Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Learning to drive!

I learnt to drive at the age of 13. Pestered my brother M for approximately one month and fourteen days till he finally gave in just to get me out of his hair I guess. So one fine Saturday morning when my Mom and Dad were out and my eldest brother was in college we set off in my mom’s car for my first lesson. It was a Maruti 800 so my feet could reach the brakes and the accelerator. Now, M is not exactly a patient teacher but I think the thrill of teaching me reckless driving right under Dad’s nose must have enthused him to undertake the job. After he had patiently demonstrated the use of the clutch, gear, accelerator and brake in about tweleve and half seconds, we set off slowly down the road with me behind the wheel and my Lhasa Apso Bubbles in the back seat.

After numerous instructions like:

Do you think Roopa saw me?
Do you think Aparna saw me?
When we pass Ramesh’s house I will duck ok?
If anybody asks, I am here because you blackmailed me into this ok?
etc. I was doing pretty well. It didn’t help my driving a bit, but I wasn’t complaining. Beggars can’t be choosers especially when it comes to choosing their siblings.

Learning to drive from an expert is tough, especially if the expert was born with the steering wheel in his hands. And if the student is your sister who was born without the steering wheels in her hands it leads to some uncomfortable situations, especially for pedestrians some of whom are still alive to tell the tale to the cops if I don’t bring the green blouse with gold border from that tailor down the road or provisions from the Iyengar provision shop only or marry their sons when I reach marriageable age. I am still paying a heavy price for my driving lessons that were supposed to be free.

To begin with I could never get the difference between the brake and the accelerator inspite of my brother’s best efforts and crystal clear instructions.

Look out Hump ahead!!!
Slow down
Press gently on the brake
Hey why are you speeding up?
Oops sorry Pai uncle can’t stop and help you pick up the onions
Oops sorry Venkatesha I will pay for the vegetables and the cart
Aiyyo Shobha aunty did that hurt?
Look out nooo.....* thud *

The *thud* was Nair uncle taking off into the blue yonder Hero cycle and all, losing thrust and landing back successfully on Mother Earth. In fact Nair uncle had a better landing record than NASA shuttle missions during my ‘driving lesson’ days.

After this incident M drove back home and wrote B for brake and A for Accelerator on a piece of paper which he struck on the brake and accelerator.

We set off past Uncle Thomas who shouted “ I am going to tell your...” his last words were lost in the wind as I mistook the accelerator for the brake again. Besides I was too petrified to take my eyes away from the road and read B for Brake and A for Accelerator and WELCOME on the Kerala Coir Board mat. I kept my eyes firmly on the road and foot firmly pressed on the accelerator and learnt to steer, overtake, turn left and right and reverse etc at a pacy 60 mph and higher. My brother was hopping mad and if a genie were appear and grant me three wishes I would have asked for a Remote Control with the options to “Shut him up” “Lower His Volume” and “Shut the dog up”. But since there was no sign of a genie approaching I devised my own remote control to get away from his incessant nagging and shouting. I would say “Duck, I think Gaurav is coming" and M would slide down the seat and stay there for some time while I experimented with the brake and accelerator to my hearts content. After I felt I was fairly sure of this combination I would say, “ Ok, you can come up now, Gaurav is gone”.

So the next few hours M kept sliding up and down the seat while I practiced releasing the clutch slowly while pressing on the accelerator gently, changing the gear while stamping on the clutch etc. After many an “I see Anita on the road” and “Preethi is coming this way” etc., I was fairly sure of how the whole thing worked. I felt as pleased as a punch that had just learnt driving.

On the 3rd Saturday of driving my brother crazy er... driving lessons we were driving into the road leading to my house when my Dad happened to drive by. From the expression on his face when he saw us I could safely surmise that my brother was grounded. But the resultant turns of events? Brother and his bike and his sister and her dog were grounded. Guess I am not very good at face reading.

( Bubbles who would jump into the car the moment anyone opened the car door, developed an irrational fear of cars. The Vet thought and I agreed vehemently, that it was because of the emotional trauma of being grounded. The Vet has since given up practice and now works in a Call Centre)


Dr. Pissed said...

