When I first went to learn driving, it was during school and the vehicle was a Jeep. Not a Jeep Jeep, but a Mahindra Jeep. The guy was paid and he took me along when he was doing his daily work as a transport person. It was hard, and as I never liked getting shouted at and the fact that there were about 6 people learning driving inside that Jeep, I call it quits. Then and now, I hate crowds.
Then after college, doing some freelance projects, a big one came and I was hell bent on getting a bike. Learned riding with my cousin, took learners licence and it went on. Had a few majestic falls and finally one day I realised that the project I was expecting quite a lot from was a fools errand. The guy I trusted was taking me for a ride. ( Did this twice in my career as a freelancer, that too on two big ass projects )
The dream of getting a bike was shattered, I was pissed. That made me lose my interest in learning to drive anything at all and the Learner’s License lapsed. Then it went on, and on. Always happy being the passenger. Then after marriage came the next push to learn driving. Again, took the Learner’s Licence, and again for a shouting lady as an instructor. Mostly pissed off after every lesson, I lost the driving test too. Didn’t feel like doing it again. A main driving factor was also the fact that doing my startup shenanigans, there was no way I could afford buying a car as well.
Then the shift to Bangalore happened, the steady job was a great incentive to put down for a car. We decided to get a VW Polo and at the shop switched to buying a VW Polo GT. When we got the car, I was still doing my driving lessons. This was Jan 22, 2016.
Getting a license in Bangalore is a cakewalk compared to the hoops you need to go through in Kerala. I got my license two months later, on 15th of March, 2016.
Before all this, while I was hell bent on proving to myself that I an differentially abled when it comes to driving, I used to think what I would do if I were driving the vehicle that I was on. Half the time I realised that I could not identify the turns and would have gone off the road just like that. After cycling through heavy traffic, I used to believe that cycle is more in my control than a car can ever be. Because a slight pressure on the accelerator and I will be gracing someone’s boot with my hood.
After starting to drive, I don’t even know why I used to have these worries. Preethi, again, was right. I was thinking from the perspective of a non driver imagining how a driving experience felt like.
About an year and a half later the car is already on the third service. Inching closer to the 45,000 kilometre mark and the Road trips we did, were close to unbelievable considering where I was just an year or so ago.
Me and Preethi have driven twice to Goa, and quite a lot to Kerala. Another ride had me going to Bangalore – Cochin – Pondicherry – Chennai – Vijayawada – Vishakhapatnam – Vijayawada – Hyderabad – Bangalore with a friend.
Then there were the trips to Jawadhu, Kolli Hills, Hyderabad, Gandikkotta etc.
A much awaited solo drive took me along Bangalore – Mumbai – Goa – Kerala – Bangalore.
To top it all off, the latest adventure had us going on an epic road trip that encompassed quite a bit of India.
Bangalore – Hyderabad – Sagar – Chandigarh – Manali – Rohtang Pass – Khoskar – Sarchu – Leh – Tirit – Nubra Valley – Diskit – Pangong Tso – Man – Tso Moriri – Leh – Chilling – Lamayuru – Kargil – Sonamarg – Srinagar – Jammu – Udhampur – Delhi – Chindwara – Bangalore.
All this on a Polo GT TSi.