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.
‘I’m not going out there,’ I cried. ‘There’s traffic on this road.’
And so soon after marriage, too.