I also tried to learn how to drive when i was 13.
I failed.


quills said...

It is never a good idea to hire your father, brother, cousin brother, uncle, or any male relation for that matter, as your driving instructor. I learned this lesson the hard way. :))

Unless of course you can take the instructor's rising BP, face taking on brilliant shades of the rainbow and hitherto unheard swear words all in your stride. And as you said getting grounded for a very longggggggggg period and having to live with the secret that it was you who destroyed your mother's precious orchid while trying to maneuver the car into the garage and not really your darling doggie who unfortunately was ordered to take the blame.

P.S: Hope Bubbles has finally recovered.

Wanderlust said...

Brakes and accelerators are two words whose meanings interchange depending upon the gender of the person using them ...Thats a genetic phenomena...No wonder you had such fun ....:-))

Wanderlust said...

Hey I added you in my blogroll ...I hope thats fine with you....

silverine said...

@Dr Pissed: Thanks for giving me the details and looks like you too paid a heavy price :))
@Quills: You just described the unique phenmenon called learning to drive :)) Bubbles passed away long time back, but before that she did recover to jump into the car and stick her face out in the wind again.
@Amitabha: So it is a uniquely female habit? LOL And thanks for adding me to your blog roll:)

Fleiger said...

Bad luck, Bubbles, you will get better drivers next time.

But then relationship between B for Brake and female home sapien sapien is always a Hate-Hate one. I remember my friend telling me once after she had dashed my honda into something, "I forgot there are brakes." Now when I am going out with my friends, or any women, I open the back doors for them to get in. Can't afford them having fancies to drive the car ;)

quills said...

Sorry to hear about Bubbles, but glad she did take a final ride in the car.
And after finally learning to drive in India, I came to NA only to realize that you really need to use only your right foot to drive the automatic. That too I learned the hard way when my instructor almost suffered a heart attack when he saw me with one foot on the brake and the other one on the accelerator. I just could not get used to driving initially with my one foot having nothing to do. :)

Sujith said...

i was the first graduate (who got a license) of my driving school. my tutor experimented his teaching lessons on me and thus streamlined his course material. i did the same on his pre-independence-bought car. when i went home last time surprisingly i saw his driving school still opened. the same car i learnt was there. on four wooden blocks!

Ar Ar Ar Arrrrr said...

I still dont know how to drive a 2+ wheeler...I learnt bicycle few years back..now I dont remember...its been quite a long time na...

Look out nooo.....* thud *

and believe me if I learn driving, that *THUD* is going to be a daily routine..hehehe

Mind Curry said...

been waiting for this post for days now!! and i can tell you it was worth every second that i counted :)

...and WELCOME on the Kerala Coir Board mat.
that was soooooo funny!! you are a genius!

i guess we are a generation who were lucky enough to learn driving so young. i remember sitting on my dad's lap and learning to steer..and years later finally growing tall enough to reach the pedals. anyway..

Vet has since given up practice and now works in a Call Centre

really enjoyed this one. as always :)

now the tough part..waiting until next tuesday!!

bubbles is such a cute name for a lhasa. i can even imagine him!

silverine said...

@Fleiger: Bubbles lived a full life before he died. I remember leaving the steering and closing my eyes with both hands when I was about to hit a tree. My brother luckily hit the brake :))
@Quills: Bubbles had many rides till he died of oldage:) Even my cousins groan and tell me about learning to drive the Indian cars and then going to the US to see that all the agony they suffered learning to drive was a waste :))
@Alexis: Wow, you actually drove when you were in the 4th std? Amazing!!! I have done plenty of steering on my Dads lap :) Unfortuately I had a bad instructor :))
@Jithu: That was sooo funnny my tutor experimented his teaching lessons on me and thus streamlined his course material LOL
car i learnt was there...on four wooden blocks! he he that must have bought a lump to your throat :)
@Arzoon: It takes many a *thud* to make one driver :))
@mindcurry: Thank you so much :) ok I am flattered by that waiting for Tuesday part :P Now you know why it was deja vu for me at your post on driving in Kerala!! I guess it is the malluness in me that makes me drive that way..lol Bubbles was bubbly and naughty and very cute and thats why I named him Bubbles :))

Fleiger said...

