It is ridiculous to have to change the gear, press down on the clutch, steer the wheel, nearly miss hitting a cow and drive all at the same time! It’s high time someone comes up with a smarter option of getting from place A to B without having to
a) Use public transport
b) Rely on someone else to drive you around.
What about that powder that gets Harry Potter and his troupe around? Why can’t we use some of that. Could do without the endless traffic signals, jams and honking.
I do not speak for all of womankind but I am not a great driver and have no illusions of being one and nor do I see the possibility becoming one in the near future.
I pride myself in being self reliant. So when it came to having to do exotic groceries ( for everything else there is Big basket) relying on autos to get from our home which is a little out of the way turned out to be devastating to my peace of mind and to my wallet. I had to reluctantly grab our car keys adjust the seat till the steering wheel almost became a natural extension of me and I could use my nose to honk and still have to stretch my legs to brake and accelerate. Oh the woes of short legs!
I have driven extensively in the US, collected a couple of speeding tickets and been pulled over but when it comes to driving in India I feel I have a long way to go before I can change the gear before I hear the engine knocking ( I wonder if I got the terminology right.) It may be years before I can think of parking without palpitating and change the gear to reverse without breaking out into a sweat.
Being one with an affinity for trouble does not help my case one bit. There was this one time, my second venture out into the chaotic jungle all by self when I was proud of parking almost parallel to the road without hitting anything within a 100 ft. I got out of the car,locked it and rummaged through my bag to call my husband and update him with the achievement of the hour. I never did locate my phone because I soon found myself on the ground having tripped over an invisible boulder and my keys, Oh dear my car keys before my very eyes flew out of my hand and down the only tiny hole that was in the concrete footpath and into the drain below. My spare car keys were at home and the only set of house keys were safely locked in car.
Without thinking I started grabbing at the concrete with all my force trying to lift the sturdy block so that I could retrieve my keys from the drain below. There is no need to state the obvious but I tried in vain. Fortunately for me there are some good people still left on this planet. Out of nowhere a bare chested man approached, motioned me to step aside and walked away and then all of a sudden disappeared under a block of cement on the road about 50 mts away.
He came to the surface a rather dirty man but a heroic dirty man for in his hands he held my car keys. He left before I could finish thanking him.
Ever since I reserve the details of my achievements of the hours for dinner conversation when the car key is safely in the key basket at home.
It is great to drive your own car, a liberating experience up until the moment you have to park it somewhere. Worse, park it between two cars or parallel park. I have found a way around this, I go temporarily illiterate when I see the No Parking sign. I can’t be held responsible of an offence if I am unaware of it, right? I am sure you agree.
Fair warning though that this does not work all the time. I got caught the last time I ‘became’ illiterate. I had to run across the road to run some errands and the only space to park was next to the NO Parking sign. A cop with a well endowed belly comes up and casually points to the sign.
” Teek hai my tickets karidega,” I reply.
“Ye lottery jaise ticket nahi hai, karredne ke liye!” he retorts.
What I intended to say was I would pay for the ticket but my Hindi being what it is I said that I would buy the ticket off him at which he took offence and retorted that it was not a lottery ticket which was for sale rather a penalty I should not be proud of.
I have not had another chance to test my illiteracy theory after that.
Our car has survived a few small scratches, a couple of long very visible scratches and dings. Not all of them by me. But our cleaner when he comes to pick up the car keys from J every week smiles slyly and says
” I saw the latest scratches. Madam is fine right?” One of these days I am going to have to point out J’s share of the handiwork to him.
Oh and by the way the magic powder Harry used is called floo powder. Waiting for it to hit the market!