‘I am home and this time for a full two months. By the end of these two months, I am expecting to have mastered my driving. Please make all arrangements.’
The WhatsApp message on our family group was clear. My wife looked at me, ‘I don’t think this time you can escape. He is quite serious!’ she said as I mulled over my options.
Our part-time driver for many years, Rahman had stopped returning my calls ever since he had taken our son driving in my wife’s old car. My wife acted like a zombie the rest of that day after she returned following one session of sitting with him as he drove. Now with a brand new car of which she was fiercely possessive, even a mention about taking on this responsibility would result in me not getting any breakfast for a month. My son had taken lessons from a driving school some years ago and obtained a licence…what he now wanted was to be able to hone his skills and drive confidently and stylishly. He claimed that most of his friends drove like professionals. Whenever he went out with them on holiday trips, he was the only one in the group who was not driving and it was our fault entirely.
I tried explaining to my wife that;
- It is foolishness to drive in city traffic to improve driving
- Once he has his own car automatically his driving will get better
- None of us mastered driving by having our parents sitting next to us
‘Your car is now old…I think he should practice in your car!’ my dear wife pronounced wickedly!
I was left with no option but to take on the responsibility of preparing our son for the crazy and chaotic traffic of Bengaluru where he had started working since he passed out of college.
So for two weeks I sat next to him as he drove me to my hospital and back in the mornings in rush-hour traffic. I made him take a different route each time to ensure that the traffic conditions were unpredictable. After returning from this nerve-racking experience, I would then drive to work on my own. I was always a bit late to work and my patients started to complain. We had many near-misses and earned the wrath of impatient office-goers whenever the car stalled in the middle of crawling traffic.
I suggested putting an L board, but he would have none of it. He did not want others to give him any leeway while he was driving. I looked harassed and became short-tempered. I also started having nightmares and this had my wife worried. She thought it was work-related stresses and had me undergo a complete health check-up.
By the end of two weeks, my son became confident enough to start driving on his own. All my problems settled down and my patients were also happy now. The nightmares too stopped.
A week before he was to leave, he told me;
‘Daddy…I can now drive very well in city traffic. I think it is now time to practice some high-speed highway driving. When can we start on the ORR?’
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