All on my own! :)

It was on 3 November 2012 that I passed my driving test and was branded a legal driver! A month later, I got the DL as well. And then, just twice I got behind the wheel, the husband in tow — once with the dear friend, Queen of Subtlety; once just good self. The first time, husband said he is at peace when she is driving, but I give him the jitters. After the second time, he refused to sit with me anymore. Apparently, he just could not muster the courage to sit with me 😦 He said I was free to take the car out by myself and go (like I needed his permission for that, pffft!). I joked that I would do just that and if I hit someone, I would give him a call. He said “Don’t call me!” Bah!

And that was when my confidence and hopes of driving the car my myself found their way slowly into the drains of Koramangala! Many months passed. I continued taking the bus and the auto, when not riding pillion or sitting on the left front seat. Every time I opened the wallet, I would see my DL. I’d think of how my mom also has an over 30-year old DL sweetly sitting in her wallet. began considering getting mine framed and hanging it on the wall!

And then, I moved house. Husband left the country to pursue studies. I was on my own. With two little kids 🙂 And THAT is when it began hitting me. I felt handicapped. Everything was becoming difficult. And it freaked me out that if something were to suddenly happen to Pumbaa or Khloe, there was no guarantee that I’d be able to get them help as quickly as they may need it. I’d have to depend on autos and in this country, no one cares for animals and their lives 🙂 Several people promised to come sit with me and help me practice. But no one ever found the time. And truth be told, I myself wasn’t confident.

Every morning, I’d get ready for work, leave the building, cross the road and wait for an auto — and I’d look straight and see my car in the parking lot. The frustration then, aaarrghh! Once every 2-3 days, I’d start the car, move it a bit, reverse it back into position and go back home. Just so the engine doesn’t forget it has the capability to come to life and move! As each day passed, I was itching more and more to just take the car and drive off.

On April 12, Saturday, the dearest friend finally took pity on me and accompanied me on a driving practice session. When I said I have not driven in a year and 4 months, I could see the 😮 in the eyes and a “GULP” go down the throat 😀 We went on to NICE Road, from where I took the car and drove to Electronic City. We were hitting Bommanahalli and I was warned it could be bad. I expected mad traffic and madder people crossing the roads like it’s their courtyard. What I did NOT expect was to get bang in the middle of a MAJOR traffic jam 😀 Well, one had to get out of it, and I did. And then I drove all the way back to J.P Nagar, took the car into the apartment complex and parked it. Exhilaration like HOW!

Of course, I wasn’t perfect. My sense of judgement of the width of the vehicle…especially on the left side was not too great, and I had trouble stopping the vehicle from rolling back on a slope and not realizing/reacting quickly enough to hit the brakes. But I had a strange sense of calm, of not getting worked up and scared and unsure on the road. That surprised me! I expected to get unnerved and go blink blink in the middle of the road. I was extremely worried that my friend would be hanging on to dear life and being immensely uncomfortable — but apparently, that was not the case either. Hmmm, not bad, I thought. For someone getting behind the wheel after nearly a year and half, I did a decent job. We planned to practice the next day too, so I could address me ‘areas of improvement’ and start driving to work from Monday.

Plans are also meant to be broken. Practice session wasn’t happening. But I was not willing to lose that tempo and all that confidence again.

On Sunday, I woke up, made up my mind, took the car and drove off! Just me and the car. I started off from J.P. Nagar 7th Phase and went all the way to Koramangala — through the crazy main roads and via Silk Board (if you know Bangalore, you’d know how crazy Silk Board can get) — and came back home. No casualties, no scratches, no traffic holdups, no getting yelled at, absolutely no glitches.

And all the while, I could NOT believe I was driving on real roads (read scary Bangalore roads) all by myself. With no one to depend on. No one to support me if I were to get into a mess. And every once a while, I’d have a smile on my face and loudly go “YAY, I’m driving!” I got a few odd looks from people on the road — but what the hell. I was too happy to not go YAY.

I was BEAMING as I walked back home. Reached home, thanked my friend profusely for sparing those few hours the previous day (darling, you have NO IDEA how grateful I am to you, eternally so!), and then called my parents to tell them. Hehe. They were shocked. My mom of course did not believe I did something like that. My dad was thrilled and super proud of me. My brother was thrilled too. I was, of course, on Cloud 29 😀  Late evening, i again took the car out, to experience “night driving.” Starting Monday, I began driving to work. Yay.


