Monday, November 19, 2012

And today we did something brave

I have never been a very confident driver.

I have no problem transporting myself short distances, of course - but driving with the kids is another matter altogether.

When our driver said he needed three weeks leave, despite the fact that my initial instinct was to tackle him around the waist pleading 'noooo....don't go....', I figured the more graceful thing to do would be to just give him the leave - after all, in about four years, he's never let us down - so his longish annual holidays are something I never argue against. So he's gone, till December 1.

Last week being Diwali break, it was okay,because the kids didn't need to be sent to to school, and I used the metro to go and visit my grandma in Noida. But this week and the next, it was necessary to figure out something. I figured out something. I got the school car from the playschool to pick them up and drop them yesterday.

And they were miserable.

My scared little toddlers left, screaming and frantically waving in the arms of the school didi in an unfamiliar car, obviously not sure where they were being taken. They were cranky in school, and cranky when coming back. Vijay is out of town this whole week, and I was very reluctant to drive them myself, given the bad traffic at about 9 a.m. But given how they were yesterday, and their fearful reaction about being sent off again today in the same manner, caused me to take in a deep breath and agree to drive them myself.

So far so good. I dropped them a little early, and only one turning had everyone in the car tense - the twins, sitting in the laps of the maids in the back, also seemed to sense that this was a dangerous situation and quieted down, pausing their various questions for that couple of minutes. ( Yeh humka gaadi hai na? Yeh mama ka gaadi hai na?). But eventually we made it safe and sound - in a couple of hours, I have to go back and pick them up again - and then, three more days of doing this. Vijay promises that next week, he'll handle the driving.

It's all rather nerve wracking, but then again, it's just so much nicer to see my twins all happy and tickled about going to school, rather than feeling miserable and scared. So it's worth it. Once again, I thank my lucky stars about Vijay teaching me to drive, several years back.

On that note, here's an extract from the chapter  ''Driving Miss Crazy'' from my book Just Married, Please Excuse - that describes how it happened. Enjoy. While I work up the nerves to pick up my little boys again.

Eventually, I managed to get the car going again and powered by a series of small jerks, we moved towards the main road.

‘I’m driving!’ I said with glee.

Vijay was all business. ‘Look at the road.’

I snapped back to attention.

When we reached the main road, I stopped.

‘What are you doing?’ he asked. ‘The road is all clear.’

‘I’m not going out there,’ I cried. ‘There’s traffic on this road.’

‘Honey, the only way you’ll get comfortable driving is by getting used to traffic. Come on, take a right turn here, let’s go to Indira Nagar.’

Muttering that he would regret this, I did what he said.We somehow managed to make it to the intersection just before Indira Nagar when suddenly the memory of failing to take the turn at the intersection during my driving lessons hit me, just like a flashback from a Hindi movie. I broke into
a cold sweat and prayed fervently that I would not stall the car. Anything but stalling the car.

I stalled the car.

Within five seconds, what felt like all the vehicles in Bangalore were bearing down on us, honking angrily. I was glued to my seat, looking around dumbly, unable to move. Vijay was saying something in an urgent tone to me, but I couldn’t hear him. The icing on my panic attack was the fact that an angry traffi c cop was now approaching. Before he could start shouting at me, Vijay opened his door and stood up with one foot still inside the car, explaining to him that I was just learning. The traffic cop said that I should go and learn somewhere else and Vijay said we were just going.

I regained my senses and started the car and eased it forward smoothly. The little detail that I did not take into account was that my husband was still in conversation with the angry cop,and half of him – head, shoulders and one leg – were still outside the car. He was hanging on to the car door for dear life as he found himself suddenly being dragged along the road in this awkward position. I only braked when I became aware of his panicked screams. I looked at his face as he bent down to glare at me, his expression shocked and disbelieving. I gathered he would live and tried to make up for my little boo-boo by giving him a winning smile. It didn’t work.

‘Move over,’ he barked at me. ‘I’m going to drive.’ He detached himself from the car door. Something seemed to occur to him and he hissed at me, ‘Do not drive over me. Touch nothing.’

Just to be safe, he circled over to my side from the rear of the car. I dully moved over to the passenger side. The cacophony of honks and angry shouts outside had reached near-deafening levels, but I was now only aware of the fact that I had nearly killed my husband. Completely unintentionally.

And so soon after marriage, too.


  1. Phew...just as long as it makes your kids happy! :D

  2. Hehe...loved "humka" kid also usd to speak like tht...mamma ka,dadda ka n humka/mereka...

  3. I'm dreading the day I move back to India and have to drive through the city streets. Driving in the US is so much easier :(

  4. Wow...that reminds me so much of my own driving skills (or lack thereof). I'm inspired that you got over your fear and have gathered the confidence to drive the kids yourself - it gives me hope!

  5. Wow...that reminds me so much of my own driving skills (or lack thereof). I'm inspired that you got over your fear and have gathered the confidence to drive the kids yourself - it gives me hope

  6. hehehe..... my son still says "Yeh humka toy hai na?"....

  7. Engaging post..loved the humour! Thanks. Have a great week.


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