Sunday, 1 March 2015

Jeena apne dum par: taking driving lessons from father

 “Madam, how did the back pane window glass of your car break?” asked the driver of my official vehicle, while driving me to office.
“Sahib was reversing the car yesterday, when it hit the tree”, I noticed him hiding his smile as I replied.
“What happened?” I asked to which he replied,” Naresh (my husband’s driver) and I were discussing that Madam could not have broken the glass, it must have been sahib!”

I smiled at the compliment given by a professional driver. Though I have never considered myself a great driver, but the fact is I never faced difficulty in driving even on hilly terrains during my stay in Himachal Pradesh for 12 years, despite having learnt driving in plain areas. And the credit for this goes to my father.

Though witnessing a girl driving a car today is no big deal, 25 years ago, when I learnt driving, it was not so common site, if not a rare one.

At that time, not many people opined that girls should learn driving.  Many of our relatives discouraged him saying that a girl should learn driving only after marriage, if so desired by her husband, but he was firm that driving makes one self-reliant, so a girl should certainly learn driving.

My father, who was an expert at driving, always encouraged my sister and me to learn driving as he believed that it would make us independent.  His method of teaching driving was also unique. After giving the basic lessons in driving, I was shocked when he asked me to take the car on main road. 
I was afraid to drive on the main road, but the logic of my father was simple,” you have to drive on the main road one day or the other, then why not now?” After my sister and I learnt driving, he used to sit on the back seat and we sisters took turns to drive on any trip. He used to say, once you learn and start driving, the car would run by itself, without any effort. When I look back now, I realize, he might have felt nervous at times, but he never showed it.

A typical trick taught by my father which helped me a lot while driving in hilly areas, was to handle the car stuck uphill on a slope.
After marriage on a trip from kullu to Shimla, when my husband asked me if I could drive the car for some time so that he could relax, all the family members sitting on the car, who were sleeping till then became wide awake. But the way I had been taught car by my father, I drove in the hilly terrain with as much ease as I used to do in the plain area.

Even now, people are awestruck, when I tell them that I have ventured driving up to Rohtang Pass in Manali.

When we met an accident, though my husband was driving at that time, I was so scared that I could not drive the car for four years. My husband then encouraged me a lot to take up driving again. He convinced me that the accident was bound to happen the way the truck driver was driving and I should not stop driving because of it. It was at his encouragement, I took up driving once again.

I always feel all people should be like my father who helped his daughters to become self-reliant and lead an independent life.

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  1. Lovely Rathna! So nice to learn about your real story.
    May all girls receive such love & care.
    Even I owe my father for teaching me driving. Great that we have wonderful dads!