I also took Pumbaa and Khloe in the car, ALL BY MYSELF, to a pet stay before going on a team trip the past weekend. All you people who told me it is ‘difficult, dangerous and impossible to drive with two dogs by yourself’ — ha! You all told me “someday when you have to do it, you’ll know what we mean” — I did it, as a mere 6-day old driver, and I STILL do NOT see what you ever meant. Always know that if you throw a challenge at me, it’ll be taken (even if a little late)! 😛

I am at peace now. I can drive.

Licensed to kill


It’s been over two-and-a-half years since I resolved to learn driving. I wrote here how I joined driving classes and had managed to attend almost every class. but well, I had to quit. Well, in my defense, the man who used to come to teach NEVER brushed his teeth! That my classes were early morning, about 6.30 – 7.00, did not help AT ALL. For all I know, he might have been coming right from bed with that stinking mouth of his. Ugh. I shudder to even think of it. I used to attend every class till he began teaching me how to reverse! Moron that he was, he just would not let me use the rear-view mirror. He said I’d to turn around and look back through the rear windshield. And, the very moment I’d look back, he’d also look back! His face then would be inches away from mine, and it’d hit me like a whiplash! The mouth odour, I mean. It was killer. That was the day I quit! Not to mention that he was sleazy and tried to use every opportunity to ‘touch and teach’. *&^$%^&*(*&^%

So well, that was a nightmare. I went back to my philosophy about how I did not need to learn driving, because I always had/have my drivers — dad, brother, brother’s friends and Suraj. At all other times, I have bus and auto drivers 😀 Life moved on. Till I met The Queen of Subtlety (TQS). She was dying to learn driving, and when she told me about it, I randomly commented on how I should also learn, but it has always  been a jinxed effort. That was it. She convinced me to join with her, yelled at me for missing some classes and pushed me to continue even when I was fed up with the folks at the school and wanted to give up.

The two of us joined Maruti Driving School (MDS). We both signed up for evening classes (4.30 – 5.30), since the place was close to office, and we could easily reach. After my first 3-4 classes, I got into a project that had recurring meetings every day at that precise time! I missed some 7-8 classes in a row. According to their system, if per the initial schedule your classes get over on a specific date and if you cross that date for whatever reason, you need to reschedule (and write them an apology letter!). So I wrote apology letter, begged and pleaded to be given a new set of dates. The new set of dates arrived. TQS looked at the dates and timings and randomly commented “All your classes are in the evening”. I was sooo dying with work, I did not even bother to check the date and time to see if she was right. I just took her word for it 😀 Turned out, I had only one class in the evening. All others were in the morning! And it was not on every other day, like the previous time. So on days I could not make it in the morning, and called to say I would not be able to make it, it would turn out I had no class scheduled that day! Long story short, I missed a lot of classes again! That is when I heard from my manager (who had also been a student there once up on a time) that MDS reschedules only once, and after 2 attempts, if you are not regular, they blacklist you. I freaked out. Two years ago, I’d paid Rs 4000 to a man who did not even brush his teeth. I’d now paid MDS Rs 6000. I could not waste money on this anymore! But how was I to explain all the goof-ups?

That is when I made TQS tell the folks at MDS that I was sent out of India on official duty 😀
“But why can’t she call and let us know!?”
“She’s in Singapore, you see. On official duty.”
“So? Can’t she call? If she can tell you, can’t she tell us?”
“Well, you see, she is on international roaming, and did not think it was thaaaat important to call from there.”
“Hmmmm. Ok. Tell her we will send a revised schedule.”

So well, I got another revised schedule, and this time I was a good child. I attended every single class, and finally got it over with. Or so I thought. Well, the RTO was waiting.

