Only 3 kinds of people in this world truly value time-
(a) Runner-up athletes. (Refer Bhaag Milkha Bhaag to get a complete picture)
(b) Youtube users without the Skip Ad button. ( THE WHOLE 20 SECOND AD?!! BLOODY #@$%# )
(c) Drivers stuck at a red signal. Or a level crossing. Or traffic jam. Intersections. Speed breakers. Road, etc.
And talking of #@$%#, I joined a driving school this summer, where my car-driving instructor was, well let's call him- Mr. K.,(a) for privacy, security and legal reasons,
(b) because it sounds cooler than his real name,
(c) his real name actually starts with a 'K';
and Mr. K. started the first day with a question way too personal.
Mr. K. : Do you know the ABC of driving?
Me : Hahaha! Nope. I don't know jack about driving. Except if you count riding tricycle when I was 3 as driving. Also, I haven't ever driven a bike, a scooter or a scooty. Hell, I don't even know cycling. In other words, all my ideas and opinions about vehicles and driving are solely based on...er...Transformers: Cybertron.
Mr. K. : No, no. I only meant Accelerator, Brake and Clutch. And you said you don't even know WHAT?!
And thus began this 18 day adventure, that taught me that a group of potholes is called a road.
The first days were very difficult, obviously, but Mr. K. being a very courteous man, always managed to withhold his anger within himself, turning red with rage while staying polite, whenever I failed at changing gears and made inappropriate turns. But he had figured out a clever way for directing his anger towards me.
Me : (after making a sharp turn in the 4th gear) I swear, that felt like the 2nd gear! Shit.
Mr. K. :Yeah, you had almost rammed us into the tree, but don't worry. These things always happen when you're in the learning stage; like, when I was learning to drive my uncle's truck and did such ridiculous mistakes, my uncle who sat beside me used to shout, "Stop driving like a <insert a filthy part of a suitable reproductive organ>" and I took more care next time. And then when I made another such negligent error, he used to say, "I bet my <insert another part of the chosen organ> can drive better than this!" and I'd become more alert. But when I dared to make the same blunder again, he used to scream-
Me : Alright! I get it! You drove like a <insert the whole organ>
Needless to say, I was heartbroken and crestfallen after the first week; with me being as good at driving as an alcoholic at tight-rope walking. And I tried to extract some feeling of sympathy from my parents. But when they saw me looking so glum, for having failed to learn at the school, while pissing off the instructor, making a complete waste of my time and their money; all they could feel was a terrible deja vu.
Me : I don't know why, but that gear changing thing is taking too long to learn.
Dad : Well, obviously. The only thing you've ever changed in your life is a TV channel. And it takes much time to master for everyone. So don't think you're special or something.
I made another attempt.
Me : I don't know why mom, but the gear shifting thing is too confusing.
Mom: And I don't know what you're so confused about! It's really simple. You first put the car in the 1st gear, then as the speed increases you pull the gear down to 2nd, then go up and right and up and 3rd, then straight down to 4th, then 5th and then comes Reverse, which you pull to go in...well... reverse! Got it?
Me : Holy freaking eureka! Finally it all makes sense!
And that's why you never take driving advice from women.
My usual driving stretch was a 10 km ride by the countryside, which may sound rustically romantic but was actually much trouble, because of the three prime obstacles a car driver has to face when driving by/through a village :-
(a) Children : When I say children, I mean-The 1 to 6 year olds, who playfully run across the road, hither and tither, while their mothers gleefully stand at a corner priding themselves up at the agility and fitness of their kids.
The 7 to 14 year olds who have a tendency to gather around cars whether it's moving or stationery and give deep killer stares through the windows, making you feel ashamed and guilty for no reason.
The 15 to 19 year olds who have now grown up enough to have a love story each, which they duly inscribe on the car in the least time possible, in the form of something like, "Munna <3 Neelu", leaving permanent scratches. Because what good is your love if you can't engrave it somewhere for coming generations to see?
(b) Buffaloes : All types of cattle are dangerous, no doubt, but the ones that are the most difficult to deal with are Buffaloes. Because--> Buffaloes just don't give a shit, the idiomatic one I mean. Because they might as well pave the whole road with the literal one standing right in front of your car, while not giving an ounce of the idiomatic one.
-> Buffaloes are stoned as shit, like, all the time. Munching on grass and weed, they blankly stare into oblivion and contemplate on the origin of the universe and complexities of life. And your valueless time, worthless car and transient existence don't matter to them in the bigger picture.
(c) Old men : As in the case of buffaloes, slow reflexes and high response time, are the prime culprits here too, making it highly difficult to abstain from hitting them; except when you hit an aged buffalo, the younger buffaloes won't surround your car and frantically growl at you from all sides, demanding money. Because unlike humans, whose noses are always busy poking into others' affairs, buffaloes just don't give a...
Well, it surely took some time, but I drive somewhat well now (under the guidance of dad in the front seat who tells me when to change the gear and mom in the backseat who tells me to when to slow down from the super-speedy 40km/h to the safely-steady 20km/h) and will soon be able to perform professional manoeuvres, like--> Changing Raja Hindustani tracks on the tape while trying not to run over anyone.
-> Partially opening the door to spit gutkha while trying not to crack my head against the incoming traffic.
But the most important lesson I learned in these 18 days was- when on road, there's no point of acting all alpha. Because contrary to popular opinion, overtaking never implies taking over.
So please, stop being a hurrying-honking pseudo-punctual prick and drive safely. And when in doubt, always follow the age-old adage that the truck drivers have instilled deep into our minds, which without any specific target or context, goes as follows-
Buri nazar wale tera muh kala*
*No racism intended.**