Women just can’t drive! – Every woman must have heard this comment from her father, brother, boyfriends, neighbor uncle, and for that matter, even random men on the road – themselves driving like a bull in a china shop but still not thinking twice before making this motherhood statement.
Even I learnt driving quite late in my life, but trust you me, it wasn’t an easy one. Of some good 5 attempts of learning how to control my 4X, it was only the last one where I came out with flying colors. Reason – the last one was NOT taught by my dad! Neither my husband! But it was Yadav uncle (my loveliest), who deserves all the credit.
Yadav uncle is one of the most patient men I have ever come across. The way he talks to you, the way he addresses your silliest of the silly queries and even the way he teaches you how to drive – his conduct is par excellence. And I was his lucky student.
Every morning Yadav uncle would give me a missed call on my mobile phone to wake me up from slumber, and in his unique rhythmic voice would say…”Betaji, utho”. Pulling myself out of my cozy quilt, I would, half asleep, gear myself up for the game called ‘driving’.
Apart from his one shady habit of always asking for money, Yadav uncle was a perfect teacher. One podgy, spirited uncle, he must be in his 50s and was much acclaimed of giving driving lessons to almost all the kids in our society.
Whether it was a maddening traffic area or an open expressway, whether it was street full of cows and rickshaws or the magical yet filthy back lanes of Qutub Minar, whether it was a sunny morning or a heavily rain-filled day, Yadav uncle knew exactly how to keep his calm, rather how to help me keep my cool.
His comments while driving would make me laugh out loud or leave me speechless, and how I would control myself from pulling his cheeks or at times his hair! Few of his masterpieces that are worth mentioning…
Situation 1 – A cycle rickshaw in front of my car moving at an annoying snail pace on a one way, single lane.
Obvious reaction: I honked to give me side.
Yadav uncle’s reaction: in his typical cadenced tone – Na Betaji. Ye rickshaw wale bohot gareeb hote hain…inhe horn nahi maarte.
My reaction to that! : What in God’s name that has to do with my driving!!!
Situation 2 – Suddenly a horse from nowhere comes in front of my car. (Yes, even that happens on the roads of Delhi)
Obvious reaction: I applied sudden breaks.
Yadav uncle’s reaction: Once again singing… – Betaji, aage ghoda hai. Isse bachana hai, maarna nahi.
My reaction to that! : Really Yadav uncle! I know that too!!!
Situation 3 – I (still wondering how I managed that) bumped my car into a happily stationed car at a traffic signal.
Obvious reaction: I, shitting bricks and wanting to pass out
Yadav uncle’s reaction: Signaling me to stay in the car…carrying his chubby frame out on the road and smiling at the now furious driver… – Arre bhai, ab gaadi road pe aayegi to accident to hoga. Chalo kuch nahi hota, naraaz mat ho.
My reaction to that! : Yadav uncle, can you for God’s sake apologize and not start off with your discourse.
Situation 4 – Its pouring cats and dogs at 5 am, and today’s lesson is reversing the car in some random lanes of Maharani Bagh. I see him all restless, dancing in the car seat…acting strange. Suddenly he gets down from the car and instructs me to practice reversing the car, while he disappears somewhere in the heavy rains…
Obvious reaction: I get stuck while reversing and start abusing Yadav uncle in my head. I continue to crane my neck in all directions, just to discover him hiding behind the bush and peeing happily in the rains.
Yadav uncle’s reaction: On discovering that I’ve figured his reason for disappearance – betaji, yeh bhi to zaroori hai. Dhoop ho ya baarish, aa hi jata hai.
My reaction to that! : Yadav uncleeee!!! Stop explaining and shut up!
Despite all his weirdness, Yadav uncle continues to be my favorite. And on this day of Gurupurab, I dedicate this post to him.
PS: Though I believe I drive well, but while I drive, anyone sitting next to me always has one hand on the hand break! Still wondering why…