(Published on April 5th, 2009)
I have to confess – I cannot drive. I have neither tried nor have taken any lessons. I dream about driving a Volkswagen Beetle, but I can’t see it happening.
Driving involves a lot of decision making and I cannot handle that. When I mentally drive sitting in a car, I don’t know, if I have to let the people cross the road or change the lane or drive fast enough before the lights turn red. I think it is too much hassle.
When I initially learnt to ride a bicycle, it was all fine till I tried riding it on a busy street. I fretted every time a vehicle went past me. I had then, stopped, till the road was clear before I continued.
When I watch people drive as a matter of routine – like cooking or cleaning or brushing teeth – I wonder why it has to be this big hurdle that I have to jump.
What really impresses me is that there is a whole generation of people who seem to zoom past all these ‘hurdles’ and drive smoothly and steadily every day.
I have also noticed that people can do many things while driving. They switch on the radio, change the CD, drink water and also talk! To me, they are super heroes with extraordinary powers.
The other day Jeeya called me to inform me of her triumph – “I got my licence,” she announced.
“Wow! Congratulations,” I said excitedly. Jeeya is my mirror image – one who has what the experts call – driving phobia. Although, I cannot understand if it is just the fear of driving or the fear of decision-making, we have endlessly spoken about the difficulties of driving.
“Finally, I did it,” she said, her voice brimming with pride. “If I can do it, anybody can,” she announced. This meant, in those unspoken words – I had to try.
It was now imperative that I get into action. So, I sat behind the wheel and ran my fingers around its rim. It felt cold but there was an enormous surge of power gushing in. It felt good to be in control.
I found myself thinking of the day when I was coaching my little one to ride a bicycle, minus the supporting wheels that would come to his rescue if he lost control.
I ran after him holding the back of the vehicle and shouting a million times that he could do it. But then, it happened before I knew it.
As my hand let go, my son, wheeled past me, avoiding the strangers and navigating perfectly through the park. “Careful dear,” I called out.
Now, as I sat, my heart swelled with pride. I had watched my son ride and in some way felt a bit of my own self bike away.
Determined now, I studied the wheel with many protrusions that could clean the windscreen or switch on lights, and I realised that it was not just about turning the wheel.
My hands, fingers and feet would also get busy. Too many bodily functions to handle.
Just then, a voice called out, “Mum, it is time, you get your own bike. We could bike together”.
Perhaps, I should do that to begin with – learn to navigate a bike and transform my ‘dynamics’ to ‘kinetics’. But something tells me I should wait for the day someone in a research laboratory will spring a surprise.
A car fitted with sensors that can find its way through the crowded street avoiding hits and jerks. If there can be driver-less trams then why not a car? Perhaps, my dream will come true. Just may be.