Women are notorious for being bad behind the wheels. Is it a perception or a reality ? We say it is a perception most often created by men. Here is a story that will prove just that. A story of a woman who loves to drive, is passionate about it and was taught to drive by a man. Her father. Let’s hear it out from Ausmita Kaviraj in her own words.
I love to drive. In fact, the part of the weekdays that I like most are the 30 minutes that I spend on the road driving to and from the office. I must admit that the city traffic plays dampener every once in a while but those 30 minutes behind the wheel with a nice tune playing on the radio and the open road in front of me are equivalent to 30 minutes spent in a spa for me.
The enjoyable part aside, in a country like India, where public transport is patchy in most places except for a few metros and safety in public transport is still a matter a concern for most women, being a woman who can drive and get around on her own is a very empowering thing. But talking about my love for driving and the empowering feeling will be incomplete if I don’t speak about the person who taught and germinated this love for the wheel in me, my father. In a society where jokes about the way women drive abound, every compliment from male friends and colleagues about the way I drive, puts a smile on my face and reminds me of the time when my father would religiously pull me and take me out for driving practice. So much so that even unsolicited comments such as, “So you can drive, but you can’t cook”, have put nothing but a wide grin on my face.
My father, for whom discipline is pretty much a way of life, was very strict about following the traffic rules and etiquettes even though most drivers in India seem to follow none. Always, turn on the indicator before making a turn, let the person on the inner lane go first etc etc. Most of our driving lessons would end with him angry and I irritated but we still persisted. But once I got my driving license, he promptly put the keys in my hands displaying more faith in my driving ability than I did at that moment. I remember after I got the first scratch on the car, I was dreading an angry outburst but he just took a look at it and coolly told me, “If you take the car out on the road, things like this are bound to happen. We will take the car to the garage tomorrow and get it fixed”. That went a long way in restoring my confidence and strengthening my resolve to drive responsibly. At the same time, he never let me take the car out on my own till I was able enough to at least pay for the fuel and maintenance on my own.
Although I have been driving for years now and proudly telling anyone complimenting my driving that it was my father who taught me how to drive, my biggest triumph came a few weeks ago when on returning home from a day out, I executed a reverse parking in one single turn. My father who was sitting beside me exclaimed, “Wow! Perfect Parking! Even I would have taken a couple of turns of back and forth to park the car here”. Bliss!