I gripped the steering wheel of a rickety-over-500-people-driven Indica that the driving school had provided me with (Kimi had been begging me not to take up the classes ...he's scared you see.... He thinks I might beat Danica Patrick to an F1 seat in a few years ..He He He...and he's worried Ferrari might sign me up...Hehehe!!)
18th February 2009
I gave my driving test and passed... I can now officially drive on the Indian roads at least...No Super licence yet...But Kimi...you better watch out!! :P :P
Ok the classes shouldn't take so long to complete but this was yet another typically laid-back Hyderabadi attitude, both on the behalf of the instructor and myself. I missed too many classes in between and he didnt turn up for a few coz "its too cold in December to wake up at 6"... Heck, was he teaching me drive on a hill station??
I'd been pretty confident of driving by mid-January and I kept asking him to book my slot with another student who was supposed to go around the same time. The instructor kept postponing my slot and two weeks ago he informed me that I'll have to give the test on a Maruti 800. My turn to freak out.
Its a drastic shift from Diesel to Petrol vehicle and I wasnt too confident of driving the Maruti 800, especially after bumping Mom's car into that of our neighbours. I refrained from trying out the Maruti and kept practicing on the Indica. So when he said I'd have to drive a Maruti, I asked him to give me a little more time. He was more than happy to do so. I tried mom's car, once ALMOST crashing into the main gate. Sunday we had a long session and I drove the car for a good distance to gain some confidence. Yesterday I drove the Indica on my way back home, and my driver said in his heavy North-eastern accent :
"Ma'am, aap chalaa lega gaadi.... tenshun mat lo" (Ma'am you will drive well, dont stress).
I asked : "Main fail to nahi ho jaungi na, aise gaadi chala kar?" (Would I fail if I drive this way?)
And he said: "Nai Madam...Phel to nahi hote...aaraam se chalao" (No, You wont fail...just drive with ease)
I called up my instructor and told him I was ready to give my test today. He asked me to be at the Driving track at Nagole by 8 in the Morning. I reached by 7.30 and called up this person I was asked to contact. He came fashionably late at 8.40 and gave me my papers. I sat for a while, saw the track layout and tried to understand it. I was worried about the reverse track, which seemed very tricky.
Kept getting more and more nervous. Tried to calm myself by deep breathing techniques learnt at the ART OF LIVING class. I said, the worst that'll happen is I'll fail. No problem. Come back in 7 days and give test again. Practice more. Meanwhile Alankar called me up and wished me luck. He helped me lighten up my mood and I felt at ease.
At 10, I was asked to go and give my test. I had managed everything well. The S-Track, 8-roundabout track. Then came the H-Reverse track. Managed the first 3 parts of the reverse and forward quite well, but messed up on the last part. Not completely messed up, but I didnt take the turn as it was supposed to be taken. Got out of that section, went on the Ghat-type-road segment to the last stretch of the track and out of it. Once I parked and went to the cabin, the officer smiled and said, "You goofed up a little on the reverse, but good presence of mind". He smiled back and stamped a "PASSED" on my forms and receipt. Then he said, "Why taking so much tension, relax now. I'm not scaring you by any chance, am I?".
I had to let out something that I was refraining from telling him. I told him that 3 years ago, me and 2 other friends had come for the 2-wheeler licence and he was one of the officers taking the test that day. He had failed one of my friends for not taking one particular turn, and after I messed up the reverse, I thought he would fail me this time. He just laughed it off and said "Congratulations. Have a good day". It was a good experience this time around. People seemed much more co-operative all of a sudden. My last few experiences at RTAs have been real bad with in-charges shouting for no reason.
I called up Papa and told him that I had passed and the licence would come via courier in 2-3 days. Papa said now I have to drive more often and take the car into traffic as many times as possible. Hyderabad traffic....I have the licence....to add to your woes....grrr!! But..Yipeeee!! :)