college myself instead of depending upon the bus service.She also told me that now whenever her son misses the school bus she goes to drop him to school without having to plead her husband to drop the son to school first .I can't say which prospect , former or latter , enticed me more but I finally decided to learn driving inspite of all odds against me.
I declared to husband that I wanted to learn driving .Since driving institute guy would not be available by the time I came back from work, it was incumbent upon my husband to teach me to drive.
The tumultous journey began on the following evening.The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) was decided.
Husband : seatbelt
Me : yes
Husband : left foot on clutch , right on accelerator
Me : yes
husband : steering wheel straight , do not hold very tight
Me : OK
Husband : ignition
Me :vroom vroom( I would key in )
Husband : Now , press the clutch , take the car in first gear ,pull the foot off the clutch and apply accelerator gently
Me : (confused inwardly ) yes yes.
Here was the glitch as my right foot had a mind of its own . My right foot just could not apply enough acceleration and as a result the engine would cough and sputter ,the car would take a small jump and stop. It happened about 10-15 times and my husband who was committed to
Although so far there had been no success in driving the car ,I had atleast been able to drive him crazy.
Husband : you can not learn it (in this life)
Me : let me give it one more try
Husband : OK , one last time .give good acceleration
again we went through the drill of SOP
and,I actually accelerated this time .The Car was jumping and moving and jumping and moving (I was thrilled that it did budge finally) but Husband was wild ,"Oh God! you have applied third gear instead of first , that's why its knocking". I learnt an important technical word from driving jargon that when car jumps and moves forward , its called "knocking".Husband was obviously less than amused about the progress made about my practical as well as theoritical learning.
Next day , as luck would have it , my brother(elder) came to visit us.Now , our domestic driving school had 3 male instructors (one in command , 2 on back seat
Me: your car! OK , now I wash my hands off your car. I am not learning .
Brother on the back seat ,who was all the while joining the instructor brigade ,came forward to pacify me.
Suddenly husband brightened up and said"why don't you choose whom you would learn the driving from , me or your brother?" I was speechless .How would I to make a choice between a sty and conjunctivities? They both irritate and cause tears. Anyway the baton was passed on to my brother the next day and , it need not be mentioned he was not only harsh and impatient , he was ridiculing me too .He was settling his previous score with me.( I still suspect that he was doing it all this just to make things even with me because as a child I always went to Mom and backbited against him).
Brother: you should have been staying in US .
Me : Why?
Bro : because you drive on the right side of the road and you need a vehicle with automated gear so that there is no need of manual changing of gears.
Me : have patience with me , I am only learning
Bro : How long will you keep your status as a learner? someday you will have to declare that you have learnt.
Me :( brooding ) hmmmm
Slowly and slowly I started driving the car , independently . Husband was still issuing instructions, finding faults ,criticising my reflexes but I was beyond any dissuasion.
Even Sonny boy would sometimes ask
son: mommy is the car in first gear? .
Me: why do you ask?
Son : I thought so because you are driving pain fully slow.
Me : Shut up or get down.
Son : Ok. let me get down.I want to reach fast .I would better walk.
Husband: ( he was kind enough to not to say anything ,he just laughed)
Despite everything , it was a wonderful feeling to be able to drive , I felt like a fairy with a pair of wings (If you think this is too narcisstic then may be I was like a witch with a brand new broom).
In the early days of driving ,I even had dreams of driving past my friends,driving on highways , crowded places, maneouvering car in reverse gear with great skill.sometimes I used to get so stressed in my sleep that I used to clinch my fists. I told this to my friend who was now driving on high ways regularly.
She said"You should not have learnt driving from your husband or brother. they are the men who can wield power over you .This direct learning is actually bad for a beginner's confidance."
me : then, what should have I done?
Friend :You should have asked husband's brother , friend's husband or brother's friend to teach you to drive
me : (Iwas clueless) so that.....?
Friend : Oh! don't you know, men can be wonderfully sweet and sensitive when they are dealing with a woman who is neither their wife nor a sister .They are the guys to be looked for when patience and sensitivity is required.
me : HMMMMM
Friend : I hope , I have driven the point home.
me : absolutely.