On Oct 20, Saturday, I went to MDS to get my paperwork done and head over to the RTO for the driving license (DL) test. But the previous day’s dinner had poisoned me, and I was real weak. So I decided to go the following week. On Oct 27, Saturday, I went to MDS to get my paperwork done and head over to the RTO for the DL test. And guess what? Since the previous day was Bakrid, RTO was closed that day. So well, left with no choice, I decided to go the next Saturday. I did not despair. I’m a staunch believer in the Malayalam saying “Onnu pizhachaal moonnu” which translates to mean that if your trial fails the first time, it will work ONLY the third time. This one is ALWAYS true in my case. See how I had to get three schedules for my classes? 😀

So, on November 3, Saturday, I went to MDS to get my paperwork done and head over to the RTO for the DL test. No poisons, no holidays, no glitches. After finishing paperwork and simulator test in 15 mins, I headed over to the place I was asked to wait at, for the Inspector who would give us the test. I waited under that tree for 5 hours. Whether I pass the driving test or not, I sure passed the patience test 🙂 I did not walk away! 😀 The inspector came then, took the test, finished it off in 5 minutes, and that was it! 🙂 That evening, I called MDS, and was told I was licensed to kill 😉 The weapon however, would take a month to reach me. Today, it came. A driving license bearing MY name on it.

Moment of joy. Sense of accomplishment. Happiness. Yay! 🙂:)

Dear Queen of Subtlety, I’m deeply indebted to you for making me see this through till the end 🙂 If it weren’t for your incessant yelling and prodding and motivation and encouragement, I would most likely have given up 🙂 Thank You for bringing me some much-wanted joy! 🙂 I owe you a big one 🙂 And every time I’m behind the wheel, every time I open my wallet and see the “D.L. SMART CARD”, I will remember you 🙂

Somethings 1 to 5 ;)

I’ve had a 9-day-long vacation a week back…and it made me realise a few things.

  • Vacations are life’s necessities
  • They’re good for relationship building
  • They’re good for your health (bad for the fat-hungry cells)
  • They’re such super stress busters
  • They’re addictive in a good way (makes you want to do it over and over again; makes your life better and healthier ;))
  • They’re other uncountable positives 🙂

Anyways, I hit office on Monday morning (after reaching home weary and tired on late Sunday night) and realised that I will NOT get back into the rut of a monotonous life of home-work-home. Bah! [Well, at least not for a while; I say this because it looks like I’ll soon get into an even worse lifestyle :D] I’ll do something about it.


Something No. 1
I joined for driving classes.

All through the three days at Poovar, the dad-in-law has been motivating us to buy a new car (he even offered to give us some monetary help. Yey! Shameless, I know!). So, in a moment of extreme enthusiasm, I called up a driving school the very Monday that we were back in B’lore. The guy came over on the following Saturday, made me fill a form, took the money and said the class will start on Sunday. I nodded my head so much that I was sure it’d pop off my neck. Woohoo! I never knew I had so much driving spirit in me 😀

He told us it’ll take 16 days if it were half-hour daily lessons; or 8 days if it were one-hour lessons. Of course, I opted for one-hour lessons.

Now, I’m OK about learning, and actually driving a 4-wheeler. It’s impossible to fall from one 😀 But a 2-wheeler is a different issue. He made me test my wheel balance, and I lost my enthusiasm (and all my dignity 😀 I could barely move the Activa without swaying like a coconut on the wall!). I immediately told the husband I’ll learn only the 4-wheeler. He pretended not to hear.

After much whining, he told me to imagine how nice it’d be to swish about in a brand new Activa, with a chic helmet and everything.
I closed my eyes; I imagined: and it was super cool! Wow. I was driving damn well and I was the envy of every girl walking by. The dignity meter hit ‘Max’. Then I opened my eyes, and went back to whining. “I don’t want to learn 2-wheeler driving. Let me just stick with the car…pls pls pretty please, with cherry on top”. He pretended not to hear.

On Sunday, the very first day of class, I bunked. 😀

Oh please. Who’ll wake up at 6.45 a.m. on a Sunday morning!? I texted him saying I had fever and that I’d attend from Monday. He called back, grumbled and said OK. Psst psst: the real reason is not that I didn’t want lose my sleep. The 2-wheeler thingy had drained me off all my enthusiasm…and I wanted to delay it the max possible 😀

Well, I’ve been regular since, and I must admit, it gives me a high to be able to steer a mechanical thing and make it go the way I want it too. Yippee. Wait a minute! I never tried imagining me swishing by in the car!

