Okay so I am terrified of traffic and driving in traffic (for me even a cycle in front of me constitutes as traffic ! :)) . It has been 5 years since I took driving lessons and got a valid license. Although I passed an actual test – both written and practical, to get my license I have had zero practice driving in “real” traffic on “real” roads since then. So anyhow Atul had been persuading me to try my hand at driving and I would always come up with all sorts of excuses – it’s too dark, the road is too crooked, there are pedestrians on the road, it’s a weekday, I’m not mentally prepared yet etc to postpone it indefinitely..But then I suddenly thought that it is time to take the plunge.
So I don’t really know why I have this phobia towards driving. Maybe because firstly it involves like a million things to do at once..I just hate that..change gear, press clutch, take your foot off the accelerator, look at the mirror, hold the steering wheel blah blaaa..all at once! It’s just too much to take for me..And Secondly, I have some serious trust issues on the road. I always feel , even if I am just a passenger in a car, that everyone around me is a random maniac who will do crazy things with their vehicle anytime. I cannot bring myself to trust indicators or even vehicles going straight. I expect them to suddenly veer to the left or right or anywhere but straight obstructing my path. Maybe I’ve seen too many car action movies where villains are waiting to overturn your car :)..I half expect cars with the right indicator to go left and vice versa or trucks which will move sideways because the driver slept off on the steering wheel..you get the picture don’t you?
Anyways I did try driving once in Mumbai outside my apartments – straight road, absolutely no turns..no traffic..no people around and it worked just fine. I was beginning to think that things weren’t SOO bad. But then we went to Kurukshetra and Atul made me drive on a “real” road with turns and I was sweating my heart out with all the tension inspite of there being minimal traffic. And it was also there that I realised ..things were bad..and my driving pretty much sucks and seems irreparable. So anways I drove straight on the road, turned a couple of times, not very uneventfully ofcourse – almost banged into a pavement, stopped the car abruptly right in between the turn and did a right turn just to avoid manoeuvering a U-turn! Phew..Who knew turns are way more difficult than straight driving..It feels like an explosion of odd jobs to do all at once – Press Clutch..change gear ..brake.. stop for a while..look for cars..look at mirror..change gear..press accelerator..move the steering wheel..breathe..Brrr..Gives me the shivers although I’ve considered myself a multi-tasker. I really wonder how people talk while driving or hold cellphones or eat or do anything other than focussing completely on doing all those “driving” tactics. Anyhow Atul wanted me to practise a few more turns but I had had enough of practice – driving really unnerves me..My heart was already beating too fast for comfort. He cajoled and coaxed but then I put my foot down (literally! On the brake..) Stopped the car forcefully refusing to drive another inch. I was literally screaming out begging “Noo..Nooo..I can’t..Nahin..No..Please “.. Atul called me a nautanki (Drama Queen i.e!) and took the driver’s seat..Thank god!
I really don’t know when this mental block will vanish.Why can’t they just make cars with two sets of accelerators and brakes so that I have 2 less things to worry about? Or maybe an automatic car is the answer to my prayers? I don’t know but I just wish this Sooper driving Phobia miraculously vanishes…and sigh.. Atul has never asked me to try my hand at driving again!