Saturday, June 28, 2008

Who doesn't fear the driving test

Yeah the scary episode of driving test is now behind me and I can happily say, I have survived the worst. Not only survived, have come out of it with golden numbers. Yep, 90/100, alright may not be real golden but not bad when you are sweating and shivering in your car seat during the test. The fear of this test was quite deep set. I had heard stories of how, instructors are evil Dracula's, ready to kill with a fail stamp on every slightest mistake.

As I walked towards the driving center, I noticed a old man (stern face) instructing another man to turn on the left indicator, then the right. Looking at him, I thought, looks like an extremely irritated oldie. You know na, like some oldies who for no reason are irritated at the world. So praying that he doesn’t turn out to be my instructor I went to check in. I was given this note to be put on my dashboard and wait in the car. I did as told. And guess who walks up to my car, the same oldie. I almost banged my head on the steering wheel, when I heard his voice. And here's how it went:

Instructor: Hello, my name is Jerry (or Tom). I am your instructor for the day.

Me: (All trying to be nice ,smiling) Hello, nice to meet you. I am S..

Instructor: (Didn’t care about my name or the hello and still the stern face) I am now going to check whether your vehicle is in good shape. Turn on the right indicator and then the left. Push the brake pedals for me to check the brake lights.

Me: (Yeah right! It’s a new car, it should be in a good shape. I didn’t crash into some car before I got here, of course the indicators work and which fool would drive on freeways without brakes working) Yes sir (still trying to be nice) Here goes, left indicator, works doesn't it? (ouch, wrong question, shut up girl and focus)

Instructor (sits in the car): Now I am going to test your braking skills. I am going to ask you to keep your foot on the accelerator pedal and when I say stop you should brake as soon as possible. Okie?

Me: (Is he joking or something? In a real crisis, no one is going to scream stop. And what if someone hits my car from behind, what if I am driving at 60 and some accident occurs right in front. Guess this is some trick from the late 40's) Of course sir and i do as he says.

Instructor: (Extremely stern face) I will now be testing your driving skills. You should be well aware, that if you don’t perform you will have to reappear. I will not try to distract or confuse you. You should drive as told. Do you have any questions?

Me: (He already spoke about re-test. God he is so going to fail me. Should I ask a couple of questions like: what if I don’t catch you accent, will you repeat the instruction? What if I miss a turn coz I didn’t understand you accent? What if I run over a squirrel or a raccoon or something, does that count as a violation? And you look old and stressed, what if you suddenly feel dizzy and I need to stop call 911, do I still fail, even if I save your life?) Yes sir, I completely understand if I under perform I will have to reappear. I have no questions. Shall we begin? (Oh God! sounded confident or overconfident, he is so going to fail me)

Instructor: Ok then, does you car have a AC. Does it work? I would like you to ON it.

Me: (Definitely this oldie is feeling dizzy, maybe he will crash even before I back out of the parking lot.) Yes sir, here we go. Nice weather outside, isnt it?

Instructor: (Doesn’t care about the weather or my question, still stern face) Back out of the parking lot and drive as I tell.

And then it was left turns, parallel parking, parking at the curb (up hill, down hill), backing along a curb downhill and some other stupid things which we never use in practical driving.

Finally Tom (or Jerry whatever his name was) told me to park. I parked and I was amazed at how much my hands were shaking. Man! I have been driving for almost 5 years now and I shiver during a stupid test. I looked at Tom and he was writing something on a piece of paper. I was praying constantly,don’t fail me god, promise wont drive rash, promise wont even think of driving at 100, not even once. Ok maybe sometimes, just to know how it feels when the speed indicator shows 100. Okie fine, never. Tom looked at me and actually asked as if he were listening: Are you saying something, do you have any questions?

Nope Sir, nothing at all. And that's when his face changed from the always stern to a smiling (didn’t I remember my grandpa!) wrinkled face. You did well young lady. You have passed the test with a score of 90 he said. Thank god! I was beaming with happiness. And started chattering, "I think I didn’t back up well, I could have parallel parked well too. Most of all the curb thing, I think I really sucked at that." His face stern again, Though u did well, I would like to tell you a few things.

He told me flaws in my driving. Parallel parking was well, assure that there is enough gap between the front and back car, so they can drive out easily. While backing downhill curb, assure you keep driving straight and close to the curb. Now take this paper and go get you license.

I just looked at his wrinkled stern face and thought how does he manage to be like that. I saw him get out of the car with some difficulty (maybe knees hurt) and walk away. And silently, I thanked him.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Happiness is..

When you go to Cheesecake factory and study the menu for more than 30 minutes to figure out, those one or two things you would like the most. When, finally you order a dish which contains lots of cheese and add a thick strawberry smoothie with it. When you know you have had so much that another bite could make you throw up everything and yet you order a to-go cheesecake. When you decide to eat it at 12 in the night, still sure that your stomach won’t really agree. When you sigh at 12 coz, well you can’t eat the Cheesecake now. Happiness is when you wake up in the morning still thinking of the cheesecake....

Happiness: What can I say; it has different meaning for different people :)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Mumbai rains remind me of..

I must have written, saved and deleted at least 4-5 possible posts in the past few weeks. I blame the ridiculously changed weather for the same. I mean a week back sun was beaming, was it even a week back or more? And now it’s back to rains…yeah it’s just like India in June only a lot colder. I loved India rains, though it would get all muddy. I loved standing by the window, watching rain sipping tea. Watching someone’s umbrella fly away. Kids returning home from school, holding their bags on their head to protect themselves and still pushing each other in puddle. Women still arguing about the vegetable prices, holding a bag of vegetables in one hand, balancing the purse in the other and holding umbrella in an awkward, uncomfortable tilted neck position. Yet on a rainy day Saturday, there would be queue outside Hanuman temple. People waiting in a long queue with oil and leaf garlands. Oil almost diluted and turning to water due to drops of water the little vessel collected till it entered the temple. Mumbai rains remind me of people hanging at the train compartment door, taking cool breeze on their face. It also reminds me of huge waves at Hajiali and clouds roaring in the background. Mumbai rain reminds me of travelling in a double decker bus and watching the water level rise. Mumbai rains remind me of kids making little boats of paper and placing them in muddy water stream running by the street. Mumbai rains remind me of mum drying my hair with her saree pallu. Mumbai rain reminds me of eating hot bhajiya while trying not to get wet, standing under the little shelter of the bhajiya gadi. Mumbai rains remind me of Dadar Phul bazaar. Mumbai rains remind me…