Tales of the road

My dad bought me my first two-wheeler when I was in Class 9. Motorized. While this might classify me as a spoilt brat in most opinions, truth is I needed it mainly to propel my geek-dom further, because the whole point behind the bike was this way I could attend after-school maths classes in 10th and get amazing marks. Which was difficult if I missed my school bus back home, the only alternate mode of transport being a ‘tempo’ also known as shared auto, and a 2 km walk each way. This would also eat into, yes, you’re right, study time and I couldn’t have that, so I got my two-wheeler. And also, amazing marks in Maths.

Anyway, when my Dad offered to buy me the vehicle, I by default chose a Luna Super. Yes, the trusty old moped which would not cross 40 kmph if you set fire to it. My Dad offered to buy me a ‘Kinetic Pride’ at that time, relatively more expensive, and definitely better looking but I turned it down because another friend in school had a Luna (Class 8 onwards, I know I am not helping my bratty case here). I however did not accept this reasoning in my head until yet another friend, who bought a Kinetic Pride very pointedly (and rather rudely) said that I just followed whatever friend number one did. I was pretty pissed at the allegation and did not retort because I knew she was right.

So Class 10 came and I started taking the moped to school which was a good 8 kms away. I even started taking my little sister, then in Class 7 along. It was well and good until one eventful morning in April, just about 15 odd days into all this awesomeness, I rode full on into this stationary ‘tempo’ while humming ‘ Gaate the pehle akele’ from the film Khamoshi. I do not hum that song while on a bike since then.

I fell, and so did my sister, and our bags and stuff and a group of people gathered around us and for a few minutes I was too dazed and then I saw this huge gash on my knee and panicked. Before I  proceed I need to tell you that panic is my favorite form of reaction and my first choice for any situation. And most often for reasons other than what technically would be priority for others.

This case was no different and while my primary reason for stressing should have been ‘Oh My God, is my sister ok? Have I broken any bones, followed by ‘Oh My God look at that gash, it’s going to need stitches!’, it actually was ‘Oh My God my dad is not going to let me ride this to school anymore!’ So when one of the people in crowd asked me my phone number, I gave it pretty reluctantly, adding vehemently that he was NOT supposed to call my parents. No, I did not pause to think what else he would use my number for. And no, I did not think if the by-standers were worried if I had hurt my head.

So I tied a handkerchief (or the cleaning cloth for the tempo, I swear I couldn’t care), and wait for this, rode to school. I had fallen mid-way between school and home. And I chose to ride to school where from I thought, I would call home and calmly inform them of a slight fall that had happened and I don’t know, wish for them to never notice that 2 inch deep wound on my knee where I swear I could see my bone.

I reached school and called them back, only to have my grandmom pick the call and tell me that they were on their way to school. I cursed the well-wisher dude and sat back and waited. They came over, calmly inspected the situation (not the wound thankfully), and took me to a doctor The doctor had a look at it and pronounced that I needed stitches. And thanks to anesthesia (whose concept I seem to have been alien to apparently, cos I kept asking him if it would hurt, to which he kept saying ofcourse it would, moron) I never knew when it got done.

Long story short, (ok, not so short I guess) I live to tell the tale with the scar still apparent on knee. Three stitches which could have changed the course of my life. Ok, that’s way too much exaggeration, but it could definitely have changed my mode of transportation, which sucked cos hello, I wasn’t taking a tempo everyday! But somewhere during the summer vacations (which started soon), I re-convinced my Dad to let me go to school on the moped and he agreed much to the annoyance of my mom.

Between then and now I have changed 3 two-wheelers. The Luna, followed by a Scooty in college to an Aviator I ride to work today. I have fallen multiple times, maintaining an average of a fall per year, minor scratches that hurt for an hour, to scars that still show. Lived through skids that happened just because they hadn’t in a while, to falls that happened because a stupid dog ran behind the vehicle barking his guts out, only to give a look and walk away when I finally fell while taking a turn without reducing speed (no, I don’t wish he had fulfilled his karma and bitten me, but I hate purposeless noise). Ridden on narrow lanes in Meerut and big roads in Hyderabad and broken ones in Pune. So the road is no alien to me thanks to my mighty scooter.