Female drivers (with rare exceptions) can be divided into 2 categories:

One, who think their speedometer indicates their beauty or fairness quotient, and the second, who think their speedometer indicates their weight. (Just a part of my current masters thesis in Aerie institute, the undergrad one was this.)

I guess you fall in first category.

ജെയിംസ് ബ്രൈറ്റ് said...

I learned to drive my maruthi 800 on my own. I had it in 1993 and I was familiar with the brake and cluch etc. from my scooter! I also learned the scooter myself and took it to Alleppey from Quilon on the same day I leaned how to drive it.

Lalit Singh said...

i hope now its not the case when only two kinda people are scared of my driving ... those inside n those outside

Anand K said...

Slaughtered hundreds-
The sobs of my driving instructor
drowned by police sirens.

Opening Haiku from Dreams of Carmageddon: An Autobiography, by yours truly

Lost in trance... said...

poor ol' Nair Uncle...did he survive?

tcr_79 said...

I remember teaching my sis to ride a cycle...

I made her sit on a cycle and let her down a slope after the falase promise that i will hold on the back :)

Well end result, was sister fell after wobbling on the road for some time, I got a soiund firing for being negligent and believe it or not - after a few lessons, she actually learnt how to ride

Anonymous said...

lol..! fantastic.. as usual..
iv seen anger of the worst kind when people teach driving.. y is it i wonder..

Anonymous said...

Your one liners are something else Anju lol.

I was hoping that the ending would be on the lines of M becoming a kashandi...hate his locks .....asooya !!!:-))

Rajesh Nambiar

starry said...

I always enjoy reading your posts,its hilarious.took me back to the time when my brother taught me to drive.

silverine said...

@Fleiger: My speedometer indicated the degree of my nervousness :)
@dreamslittle: Driving a scooter with clutch etc. is advantageous I guess to learn car driving.
@Aashik: Thank you!! I just post when I am free, no particular time :))
@Lalit: You said it !! scared of my driving ... those inside n those outside LOL That neatly summed up my driving lessons :))
@Anand: sobs of my driving instructor drowned by police sirens and Dreams of Carmageddon: An Autobiography You must have been the 'learner' from HELL!!! rofl
@lostintrance: Nair uncle was so sweet. He survived and didnt say a word to my Dad :)
@tcr_79: That was so sweet, falling down is part and parcel of learning to cycle.I learnt cycling on my own and very fast too, but it was a ladies cycles with trainers :)
@Anon: True, people who know driving just can't remember their learning days and get so annoyed at the learners mistakes!! :)
@Rajesh: Look who is talking!! The man with the curly locks that made the girls go wild LOL Nice to see you here :)
@starynights:Thank you. Guess most of us have learnt driving from siblings. I later did a proper course with a Driving School. And that is another tale I will tell some day :))

Thanu said...

Brought back memories fo my driving lessons.

Driving here is easy - no clutch only brake and accelator, but I wanna learn eventually how to ride a stick shift..

Mind Curry said...

yeah Bubbles sounded just like that!!

so its good you learned to drive in bangalore. am sure that helped. but then, sadly, you might not be material for the nsg. lol..

6 days and counting :))

Anonymous said...

I guess it goes with the gender and vehicles. There was this time when my mom made me take the car into a very narrow lane and the only way to get out was to back out. So I asked her to watch out for the lamp post and she says "what lamp post?" That is until a thud was heard and it was followed by "Oh, that lamp post".
Also reminded me of the time when my wife just stopped the car in the middle of a very busy road in HYD and started to cry - that's it no reason. I had thought then that the heavy traffic, heat and all that honking had got to her. Well, years later she tells me it was tears of joy - go figure.
Also reminds me of giving the wheel to my wife on the highway from HYD to BLORE once. Things were fine till we encountered a bullockcart on the road. She refused to overtake it and so we went at around 5 kmph for an hour :-) - that was as far as my patiance lasted.
BTW, irrespective of what people said of hubby, daddy etc teaching driving - I taught her to drive.

