Maybe, I can now finally drive.

Dont get me wrong. I can drive. Theoretically speaking. I hold a valid license that allows me control of a four wheeler on any Indian road. The fact of the matter is that I dont drive. The only time I dared try to reverse our Noddy yellow Zen out of our narrow compound onto the road, I managed to smash a rear light of said Zen, the front lights of our Ikon which was parked behind the Zen, and completely managed to crumple my driving confidence which has never since recovered from the brutal blow. In a public situation. Given that the husband who was looking on, had gritted his teeth to a fine powder and the male onlookers around were rolling around on the compound tiling in various stages of choke-laughter mirth. I skulked around under the cover of dark for the next few days when I wanted to leave the house. The attempts to teach me to drive have been numerous. The Bangalore SIL, who is a damn persistent and brave driver, took up the challenge one summer vacation while she was here in Bombay. ABC, she told me, are the rudiments to driving. Accelerator, Brake and Clutch. She pointed out said pedals to me. Even marked them with stickers. Informed me about the gears. I know I replied meekly, and wondered how I would deal with a truck racing towards me at the speed of light if I forgot where the damn B of the ABC was. After a few sessions of training where we went through many back roads and lost our way endless times, she declared me a lost cause. “She knows how to drive. But she is scared of God knows what.’ What God knew was that I was terrified of generally being at the wheel. It is an immense responsibility. It would make me the designated driver everytime the husband and I went out and the husband downed one too many for the road. The husband snarled disgustedly, “She doesnt want to make the effort to drive.” He knows me so well. He knows me for 20 years now. Its easier sitting at the back of the car, enjoying the music and chatting on the phone than dodging random cyclists planted by the CIA to suddenly swerve across the road just when you decide to check your lipstick in the rear view mirror.

Now, the news tells me I can drive my car via the Iphone. German Researchers have thought this up. There is even a clip on You Tube I am told. The car can be driven without a driver. I presume this application would be ideal for some of them sturdily built German engineering type cars which curve smoothly on them German Autobahns. I can just see me driving via Iphone on Mumbai’s roads. We need to get our animals and general public off the roads to start with. And maybe the rest of the traffic.

Like James Bond the article says. I kind of like the thought of that. I like it better if they tell me they will put Daniel Craig on the seat next to me and he will drive the car for me. Or whatever. I can do the driving via the phone and be free to concentrate on making interesting er.. conversation with Mr Craig. You know. except for when a cow crosses into my Iphone application path I need to shoo it out of the way, by undignified honking and yelling, for which I am sure the developers will develop some Iphone activated honking and yelling leaving me to be soigne and composed. One is supposed to steer the car by looking at the Iphone screen. Would oncoming traffic show up on said screen? And rabid cockroach like autorickshaws whose mortal duty having being cast onto this earth as road vermin, is to terrify every new driver by overtaking from the left, and then cutting across without warning to take a right turn? Would they show on the screen. And the policeman standing in the shade of that tree just after the signal waiting to pounce on the first cars that roar off before the signal can turn green? Will he show up? Will the Iphone allow me to virtually slip a 50 buck note into his palm? While the programme developers figure that one out, I’m going to find me a car I can remote drive. Preferably of German make. The car would understand the subtext and the hidden isms of the programme better.



About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published nine books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016), psychological thriller with Missing, Presumed Dead (2018) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. In 2018, she was awarded the International Women's Day award for literary excellence by ICUNR and Ministry of Women and Children, Government of India. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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18 Responses to Maybe, I can now finally drive.

  1. Oh gosh, I can drive too-theoretically!The husband made me go to driving class twice because he didn’t trust me. The second driving instructor was a nice chap who told me I drive amazingly well but have so little confidence in myself that I will probably never really drive anywhere. He also said “Medem you look like bachelor medem” which prompted my beloved to ask if I planned to elope. The first driving instructor was the best. When we went for my driving test, I did all that was asked of me only to have the instructor yell at me that I should have made eye contact and flirted with the RTO officer who was sitting in the car with us!Bottom line- the auto drivers of Bangalore are happy with me πŸ™‚


  2. Homecooked says:

    Oh wow…I would buy this car in a heartbeat πŸ™‚ I too know to drive but put me behind a wheel and I start sweating,my heart starts beating wildly and I think I’ll get into a major accident because I am going to get a heart attack! I dont know how I managed to get my license but I have not driven for a long time.


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Homecooked: Surely at one point we would have known to drive enough to pass the damn driving test. Whatever happened after that is a mystery…


  3. Meira says:

    Sigh! Not for me, this car. I am one of those nitpickers who would sit on the edge of the seat and comment on the driving every two seconds, until the by-now-deranged driver gets down and invites me the driver’s seat, himself running as fast as he can! I’ve even asked cab drivers if I can drive for them! Sheesh!


  4. Too scared to drive. Mortally afraid that I will kill someone or die of a heart-attack trying not to!

    And seriously…newspaper columnist, that’s your calling!


  5. Funny! Mother is the necessity of invention I suppose, so I now even get behind the wheels of the husband’s giant lorry-like car (and no one can see from the road, so technically, they do think its a remote driven thing cruising on the road). But they cannot make me LIKE it… whatever the innovation the come up with next…


  6. rekha says:

    Hi, I am being mean here, but I am so relieved to see people like me around. I am dead scared of driving, you put me behind the wheel and Goddamn! I always get the feeling as if I am not driving the car but the car is driving me.. and yes I am shit scared of an impending accident round the corner, when I am is a phobia, I am sure !!! God save me and my soul sisters around, sigh !


  7. Ron says:

    I drive because I have to, I cant rely on Bangalore autos to take me home. Actually I drive better than the Boy. But I haaaatttte driving. I would buy this car. Definitely.

    It took me a while to get to this confident driver stage. When I was still learning, I remember this gigantic cow meandered onto the road in front me. And I was horrorstruck and totally flustered and completely lost my head. I forgot about the existence of a little something called the horn and leaned out of the window and said SHOO SHOO to the cow. Pedestrians and my driver sitting next to me were muchly amused. Siigh.

    I did that. Yelled hato, hato to a cow, and Ruko ruko to an auto.


  8. hehe πŸ™‚ you never stop with your fun posts do you.. kids ask you for driving lessons by any chance πŸ˜‰ ?

    Of course not. I never get behind any wheel. Most of the times cant fit behind it.


  9. Pallavi says:

    And I would be the one honking from the car behind you, muttering (or sometimes yelling) something about stupid “aunties” and how they should never be allowed at the wheel.
    I drive very well. A couple of expert uncles (really, my mama and my hubby’s mama who are used to cross country driving), quite a few colleagues, and friends can vouch for that!
    Your SIL is too patient, I must say πŸ˜‰

    Show off, show off…


  10. Pallavi says:

    [Notices the brickbat coming at her and ducks… I mean, zooms off in her car, overtaking the darn rickshaw-wallas from the left]

    No brickbats. Just me turning an ugly unbecoming shade of green.


  11. soulmate says:

    I was in the same boat till a few months back.. Half brake, half clutch, 1st gear or second gear.. I could never understand them even to save my life. I used to start sweating, the moment I was on the wheels. One fine day I realized that I am so so so dependent on others even if i have to go to the nearby market. No driving lessons from the driving school anymore. Once was enough. Called a driver who used to sit next to me in our car and take me around. He never drove, no matter what excuse I gave him to escape driving. Took me just a couple of months, with only weekend practice..
    Go ahead lady.. you can drive.. you know the ‘ABC’ and thats enough.. You will love the freedom thereafter.

    You give me courage, but I am such a coward….


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