But looks it was the mighty scooter doing all the work all this while because last week I finally joined car driving classes and it is not the same. Not even close. Firstly, there aren’t 400 things to manage like in this case. Just because we have two hands and two feet and two eyes doesn’t mean you have a job defined for all of them simultaneously. Also, 7:30 AM for some people really means 7:30 AM for some people, and 20 minutes does not mean 5 minutes and these seem to be difficult to digest concepts for my driving instructors. In any case I am trying, and it has just been 6 days so I am hoping things improve soon. So if you see an out-of-control red i10 around Magarpatta City in Pune anytime, and a frowning (albeit very cool if you ignore her disheveled look) 31 year old at the wheel who seems to be trying hard to not whack the guy sitting next to her, come say hi.

Or don’t. I might just knock you over.



34 thoughts on “Tales of the road

  1. SO you learning to drive .. all the best .. and no i cant stop to say hello it will be just a tad far from UK 🙂 so you can never see another lunatic coming your way 🙂

    and regarding falls .. well my avergae was once a month I think .. my poor scooter and then the bike probably damned the day it got created and I bought them .. at different intervals.. the handle of my scooter would look right and it would be going left .. thats how bad it was ..

    knees elbows, head , hands all are there still alive to tell the tale

  2. The Other Side of Life

    Hahahhaaa! Rofl! That was so so so funny! So sorry for laughing at your expense. But bah. That really cracked me up! I can drive a car, but I totally get your point about too many things to manage. Recently, I drove an Electric Car, and seriously, you have to try it to believe it, but it kinda felt like driving around a toy car. Those bump-car toys in amusement parks. So easy to drive around. If it wasnt so expensive, for the extremely small size it offers, I would have totally bought it! 😀

  3. Laila

    Your post reminded me of my driving lessons in Pune. After joining a class, not learning much from it, then one day losing control of my car on a slope (and completely letting it go since I thought there was NOOO way I could control it anymore), being saved by a little set of hidden stairs where the tires got stuck, and then staying mentally scarred on that slope for a long time, I eventually started driving pretty well. Of course, for that to happen, I had to hire a driver for about a month to just sit next to me (and risk his life) so I could practice in my own car everyday. That helped, and I was pretty comfortable in about 15 days.

    It’s a different story now though as I have lost my confidence to drive manual cars after driving the automatic ones in US 😦

    1. WOW! Slope and saved by stairs? I panic too, I am worried. But I guess I won’t try slopes and stairs for a long time 😀
      You give me confidence. I intend to drive with the Dude next to me till I am like completely confident. That is one driver expected to risk his life for me 😉
      I wanted to start with automatic but the Dude didn’t let me. Hmph.

  4. hahahah I have the track record of making everyone who sits behind me fall at least once..and that included my 2 year old *gulp* dad, mom, brother, bhabhi, husband, friends, mother in law..the only one who has refused to sit behind me in the two wheeler is my father in law…smart guy eh?

  5. First of all, Thank you for letting me read in my mail itself rather than coming here all the way :).
    Even though i dont comment to them all, I read most of your posts and I smile, that , A LOT !! Great work DI 😀

  6. LOL! 😀 You write so well! I couldn’t stop laughing, reading this – “Firstly, there aren’t 400 things to manage like in this case. Just because we have two hands and two feet and two eyes doesn’t mean you have a job defined for all of them simultaneously.” 😀

    Seriously.. car driving is SO much tougher! I managed to miraculously pass the DL test, thanks to the driving school owner, who was allowed to sit beside who drove! 😉 Haven’t been practicing regularly, but I sure wanna drive on my own some day! 😛

    1. Hehe! Thanks! But true right? What is with this clutch, gear, accelarator, break, steering, rearview mirror, that indicator, the other mirror in the centre, reverse, neutral, WHAT THE AAAARGGGHHH!
      Good for you. I, have a license. Don’t ask me how but I got it as a package when I got my scooter license 13 years ago! I hope I don’t lose practise. I need to drive to work.