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

Ok ... that was 2 posts that i read at one go ....

awwww ur poor HR ..... i wish we could start one too .. wouldn't i love to put up certain articles !!!

abt driving , my classmate tried to teach me once ... he had a 2nd hand Omni .... and believe me after trying to teach me , he has never again let a girl get into the front seat !!!

P.S : am waiting for him to buy a first hand , brand new car .... :DDD

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

Howz Bubbles ????

Dhanush | ധനുഷ് said...

Nice Post:-). Brought back some nostalgic moments I had with my dad, while learning. About the accelerator and break thingy, he would ask me to stop the car in an uphill and ask it to take it again on first gear. If at all while taking the car go backwards or there is some mismatch in the Accelerator and Brakes, then my God. Pinne onnum parayanda :-)

Dhanush | ധനുഷ് said...

Hey , I have added your link to my blog chall-dhanno. Hope you dont mind.

Shriedhar said...

jab tak rahega samosa me aaalooo
tab tak trahega yeh blg me fun :))

fuunny post (as usual) :)

meenakshi said...

Beggars can’t be choosers especially when it comes to choosing their siblings..........LOL

i also tried to learn driving when i was 12-13 nad failed. after that my father tried teaching me how to drive scooter which again resulted in a minor accident. and that was the end of my driving career :(

silverine said...

@Thanu: Wish we had the simple system here. I dunno why we are still with the old system.
@Browser: My friend and her sister were waiting at a traffic light. Even after the lights turned green they kept chatting and finally the cars had to reverse and carry on as these two were oblivious to the honk and curses :)) Thank god there was no policeman at the junction.Even I hate overtaking, but a bullock cart is an exception lol And 'kudos' on teaching her to drive, you must have the patience of the budhdha indeed :))
@Deepa: I am sure you would write a very colorful article in your intranet :)) I also learnt driving in an Omni later on when I went to a driving school. Bubbles must be gamboling in heaven now :)
@Dhanush: Even I went thru the routine of stopping the car on an incline etc in the driving school. It sure is tough to master.
@Sridhar: Wah! Wah! lol
@Fundoome: Ha ha I see that you caught on to that line :)) Even I had many 'minor' accidents ;)
@Lash: I didnt dare try driving after being grounded :( Later I learnt it thru a driving school.

Matter of Choice said...

so how did u escape ur promises once u reached marriageable age?? or did they decide not to enforce it after seeing your driving skills?

so u really had fun learning to drive!!!...mine was a boring driving school with truck like ambassador car and an asan who had the courage to say to my face i should never ever drive in my life!

A dear aunt consoled me later by promising me a bicycle (which ofcourse she never delivered!!)


Mind Curry said...

oh my gaaawwddd..how could you ignore my last comment!!
hope..joanna gimme hope!

silverine said...

@mindcurry:oh my gaaawwddd..how could I miss your last comment!!!:-O
oops I realised after I posted the last replies :))

Alas!!! *wrist on forehead* (like B/W heroines) I cannot be an NSG :( But then I can always try even if I die trying...so Kerala Roads here I come :P

@MoC: Thanks to the kind registrar at the Corporation Record office I am yet to reach marraigeable age.Some proposals fell thru when I nearly ran over the prospective father -in-laws and mother-in-laws. SF

I had a fun 'instructor' at the driving school who told me on the last day that he wanted to marry a 'mallu' gal ..I told him that he should get her consent first. The joke went over his head :))

Mind Curry said...

ahh..now i feel better..but still weak from the shock..will take a few days to recover.


kerala roads here i come
lol..can i come watch?

Anonymous said...

Lovely blog! I actually found myself reading through your archives. Wow! You've got me hooked girl!

