Though driving is a soulful activity for some, it involves a hazards, practice, experience, assistance, concentration, yet is full of pulsating pleasure, especially if you are sitting in a Mercedes E class powered by a vertical 8 cylinder engine that is capable of producing a massive 500 horsepower. Yet with the power of driving this “beast” comes the great responsibility of being cautious, courteous, and careful and so you need an exceptional teacher to master the same.
“How confident are you? my sponsor asked me as she parked her Mercedes on the side of the road looking at me from behind her Ray Bans. I wasn’t confident at all. I was afraid to put a dent on her car, afraid that the cars behind me will honk if I went slower than the normal speed limit, afraid that my sponsor will scream if I went over the speed limit, afraid that I might not be able to drive a car ever again and will have to go back to learning over the golf cart which was fairly easier to handle. I love to drive cars, two wheelers not so much.Order now
That being said, I had driven a car only once prior to this experience on an empty road at 2 am in the morning in India. Different Rules, different cars, different sides, everything was different. As soon as I positioned myself in the driver’s seat I received a fair set of instructions on how to drive the “Beast”. The automatic transmission made things easier but I could feel the eyes of my sponsor on me. I had watched her drive many times, and I made myself comfortable in the driver’s seat like she does before starting the car.
Still not familiar with most of the key concepts of the car, or the road and to seek that “positive affirmation” that my sponsor always radiates through her omnipresent smile I look towards her and she says “ You’ll be fine, press the brake pedal and put the transmission to drive , and the car will start to move on its own. ” And so it did. I could feel the engine, its reverberation minimal yet displayed the potential to provide the thrill of a race car.
Accelerating slowly I reached the speed limit of 35 sooner than I thought, and blocking most of the noises out I concentrated on the voice of my sponsor as she guided me in aligning the “beast” in the proper way as we rode on a bumpy stretch. Approaching the first turn, I lost momentum and started to brake, and as soon as I tried to turn the car to my right it glided in a smooth turn. Next instruction was to keep the car towards the left side while driving along the curves and bends of the hills.
The scene threw me back to the days I played a racing video game with a similar backdrop, the difference being that I wasn’t a kid anymore. “It’s easier than I thought” I started, but my sponsor interrupted me, “Keep your eyes on the road. ” Alarmed, I turned back with an almost inaudible “Yes” trailing behind. I started to take my left foot of the brake and accelerated from my right foot as I entered one of the main gates when my sponsor noticed that I had both feet in use. “Are you using both your feet? ” she asked.
I replied in affirmation and she shook her head as I started to slow down thinking I made a grave mistake and could visualize the golf cart mocking me. “Aye dios mio! ” she exclaimed, in the tone that I came to realize as her expression of amazement. “You either brake or accelerate. Never both on the same time! “she laughed as she patted my thigh. “It’s still new to me and I am still not confident enough to trust one foot to control the car. “I confessed meekly to which she replied with a very understanding “ok” smiling as I gained some more momentum driving up and down the curves.
We reached the entrance to our private hill when I looked questioningly towards my sponsor and even before I could utter a word she said, “Go on. ” I accelerated in the same manner as I would while driving the golf cart straight ahead over an estimated angle of 40° but then came the dreaded turn and I made the rookie mistake of braking. “No… ” my sponsor exclaimed reaching for the wheel. “Accelerate, turn and then turn to straighten the car back. Watch for the edge, that is the dangerous part. And yes it was. “The edge was not fenced and if the car happened to slip, it would roll down and hit a tree” I calculated. I did as she asked. The car engine revved as I accelerated it on the climb from a stand still. My sponsor still held on to the wheel and helped me roll the steering wheel back fast enough for the car not to slip. The exhilarating experience came to an end as I made the last turn into our driveway as my sponsor said getting off of the car, “You did pretty good !..
Just need to practice. ” with a smile as she gathered her belongings. My Sponsor is someone I look up to, just like Sherman Alexie looked up to his father in the chapter “The Joy Of Reading And Writing- Superman And Me” as Alexie said “My father loved books, and since I loved my father with an aching devotion, I decided to love books as well. ” in his writing. I respect her and her way of living mesmerized me to the extent that I adopt it in my own way of living.
The way she took a parental role over me has and will help me learn and adapt to this foreign culture just like the author learned under the supervision of an elderly maid in the chapter “What’s Your Name Girl? “by Maya Angelou, only here she is free and there is no oppression over me, but education still is the prime motive for both of us. She understands the importance of driving as it relates with the freedom to participate in so many other things around me and have the sense of freedom that only a few come across and that I learned is the ultimate reason behind driving.