This is an old story from quite a while ago. A few of us ‘students’ were waiting for our driving test to happen (I took mine quite late, at the age of thirty-nine) and in the meantime we compared notes, sharing our strong and weak points.
One talked about how she was hesitant navigating crowded market places. Somebody else spoke of the difficulty in parking. Yet another said she wasn’t yet confident about reversing the vehicle into a designated spot. Yes, I nodded in agreement with the last, I am not yet cool with that too. Just then, a voice interrupted us.
I didn’t know to reverse my car at all, and yet I simply took it out and roamed the city.
We all turned to see who had spoken. It was a diminutive lady, in a red and brown sari and hair cut short. She must have been in her late fifties. Seeing our curious looks, she pointed to the jean clad young woman standing next to me and said, ‘I am her mother, and drove her over for the test.’
The questions came fast from those around. But, weren’t you afraid driving in the city without knowing how to reverse your car? What if someone stopped you and you HAD to reverse? What if a policeman stopped you and asked you to reverse into a specific spot?
Of course, life in the city had been much more laid-back those days, fewer cars plying the road, fewer policemen too. So it would have been slightly better, but still…
I don’t know what I’d have done, she answered cheerfully. I didn’t think of any of that. I loved to drive, so I simply took the car and went out when I wanted to.
The daughter rolled her eyes listening to her mother. Mom’s like that. She does things without thinking through.
The mother shook with laughter on hearing her. And what’s wrong with that? You should just go and do things when you want to, not think too much about it. That’s how you learn. As an afterthought she added, I did reverse into a pole one day and cause some hullabaloo. She laughed heartily, remembering.
Wow, I thought looking at her. How different is she from me! I’d want to know my lessons well before I venture out (and that’s what I did subsequently too). Imagine backing into a pole and when people ask you how it happened, turning your palms up and saying, ‘I don’t know yet how to reverse a car.’ Apparently that’s what she did, with a shrug of her elegant shoulders.
© Shail Mohan 2019