Test Drive

Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm -Winston Churchill
I can be called neoteric, a reasonably avant-garde woman, who feels men and women in many aspects are equal, though I don’t mind being considered better of the two genders.
I simply refuse the claim of any superior feeling, that some men may harbor without any evident reasons.
So, I find it extremely irksome if someone tells me that some traits in men are better-ranked or remain unrivaled.
I am always ready to contest such ideology and expect me to grasp the nettle, howsoever, nasty it may be, especially if my dear husband has begun this rhubarb.
He surely doesn’t deserve any seekh kebabs, prepared by me
to display my paramount skills because
I can act ‘know all’ and pretend to stand tall with him.
But one chapter in my life, I feel helpless about and am sure to lose any tug of war,
because here, I am not at par, as
all my efforts to drive a car
have not led to any successful destination, so far.
It is  not that I haven’t given it
my best shot but whatever I did, fell short
and here, I was caught
again and again
on a wrong footing.
I tried my best but my case wouldn’t rest.
Frustrated, I have been on several occasions to be repeatedly put to test,
and to fail…

No amount of instructors,
be they,  the professionals or family members, could help me hone this skill and to vehiculate this bucket of bolts. The moment my hands held the steering, my anxiety would touch some other level. Many times, something like a panic attack happened in the middle of the road and once I left the car and ran away! No amount of pep-up talks or chanting Hanuman Chalisa could help.

It wasn’t that, I was good for nothing
i.e. belonging to a city, where most of the girls drive something or the other, I learned to drive scooters, with gears or a gearless one, and so far, have survived on this. You can send me to any place, with heavy traffic flow, or a roadless terrain,  and I will surely not disappoint you. My love to be in the driver’s seat at least has been fulfilled here.

In my childhood, I was an expert in riding my bicycle with one hand on the handle and the other being used to hold things that couldn’t be kept anywhere else, like many afternoon adventures, while coming back from school and getting those soft, juicy Gulab Jamun packed in a small packet.
This expertise made me the perfect choice to accompany anyone to the market to buy something that needed to be balanced delicately on one hand. I can’t express,  how proud I had been off my unique dexterity.

Little did I know that all my friends would soon move on to bigger things in life, while my masterliness would remain limited to scooter and cycle only. However sad I might feel, I couldn’t change the fact that I was perhaps born without four-wheeler driving skills.

The most embarrassing situation would be, whenever any get-together happened, everyone reached in their shining carriages while I would trot on my two-wheeler, looking as if Cindrella’s chariot had turned into a pumpkin. My hair, inside the cumbersome and loathful helmet, seemed to have gone through some hurricane. Every time, I would arrive with tousled hair, all messed up, while others would look like million-dollar babies.

Then, I thought of a solution to this. Why not, have very short hair? This, somehow worked and I got a hair cut which was demanding my attention in the least and proved to stay disciplined.
Was I  happy with my clever idea? Of course, I was, but I must confess, I had to hear many taunts and there were lots of sarcastic comments from my friends, children, and even husband. And, how I hated this man’s sexist smirk whenever, any lady driver committed the slightest blunder on the road! I wanted to get some superwoman’s powers to get back to him.

For some time,  it did affect me. I began to feel unhappy and lesser than others. I knew it was not working for me and I needed a plan. Plan, not only to learn driving, which somehow I had given up in my heart
but to take off their focus to something else. And plan, I came up with.

I would be partly great than entirely useless
-Neal Shusterman

My younger daughter was in twelfth when she was going through some emotional turmoil in her life. I needed her to take off her focus on her existing situation. So, what did I think? Yeah, you guessed it right. I called a man by the name of Ghasita Mal,  a state roadways bus driver, very popular with ladies who had lost their hope in learning to drive. He could make anyone, even a Buffalo drive. This secret was shared by a friend of mine, assuring me that my time had finally arrived.

On the pretext of putting my driving skills to the test, which I wasn’t too sure of success, I hired him.

I failed again but, my chip of the old block picked up driving within a week and Ghasita Mal went home with a smug smile and pocket full of his fat fee.

I was again left high and dry but the blessing in disguise was that I could now use my girl’s services to drive me wherever I wished to go. In the name of giving her practice,  we painted the town red with all sorts of misadventures and now the girl just remembers the fun and not the sob story of her broken heart.

Finally, I too have reconciled to the fact that all are not made to drive cars. Some are privileged ones, like me to enjoy the luxury of a relaxed drive. To be fair, slowly but steadily, I have learned to be a good co-driver. So, these days, on long road trips, which I and my fauji love, I proudly sit beside him guiding him through alleys and lanes to the destinations, unexplored and unknown.

People around me have also begun to accept me as a nondriver. Many of them, though, still find it hard to hide not to scowl at my ineptitude but I have learned to ignore and not to feel hurt. Thanks to Ola and Uber, the life of fun frolic, and even a quick journey, is just a click away. But, do I still feel a little less equipped? Yes, at times, but no worries, I am born for better things, and one day, who knows… I won’t give up!

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