Friday, 14 October 2011

Learning To Drive

"I was quiet, a loner. I was one of those children where, if you put me in a room and gave me some crayons and a pencils, you wouldn't hear from me for nine straight hours. And I was always drawing racing cars and rockets and spaceships and planes, things that were very fast that would take me away."
Quote by Gary Oldman (British Actor)

My love for cars started at a very young age; where driving a car was impossible to me because I would not even reach the pedals. It fascinated me, to see this monster, which carried people in it, driving at speeds, where people just seem to disappear from your eyes in moments. I was amazed at the sounds this monster made and the smell of gas burning in it. I was in love with this monster.

Now comes the hard part, how do I tame this monster? Learning to drive was a challenge, as there were so many things I needed to know. How do I drive in a straight line? What are these gauges for? When to shift gears? And how in the hell do I reach those pedals? I started out when I was 11 years of age, of course since I was not able to reach the pedals; my uncle let me sit on his lap and drive. Driving to me was like my freedom, a power and a sense of accomplishment. At my age, driving in a straight line was no fun, so the car always moved in a zig zag motion, my uncle had to step in from time to time to make it go straight, but then, driving my way brought me happiness while it terrified everyone sitting in the car, as well as, the people driving around me or coming towards me.

Thank god I grew taller, cause by 13 years of age my legs reached those pedals and my experiments with them continued. Sometimes I managed to steal my mom's or dad's car, driving them around for hours until those lights in the dashboard lit up, warning me, I would get stuck in the middle of the road, if I don't reach home. Since I was a nice guy, I always left enough gas for my parents to reach the nearest gas station. Eventually they did find out about my jolly rides, which lead to other complications, like the skin around my leg becoming blue and black and also deafness of my ears from all the shouting. 

But I had no complains cause driving was worth all the scolding, I would get after, I was caught with the car. Once I learned how to drive a car, my next challenge was how to learn to ride a bike? For this I had to turn to my trusted buddy. He taught me to ride a bike within a few hours, he was so dedicated in teaching me to ride, that we lost our way and finally got back home through some new routes that we never knew existed. By then, I learnt to handle the bike like a pro. 

During my early days, after I learned to drive, speed was something I enjoyed. I used to drive fast and wild, not caring for anyone. The destination and the time it took for me to get there, was the important part for me. I did not care for people's safety or mine. One day, as I was driving with a cousin of mine, he advised me, that I should enjoy my driving, that a good driver keeps his passengers feeling safe and happy. 

This was a turning point in my life, from then on, I drove slow and steady, which gave me time to feel the wind blowing in my hair, to listen to soft music playing on my radio, to watch people passing by me, to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of mother earth.

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