It’s been two and a half years now since I’ve driven a car. I don’t remember the exact date of driving a car for the last time, but I remember those last moments, after which my “driving career” became a history.
It was hot everywhere that day, on the streets, inside the car and this heat was burning me. It was 5.30 pm already and I was driving home my family from Dadar to Vile Parle and we had to reach home before 5.30 pm "at any cost" as my mom had put it. This wasn’t the fastest I’d driven, in my short stint as a driver, but I really had tried my bit. Okay! Not everyone is comfortable overtaking a vehicle on a highway, at least not when you have a screaming brother criticizing your every single move! So it had taken me about an hour to make the distance from Dadar to Vile Parle, (an experienced driver takes about 30 minutes, but please mark the word “experienced” here). So I am a safe driver and saw to it that my inexperience didn’t cost any losses to my family, what’s wrong with that? But some people are born to be blamed for everything they do or even for everything they don’t do. So we had nearly reached home and I just had to make one final turn, but the traffic was thick and I let a few cars to pass by. Irritated by this, my brother resumed to his yelling, “Do you realize you are the cause of traffic here? Stop just waiting for things to happen and move. This way, we will never reach home.” I really wanted to staple his mouth shut somehow. Then suddenly “Move! Move! Move!” filled the air and I just fired the engine and in the confusion and fury that arose in the car and my head, I couldn't notice the rickshaw to my left and took a sharp turn. The result – there remains a large scratch on the car – the scars of my failure – an answer to everyone who questions my dad “why doesn’t he drive?”
It was my dad who forced me into a driving school as soon as I turned 18. But since we had just got a new car back then, I wasn’t allowed to drive the same. I guess its novelty never wore off even after three years as my dad then refused to hand me over the car. His reason being, “Now you have lost the touch, so go join a driving school first before you touch my car”. I was quite stubborn on not joining a driving school again and my dad, was stubborn on not giving me a chance to touch his car. My uncle, who had come to stay with us for a couple of weeks took up the matter in his own hands and started training me at nights, after he came home from work. I enjoyed learning under him and at the end of our very first “session”, he concluded that there’s nothing wrong with my driving and I can go on my own. But that never convinced my dad. Three days later my uncle started taking me on long drives and we drove as long as 50 kms one way. A week later, with my uncle as my instructor, I took my family to Pune and back. Uncle had given me just one piece of advice, “Let him scream, you focus on your driving.” It was the best fun with driving I’ve ever had. I really enjoyed myself that day. My dad went on howling, while I kept on driving. Finally, after 3 hrs, my dad realized, all the shouting was of no use and I wasn’t going to stop anyway. Peace finally!
But it had to end someday. My uncle moved out and it was a struggle after that to get the car on the road again by myself, as my dad would plainly say “NO”! But with mom’s support, I did steal out the car a few times, but the “homecomings” were never sweet. The lectures were getting impossible to deal with and I was finding it really hard to hold back my temper. Finally it happened. I just threw away the keys and “this is the last time I touch your car” came out of my mouth – I think I saw my dad celebrate the moment. He walked away quietly and started enjoying the blasted music that he plays on his headphones. A couple of times after that day, I did drive but it was just for 5 minutes at most as screams again filled the car and I was finding it impossible to keep my calm. And then the “scratchy” moment happened and I completely gave up.
I really feel like shouting out someday that I miss driving, I loved it; the moment I touched that steering wheel, I felt like I owned the world, it was bliss. But somehow these shouts get lost in my head. I don’t see a point in raising a fight.
We aim for everything and we just feel everything is rightfully ours, disappointment strikes when we start feeling we own the world. The truth is we don’t.
I cannot stand it, when anyone handles my guitar carelessly or just picks it up without asking me. A close friend of mine, had had it from me for doing so and I had told him, never to touch it ever again without asking me. I then understood my dad, and what it must be like for him, when handing over his car-keys to a newbie or to a person who doesn’t know how to drive. Well, I have the blessed bike and it’s a sexy machine. I completely adore it. But finding satisfaction is one thing, forcing yourself to stay satisfied is another. Denial is a fact that our pride doesn’t let us embrace. Hence, we drive ourselves in a world of illusions. I really question, are we so proud to handle the truth. Am I so proud?