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.