— Deepalakshmi

Just like any other middle class woman I too had the dream of buying a four wheeler and maneuvering it with a style and pride just the way it is shown in the advertisements… It fascinated me like anything.

After contemplating for many days, I finally enrolled myself in a driving school and was all excited to make my dream come true. On the first day of my driving class, with great pleasure I sat on the driver’s seat of the driving school’s car and followed my instructor’s advice…. I had barely moved the car and he advised me to look in front and control the steering wheel and said “KEEP LEFT” and within a second a biker overtook from the left with mobile wedged between his shoulder and ear. I had always learnt that we must overtake only from the right side. The instructor looked at me and said, “I know it is wrong to overtake from the left and to talk on the mobile while driving but YOU must be alert and learn to view your centre , left and right rear view mirror always and drive carefully!!!”

Going a little further, as I was instructed to switch to the higher gear…. I did so and the car felt a jerk and I applied the brakes. The car stopped as it had got stuck in a small pit. This time the instructor told me, “Keep an eye on the road always ( (along with the rear view mirrors), the roads are full of ditches, pits and humps… in such cases , slow down and reduce the gear.”


I was completely puzzled. Nodding to him, I somehow moved ahead and lo!! A gang of break inspectors were on the stroll….. Well, I am talking of a herd of cows…. Stopping the car we waited till the herd decided where to sit or stand or in which direction to move, and as the cowherd was nowhere to be found!!! The instructor looked at me and said, “See, the lucky ones who don’t pay taxes yet enjoy all the benefits, and also keep a check on our driving….” I had a hearty laugh and wondered how and where was our tax money going with all the pits and ditches on the road and open drainages!!Did we not deserve better roads??… After the herd gave us way, I drove further and it was a minute or so that I drove peacefully when suddenly we were confronted with a heavy traffic block . It was a minor accident but an even more serious verbal fight later physical. This was unnecessarily eating up time and people around were held up.

Finally someone took initiative to pacify them and slowly the block started clearing up. I realized that I had been caught up in the middle of a pool of vehicles and all I could hear was honking , honking and honking … there was a mad rush… with narrow roads and vehicles parked on either sides , people were getting yelling at me as I had panicked and couldn’t start and move my car…..I was almost in tears and petrified … The instructor helped me and I wished our car could fly above all the other vehicles. My instructor said, “Madam, People have no time , they are always in a hurry and angry… Don’t react and be calm. Well, there will be processions, meetings, and other traffic blocks and you must get used to driving without fear . “

By this time, I could see that my dreams and hopes of buying and driving a car were shattering. I had never felt so scared in my life. With people breaking rules, jumping signals, uneven roads , no parking area, unclosed gutters in narrow lanes …and the list goes on…… hence it seemed that like a Goddess with ten hands I could drive a car only if I had ten pairs of eyes !!! Somehow I finished my driving class for that day and was more than happy to get off the car. I wondered if I would really enjoy car driving when I bought one of my own…… driving wasn’t a pleasure but a pressure …….but being positive helps , somehow I finished the lessons in a month and got myself a driving license and yes even today after so many years when I am driving my car there isn’t much of a difference on the roads….only that the conditions have worsened !!!! Truly speaking, driving is not an enjoyment, it is a punishment… !!! I am reminded of a Chinese proverb that says, “ It is a miracle not to fly in the sky or walk on water but to walk on the earth” …however let me modify it and say drive on our Indian roads!!!

About the Author
Deepalakshmi is a teacher by profession but now a freelance writer who loves to write thought provoking articles...i.e to bring out the issues faced by a common man and also suggest a suitable solution.

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