I'm linking to you in a flash. i hope you link back to me too! ;o)

Fleiger said...

Oh my god, so you race with snails, to their pleasure?

Jim said...

It's funny, you figured out how to shut your brother up in minutes, yet the brakes and accellerator baffled you for hours!

Nice post, thanks for the laffs :) I guess the next logical would be you learning to park...

Arthur Quiller Couch said...

The delights of blog-browsing. Came here from .. damn, whose blog was it? You're listed on her roll as the funniest Dravidian female blogger or some such, and I'd say the "Dravidian" is an unnecessary qualification.

More, please.

silverine said...

@mindcurry: I liked that thinly veiled compliment :)) and you can def watch, just make sure you are sitting someplace safe LOL
@Meena: Thank you :) I am a regular reader of your blog for some time now and now my mom and a band of other ladies in my family and colleagues are too, as I have sent the link to all my friends. You are a fantastic cook. Thanks for Blogrollng me, I am def going to do the same with your blog too :)
@Fleiger: Yes, and I don't mind them overtaking me too LOL
@Jim: I have lived with him for years and am therefore quite adept at shutting him up :) But the brake and clutch still baffle me. My greatest fear is that I might accidently hit the accelerator insead of brake and maybe hurt somebody someday :(
@Arthur Quiller Couch: Welcome to my blog and thanks for dropping by. More is on the way :)

Kusum Rohra said...

Heheheh poor bubbles... poorer vet and poorest M :)

That was hilarious.

Mind Curry said...

just make sure you are sitting someplace safe
after all this, i can only ask you one thing: can i sit next to you in the car? thats the safest spot to watch you when you are driving :))

Fleiger said...

That was what I was afraid of when saying "to their pleasure". Well, I guess it is better than girls who use their car mirrors as makeup tools and picture their accelerators as that "stupid girl in the class". I have seen many a girl drivers going at breakneck (for others) speed.

@Mindcurry: just make sure the passanger seat has eject button, and it is working before getting in the car.

silverine said...

@Kusum:What about poor me?? :))
@Mindcurry: Fleiger said:just make sure the passanger seat has eject button, and it is working before getting in the car. rofl
@Fleiger: Picturing the accelerator as that stupid girl lol
ROFLMAO on that advice to mindcurry =))

Mind Curry said...

@ silverine and fleiger - that was sooooooo funny..laughed a lot!

Fleiger said...

Of course, if Silverine is driving at infra-snail speeds, the danger is not hitting something from front, but back. Still, I would suggest M to read articles like this.

Anonymous said...

@Mind Curry - Do you have a death wish!! Sit next to her when she drives! If the accident doesn't kill you then the fear will :-).

P.S. - Ever tried sitting next to the driver in one of those famous "SuperFast" buses in Kerala. I'm guessing silverine should have a "better and more profound" effect.

Arti Honrao said...

This reminded me of my one-day driving lesson with my brother. Naah, I don't mean one day of the driving lesson, I mean driving lesson that lasted only for one day :D

Actually the first thing he taught me was reverse gear ... n that too in very limited space. When I was abt to hit a wall he screamed "Arti brake lagaaaa" I was not sure which one was the brake [just as the case was with u] but my bro was fast n he bent down and pressed the brake with his hand and I understood which one is the brake so I did my part of putting my foot on it...
Now is it my fault that he still had the hand on the brake :blush:
thus ended my driving lesson with my bro :(
I even had to bandage his hand free of cost ;))


josh said...

Just today I saw you being tagged on another blog as 'the funniest Dravidian chick I know'. I'm afraid I might soon subscribe to her compliment on you. I, on the other hand, normally drive safe by walking.

Praveen said...

:), this reminds me a lot of that mallu film (thalayanamanthram) where Mammukoya teaches Sriniasan to drive with Srinivasan questioning which is brake and which is the accelerator! :)

silverine said...