Wow! It’s super cool! I am driving brilliantly and I am the envy of every girl walking by. The dignity meter is trying to cross ‘Max’.  [Even when the eyes are open ;)]


Something No. 2
The swimming pool at the resort, like I mentioned here, made me resolve to learn swimming. I’m proud to say I’ve stuck to the resolve. This weekend, the husband and I decided to register for a swimming camp 🙂 Yey! I decided it’s got the “two birds with one stone” benefit. Nah…actually, three birds 😀
1.    I get to be in water!! (the best of it all)
2.    I learn swimming, an important thing in life 😀
3.    I get to tone myself down (it’s the best exercise, without doubt)
Well, the rate chart at the National Games Village Club, Bangalore, said the pool’s open for use for both members and guests. The registration fee for members was Rs 500, while guests had to pay Rs 1625. Hmmm.

Interesting! Which means if there’s a membership, the daily-use fee would also be much lower. “Oooh, let’s get a membership, pls pls pretty please, with cherry on top”, I told the husband. When we enquired about the membership, they said it’s a life-time thingy for a couple, including dependents (parents and kids). Hmmm.

Doubly interesting!! So, we can all come and have a family swim party 😀 The dad-in-law would be extremely happy! We asked about the rate, and the guy coolly said it was ONLY Rs 2.5 lakhs. Hmmm.

Not so interesting, suddenly. 😀 😀 Anyways, we were supposed to go today and make the payment and get registered and everything! Classes were to start either tomorrow or the day after. But when we went there today, the ******* people there said they’ve decided not to conduct classes, after all. Sickos. I’m in despair now 😦 I reeely want to learn! So, we went straight to Koramangala Club and enquired. Apparently, the classes began last Monday. And NO new batches starting. Come next summer, it seems. Grrrrrrrr. I’m big time pissed!!! 😦  Singing “Desperado” now 😥


Something No. 3
Bangalore is no longer the weather capital of India 😀 It’s been bloody hot this summer. But thankfully, the rains have set in (hope they stay for a loooong time ;)) Anyway, the heat’s been unbearable, esp on the top floor. So, have decided to start some small-scale farming on the terrace. The mother and father have re-located to Bangalore, and she is super excited about farming. So, yea. It’ll reduce the heat flowing down into the room from the terrace…and it’ll give us some free veggies 😉

But well, to go up there and water them every day. To go up there and do ‘gardening’. To go up there and pluck whatever’s grown (if they do, at all).  Mmm. Have to sub-contract it to the husband 😉 😉 Have already complemented the dad multiple times, saying anything he plants just grows and flourishes! 😀

There! It’s halfway through already, then. I’ll probably do my bit by buying the seeds for them 😀


Something No. 4
Dying to resume training in Carnatic Music. My beginning was while I lived in Guruvayur (1992-94), but the classes were on Sat/Sun, right during the DD2 cartoon hours: and she taught us just sa ri ga ma pa dha ni sa for 5 whole months. I quit!

Had a raging hatred for it for a number of years to come.

Was taken to Perumbavoor Ravindranath Master while in 5th Grade. Learnt for 2 years and almost reached varnams. Lost interest when he began stretching one for weeks, till every kid got it right. I quit!

Was taken to M.G. Radhakrishnan (a close friend of Dad’s) while in 7th Grade. He made me sing a few sangathis and all…and said I  had a lovely voice, superb control over it…and a great future in the music industry :D. Joined class again…but they started right from sa ri ga ma pa dha ni sa again. I quit!

A master used to come home to teach, while in Grade 11. But he always came in the late evening, just when I would begin yawning. Began on keerthanams. But shifted residence in a year…and he quit! 🙄

Finally, became truly interested in learning when I completed graduation. But parents were in the once-a-cat-in-hot-milk-always-a-cat-in-hot-milk mode 😀 They said I could learn music when I learn the value of a god-given gift and of money (paid as fee to these ppl!).

By the time I really learnt them, had relocated to Karnataka. Was thrilled. In the land of Carnatic music. But so far, haven’t located one single person who can coach me individually (or along with a max of 3-4 others).  I do not want to start from sa ri ga ma pa dha ni sa again! Any suggestions, anyone!?

Dying to learn. I’m losing my voice and the control over it, already. Too long a gap from music lessons! 😦


Something No. 5
Planning the next trip already. Don’t know where to or when, but definitely planning the finances and the leave 😀 Yey!


Now, isn’t this a good-enough beginning on NOT get back into the rut of a monotonous life? 😉

P.S.: Bangaloreans…I’m dying to learn swimming and Carnatic Music. Any suggestions?

P.S. of P.S.: Koramanagala Club and the National Games Village Club: both suck! Grrrrr!