  7. The closest I have come to such an experience…was when I finally got a bicycle in 8th standard after crying for many years (next birthday gift, was the excuse always). My mom was very paranoid about me riding on ‘main roads’. . .one day I fell, bruised my knee, tore my jeans and thought I would have die. Since then, only chauffeur driven auto 😛 believe me it sucks in Gurgaon! But, driving sucks too (that’s what I tell myself). At least in an auto I can zone out daydreaming and not worry about hundred people in random directions.

    I ‘intend’ to learn driving this summer. Well!

    1. Tsk 😀 I hate autos. I wish I lived somewhere with good Public transport facilities, like London! I wouldn’t mind a chauffer driven car but there also that guy might not be very punctual and I would kill myself 😦
      Sigh. All the best. It isn’t any fun.

  8. Hehehe..all the best with your driving lessons…:)

    I prefer my bike any day since i started riding it when I was in 7th standard and have more experience..the car driving guy didn’t teach me properly..we were 3 of us and we were only allowed to use the steering once a while…my Dad was really annoyed and made me practise in the parking lot opposite People’s plaza on Necklace road early in the mornings..i got my DL too..this was 7 years ago..i haven’t touched a car since the day I got my DL!!;)

  9. I am totally with the dude on this one. You can switch from a manual to an automatic anytime. But switching from automatic to manual will be .. well, almost impossible. I say you ‘really’ know driving only when you can comfortably handle the gear and the clutch on the slope of a flyover that is really jammed. Once you conquer that, everything else will be easy..

    Good luck to you. I hate driving but then I don’t have a choice I think. Has its advantages though. Totally know what you mean about having to use your hands, legs, eyes and ears simultaneously.

  10. Bhavani

    Haha that was funny…i was riding a Luna also, but not to school though. And once I remember falling with a friend when it skidded in our neighbourhood. And our first worry was, omg hope none of the cool guys saw us falling!!! 2nd worry was the minor scrapes and 3rd one was getting scolded by parents about safety 🙂 yeah we had our priorities…

    I never drove a car in India. So learning to drive an automatic car was super easy and now cannot imagine riding a 2 wheeler or driving a car in India!


  11. Practice DI and it will become easy in no time. D was a total meanie till I was scared to drive. I was permanently sitting on that driver seat. Now we both fight over who will drive. All these this is how far we have come 🙂
    I knew the basics and could drive but D is the one who gave me the confidence. I guess I should give him some credit (grudgingly though it is)

    1. 😀 I like that. I hope it comes to that some day. Right now, I am all set to run away! And it is all about that worry 😦 My teacher is quite sarcastic and that works at times!
      Thanks Comfy, feeling motivated!

  12. hahaha….this was a fun read! And brought back many memories of my own school days. I got my first two-wheeler in Class 9 for pretty much the same reasons. And from Class 10 I used to drive the bike to school with my sister riding pillion. It was a Kinetic Pride, and trust me, you are lucky you didn’t buy it. That bloody vehicle was nothing but a curse for those 3-4 years of my life. It would randomly break down atleast twice a week on average, making me and my sister experts in pushing it around. Oh, and when I had my first accident, I basically wore full sleeves and jeans (through the scorching summer) till the scars reduced, so my parents wouldn’t stop me from driving!!! Were all teenage girls in the late 90’s/early 2000’s in the same mould?

    All the best with your driving lessons! I went for lessons but never drove afterwards and now it’s become a massive mental block in my head 😦 Hope you’re better than me at this.

    1. Oh God that pushing around! And looks like we were actually all the same back then 😀
      I am hoping the same about the lessons too. I need to put it to use and take the car to work to actually be able to keep this going!

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