I am learning to drive. After an initial crash course by an instructor, which literally got my car crashed and some not-so-useful driving sessions, my husband has taken over the charge. I now go driving my own car, where unlike the instructor's car, all the controls rest with the driver. The rider has no control whatsoever. A small confession, I have very little, if any at all, aptitude for driving. It took me over a month to drive properly an ungeared two-wheeler. A car has twice the number of wheels, is four times as bulky and a hundred times more difficult to drive. The fact that really scares me and makes it all the more difficult is that it has the potential to cause serious injury to others if I make a simple mistake. Keeping this in view, we go driving late at night, generally past midnight when there is actually nobody out on the streets, and I need to ensure the safety of just the 3 of us-me, my husband and my car. Offcourse there are still a few stray dogs loitering around, who make it a point to come in my way everytime I drive. I really don't know how to get rid of them, and my futile efforts at honking at them have only infuriated my husband. Anyways, the idea behind this post is something entirely different from discussing my driving. It is going down the memory lane, and remembering my dad's herculean effort and mammoth patience when he taught me to drive.
After finishing school, I joined MNNIT, then known as MNREC, Allahabad for a B.Tech. in Mechanical Engg. The college was around 6 km. from my home. For the first year, I really din't have much trouble commuting. I had a friend living very close to my place who was also pursuing the same course, and she drove a two-wheeler. So I just went with her. However, she moved to the electrical department after the second semester. That is when I seriously felt the need of driving my own vehicle. My father went ahead and got me an automatic geared Hero Puch. My mother was quite against the idea of my driving it, which was in great contrast with the faith she usually puts in me. Her inhibitions were not all that baseless since I could not even ride a bicycle properly. But papa had faith, more in his training than in my ability to learn. He would take me to a sports ground every morning, all thru' the summer vacations and make me drive the bike with him as the pillion driver. I fell down several times, and he also came down crashing with me, but he did not give up. He simply accepted the fact that I lack the aptitude for it, and I would need additional training. Not once did he mention the fact that my brother drove his mobike, a Hero Honda when he was in the ninth standard without any training. But deep down, I did realise that and at times, I would be quite ashamed of myself. But I did not let that deter me from learning to drive.
Summers over, I had a reasonable amount of control on the bike. The college reopened, and I went on my bike the first day, eager to show my friends my vehicle and my ability to drive it. I was half my way when I noticed somebody following me rather closely. I brought the vehicle to a halt, and turned back to find papa who had been following me all thru' the way. He wanted to make sure that I reach the college safe and sound. I found it rather irritating at that point of time, but now that I realise his concern, I feel so obliged. My dad would never read this post, unlike mom he never learnt to use a computer, but still I thank him, now and here with all my heart. It was much more than driving that he taught me those summers.. He taught me to have faith in myself, even when those closest to me have doubts about my abilities. Now, at times, my husband nearly gives up when I drive badly. A number of times, he has told me that I can never learn to drive properly, but I refuse to leave it at that. Every night I pull him out of his cosy blanket and request him to take me for my driving classes. I know I will get yelled at, but at the same time, I know I would learn.