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Driving Miz Desi

You know what I find really cool, really sexy? A bloke at the wheel of this powerful car. I know, I know, how much more cliched can one get. But seriously, put a bloke at the wheels of a regular 4X4 and I go weak at the knees.

It was a short distance to travel, from that to deciding I would like to be behind the wheel of a car myself. Be cool and all that. Tried my hand at it at 20 - my brother kindly pointed out that not possessing nerves of steel, I might be a bit of a dud at this driving thing. That put me off for about five years.

Last year, I decided to take another stab at it. I thought, 'hmm, the folks of this country seem quite civilised, they have rules and all, maybe it will be good to learn here'. And so it began, on one dark, wintry day. I had a vision of this demi-god with a driver's licence arriving in a cool set of wheels to teach me and was brought down to earth double quick by this old gent peering at me from the driving seat of a Corsa. Oh well!

That was how I came to be at the helm of this car one cold wintry afternoon. Slowly, I was initiated in the art of holding the steering wheel (at ten-to-two or quarter-to-three position), driving in a straight line (which wasn't exactly easy-peasy), bowling down narrow country lanes without mowing down innocent bystanders and driving in that death trap called dual carriageway.

Then there were the manoeuvres. Clutch control, slow car, fast as lightning movements resulted in the three-point turn, reverse around the corner and parallel parking. In the middle of all this, came the emergency stop. My grandpa-instructor turned devil that day and made me do such a stop on an icy road. Result? A skid, ladies and gentlemen, which I was told to steer into! Steer into a skid?! Why? When I want to move away from it?! My whole life flashed in front of my eyes for about 2 seconds, before the blessed car righted itself and ground to a grudging halt. Oh did I say this was on an uphill slope?!

Anyway, I survived that and eventually booked my driving test. Driving tests in UK are not like the ones back home, wherein you just 'do a figure of 11'(remember the movie 'Indian'?) - the dreaded test here lasts a colossal 45 mins, and short of jumping through hoops, one is made to do everything else. A week before my test, Grandpa decided I wasn't up to scratch and postponed it. A month later, he postponed it again. And again. After the fourth time, I got more than a little antsy and sacked him.

Ditching old males in favour of oldish females, I went with a diminutive bird this time. Oh, she was evil! When I told her, on the 1st of October, that I've to take my test by end-Nov, she laughed so much that I thought she would have a coronary. Well, that was the end of her!

These two geriatrics put me off driving and I went back to ogling at the hotties from the wayside. Six months later though, spurred by comments from aforementioned sibling, I decided I shall master this art or else! That was how, instructor #3 entered the picture. This one was middle-aged, typical British bloke and everything seemed to go off swimmingly.

As I had taken a sabbatical from driving for the better part of a year, my new instructor put me through my paces and I found my rthymn pretty quickly. But not before I scared about 10 years off him, another leaner driver in a Fiesta and her instructor by suddenly speeding off like the hounds of hell were after me and missing that poor L board and going off on the grass verge.

After this memorable first lesson, I behaved myself and drove rather docilely around Pilgrim's Hatch without giving its OAPs a heart failure and re-mastered reverse parking, turn in the road, reverse around the corner and other such tricks till I began to feel much like a performing flea in a circus. My banker soon started making noises as I clocked up hour after hour of lessons till one fine day I gave in and booked myself on a test.

I made lesson plans, hourly drives, test routes - you name it, I made a note of it. But implementation was where the whole thing fell apart. Furthermore, I managed to psych myself thoroughly by the eve of the test that jellies could have been taken to be rock solid compared to me that night. My helpful gran, as always, decided to petition umachi (baby talk for God) and burst a few coconuts as a bribe.

The day of the test finally dawned. By then, I was shaking like the proverbial leaf and walked into the test centre with huge 'R' and 'L' emblazoned onto the backs of my hands. After the third trip to the loo in under five minutes, my examiner finally emerged. He seemed so nice that I thought to myself, ‘there’s no way this kind-hearted gentleman is ever going to fail me’. He went ‘Hello I’m Joe, want to go for a drive?’ Well, not really but as I didn’t have much of a choice, I smiled weakly, made a croaking noise in my throat and went to my car.

First came the ‘Show Me, Tell Me’ questions normally this would make me dissolve into helpless guffaws but luckily that day, nerves made sure I didn’t crack any silly jokes and showed and told him, properly! And then I was off! Joe slowly started sprouting horns when he made me do an uphill start on a near-vertical hill. Praying to umachi that I wouldn’t stall the car, I did it whoopee! Then he made me do it again, again and yes, one more time, for luck! Then it was general driving for a bit. Umachi conveniently forgot the coconut bribe and I ended up going on the dreaded Brooke Street Roundabout.

It rapidly went downhill from there, whilst I drove around Brentwood rather like a headless chicken. At one point, I am sure the poor examiner’s life flashed in front of his eyes when I got my left and right mixed up and tried to go the wrong way! All in all, I wasn’t too surprised when he gently broke it to me that I had failed it. Oh well!

Next time, I better give a heftier bribe to couple of umachis - with 15 minor faults and 5 serious, I need all the divine assistance I can garner!

Posted by DesiGirl 6:06 pm  


  1. FJ said...
    hey u got me back in time (3 months ago) when I passed mine in the 5th attempt. I dont know whether that's motivating. :D All the best!
    DesiGirl said...
    Ha ha! Thanks fj! I need all the luck I can get!!
    Sowmya said...
    Did u finally pass it..or is it still on the to do list? Anyway I understand perfectly..I am in the same position. Went for a test..failed at parallel parking..have not found the guts to go for another test....It has been 5 years since I got my permit..hope to get it before I graduate :)

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