Thursday, March 12, 2009

Me - The Driver, and He - The Instructor

Different people have different phobias and lucky people have none. God surely knows how to come up with innovative phobias and make people name them. Luckily for me, He did not have to make a big effort. Like most women (let me exclude good and efficient women drivers), I had car driving phobia. For 33 years, I kept myself away from the driver's seat and was happy to be in the back seat, carefully trying to avoid my commenting on other drivers. Its not that I don't drive, in fact I drive to my place of work using a two wheeler, but driving a four wheeler was simply not my domain, or that is what I considered.

At times, I did try to imagine as the driver and came up with a smug feeling as to whether I was driving a car or the car was driving me ! Thats something quite fascinating. I am sure that all the scientists who engineered a 'driverless' vehicle got the idea from people like me.

But to cut the sorry state short, I had to learn driving if I wanted to be more independent in a foreign country, thats what my husband told me. I was simply afraid, its like asking a child to go in the dark and switch on the lights ! I was that child trying to run away from darkness, in the process forgetting to bring in the light. How true ! So many of us try to run away from our fear or our phobias and in the process, we also miss the better side. And I for one, did not want this to happen to me. I decided to grab the bull by its horn.

And so there I was holding the horn, oops the steering wheel of the car after duly completing all the enrollment formalities. I was told of my instructor, Ram by name. I was wondering if he would be those scolding types who would do me more harm than good. There he came, a short thin man with black thin sharp mustache, I would say not more than 30 years of age. I had a sinking feeling as I had a notion that all men with mustache were strict disciplinarian.

With a short crisp clear voice, Ram Sir, as I called him, repeated all the driving instructions; that I had already learnt in my theory class. I was the first student for the day starting at 7 in the morning, with a much lesser traffic and a cool breeze. But I was perspiring sitting with the driving wheel in my hand. But off I drove, taking a turn, putting the brakes, switching gears, looking in the rear view mirror, the list is endless; for all things require coordinated effort and I was enjoying it. I was happy that I DROVE the car, as I stepped out.

The next day proved to be quite good, I was able to take a U turn, change gears and then Ram Sir commented on the improvement. Next he asked me to park the car behind another car and apply the clutch and brake. The bumbling fool I was, I hit the accelerator instead. "Excellent !" was all that my instructor commented. This made me take a resolve not to commit the mistake again.

Who would know, I would invent other bumbling areas ? The next day saw me with a stiff steering wheel, to which Ram Sir coolly said that I need to let go off the wheel and let it steady itself. This made me take a resolve not to commit the mistake again.

Hopefully, I did well on the 4th day and Ram Sir asked me to take the fourth gear. "THE FOURTH GEAR?" Oh, I was nervous as hell. "So do you think the sound has changed ?" asked Ram Sir. "Yep, it does", was my quick reply to hide my ignorance of the effect of the gear. "Well, I have a sore throat!", said Ram Sir. "Hey ! I thought you were talking of the car......... " was all that I could mutter and see Ram Sir comfortably enjoying the joke. After that, even I could not control my laughter and driving further became more fun.

The fifth day proved me as a good student, but not one without faults. I had started getting used to listening to my teacher's instructions and acting accordingly. Ram Sir mentioned before a crossing to see the road and take a good judgement. I like a fool, simply started to see in all directions ! "Hey, you need to just take a view, not enjoy the view !", said Ram Sir. 'Very clever', I thought.

Writing all these humorous incidents, made me wonder of my instructor's role; 'Isn't God doing the same?', I thought. God lets you take your decisions and lead your life, but at the same time, it is He who gives us the directions. It is under His guidance that we take the course that we have already taken, the path that we have already travelled. At times, God puts a difficult situation before us and lets us react; at times he makes us laugh by allowing us to enjoy the journey; but the most important thing to remember is that He is there for us all.

My instructor taught me many things as far as driving is concerned, but the biggest thing that I learnt was trusting myself with the knowledge that GOD is there for me. The past few months had been difficult for me and my husband due to job pressure, but the driving lessons taught us to trust God and follow His directions.
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