@mindcurry: Me too :))
@Fleiger: ha ha I get the hint :))
@Browser: I did sit in one of those superfast KSRTC bus one day and lived to tell the tale er...write this blog :)
@Arti: You won't believe it but it happened with me too :))
@Josh: That's my blog sistah ifitellyaiwillhavetokillya!! Thanks for your kind words :)
@Praveen: LOL :))

quills said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
quills said...

Another sad driving tale of mine was when I learned the hard way that lamp posts are still a common feature in North American cities. Unfortunately I only came to know of it (was learning to parallel park) after pressing accelerator a tad too hard while the car was in Reverse gear, only to have the tail light of my car and the lamp post merge. If you were to examine carefully, you will still find embedded pieces of glass on that particular wooden post on Kennedy Blvd.:(

Gladtomeetin said...

Hey Nice One Again :-)) I remember my driving lessons, even though it was not with brother, father, or cousin or anyone known previously ;-))

silverine said...

@quills: LOL I have a history with a certain lamp post too :))
@Gladtomeetin: Guess none of us can forget our driving lessons :)

Jagan said...

u still drive ? if yes , let me know in advance so that i can keep off the road .

SNM said...

First of all, I haven't read the post. The length scared me. May be I'll read it when I have a lot of time.

So you too changed the template? That was quite a drastic one: from Black to White...But I don't like the Georgia Font. I tweaked the templated and changed it to Sylfaen.

Goa is one of my all-time favorite places...

quills said...

whew! It is a great relief to know that i am not the only one smashing lamp posts.:))

Anonymous said...

my problem with driving was that I learned to drive when I was around ten, at night time we would sneak out with our parents cards into a nearby desert, this has given me immense confidence but alas thats where the problem starts... I am so overconfident that

1. My first landcruiser went over a roundabout,

2. My rav4 too has had a similar fate.

3. My jeep in India went into a ditch

I have this bad habit of driving with my knees, I like to talk on the phone and often drink coffee, I cant even recall how many accidents I have had... have I learnt my lesson?... NO !

silverine said...

@jeremey: Thanks!! That Kellogs and B post was hilarious :))
@Jagan: Yes, I do. And I will SMS you before I run you down :p
@Quills: ha ha we all had our date with lamp posts :))
@Jinu:LOL you must be a road horror. Driving with knees? That's so dangerous!!!

Ashish Gupta said...

Aaha the joys of having elder siblings >:)
You wanna get pampered he/she is there, you need help they are there, you need to learn things they are there, you pick fights at school they are there to protect, you need love and care they are the first ones!.... gosh I wonder sometimes if I could ever repay an elder sis like mine :-"
She almost literally crafted the person I am!

Anonymous said...

It's illegal to drive here(Canada) till one is 16. Then you can apply for license. I wish I had at least done that. But I kept procrastinating till 24. Now I have license, but I am an awful driver, so don't drive. Need to go for highway license next year.

I wish I had gotten it at 16, because like Alexis said, it becomes like second nature when you learn at a younger age. Now, I am terrified of accidents, breaking rules, turns...only vehicle I feel safe in is my bicycle:-)


silverine said...

Ashish: Amen :)

Sixtus:God bless you too dear :)

Kajan: Alexis was right, like education, driving too should start young when your reflexes are good! Thanks for dropping by :)

Abhinav Viswambharan said...

Well..well...well. I can put myself in your brother's shoes.

For me and my Dad taking my Mom and Sis, out on driving lessons, used to be an iota short of a nightmare.

No matter how much you tell them not to, they would keep repeating the same set of mistakes:-

1. Trying to turn on the ignition, when the engine it is already turned on. Scrrrreeeeeeeeeech....

2. Changing gears without pressing clutch.

3. Pushing in the accelerator instead on the break.

4. Laying stress on the steering wheel, while changing gears, which would make the car go off track.

The list goes on...

PS: I too was a student, but then, that was a thing of the past. :P

M@mm@ Mi@ said...

good one...this reminds me of my driving lessons...dad taught me and after two days i was driving at 70kmph in a village road opposite to a fast passenger bus.he shouted me to stop the car and by mistake my leg landed on the accelerator....have to walk all the way back home,one and a half kilometers :(