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I am still learning …...

 

Many ask me if I disliked my job that I left it. I smile 😊. And then they conclude its more important to spend time with kids. I agree and I smile 😊I have always loved my job. It has for sure contributed in a lot of ways to be the person I am today; and helped me know some of the best people I have known; and learn invaluable life lessons. However, sometimes life throws lemons that you were not ready to catch up with. By the time you learn, the lemon would have played its role, while you could have used it in a better way if you controlled it. Well! getting back to paid job is out of question for some time for its own reasons involved. Not willing to discuss things that are not completely in my control, I smile when people make their assumptions. It took time for me to figure out that when plan A fails, there are 25 alphabets left to make other plans. 😊 That’s a part of learning.

 

It was during my 2nd maternity leave; I learnt car driving. I had promised myself then that I would indulge into learning(read as doing) something new every year. It’s been 8 years and I am still learning. Right from car driving to cycling, from mediation to swimming, from oil painting to digital painting, from gardening to cooking, from destination-less walks to trekking, from singing to dancing, from blogging to website designing I have tried my hands and legs on many things. :D Many of them have somehow been woven into my day-to-day life. And I am in love with most of them.

 

At times, when I started, I have had dilemma and questioned, is it really worth indulging into something new. There is a kannada saying  ಕಲಿಯೋ ತನಕ ಬ್ರಹ್ಮ ವಿದ್ಯೆ, ಕಲಿತ ಮೇಲೆ ಕೋತಿ ವಿದ್ಯೆ (meaning Until you learn, its Divine knowledge; once you have learnt its monkey’s knowledge.) To put it in short, we fear new things because there is uncertainty involved. And uncertainty is involved due to lack of knowledge. Fear ceases when we are open to learn and learning becomes a fun process.

 

Learning never goes a waste. We never know how it comes to our rescue at tough times. As promised in earlier blog, here is my car-learning story. A story of anger converting into my most cherished skill – driving! Most cherished because, it helped me drive my father in a condition that I least expected, from Udupi to Bangalore to be with us. 2020, November - the scariest yet the best drive of my life.  It would be unfair, if I don’t credit my car learning inspiration to my husband. :D It’s my expectation that he would help me learn it and the disappointment-turned-into-anger that led to inspiration. 😊 Thanks to him for the inspiration and gratitude to God, who has gifted me the ability to transform a certain happening to my benefits. Here we go …….

 

2006, it was just few days since I was married. And I had taken up the task of learning car driving from my husband whom I had not known very well. I was on the driver’s seat for the first time. He had no control on the clutch or accelerator; unlike the driving school cars, where the person training, has complete control. He gave verbal guidelines and I followed studiously. It was going all good. Suddenly a bike crossed right in front of us; moving from left to right of our car, parking it a few meters ahead of us. My husband anticipated a hit between the car and bike and with his never-failing impatience in city traffic, screamed ‘apply breaks’. I was completely taken aback, more so because of his sudden screaming that I pressed the accelerator instead of breaks and turned the starring right. The car  kissed the safe guard of the parked bike. My husband was sensible enough to pull the hand breaks; while I wished he showed the same sense by not suddenly screaming while I drove. We got down to check on stuffs. The bike guy raised his eyebrows and immediately softened as he realized it was a lady-driving (read as lady-learning to drive) and there were no damages to his bike. I kept giving the bike guy sorry cut figures while my husband continued shouting at me for that one scratch on his car. Looking at him shout, the guy assured ‘its-ok, it’s ok, nothing has happened.” Post that we drove home. Of course, he did not let me drive back. :D

 

After that incident, he declared he would not teach, for he had no control on the break and clutch. I knew he neither had patience :D. Few months after that, I joined the driving school and got my driving license. Cars being my husbands almost first wife, he doesn’t let them be handled by any unless it’s an inevitable obligation. Can you believe! even to this day, he does not let me drive his car :D So I never got to drive after getting my driving license. Several years went by and then I purchased my first, second hand maruthi 800. A certified license holder, but not qualified to drive in the Bangalore traffic. Certification and qualification are 2 different things. While the world approves of certification, I approve of qualification. I would only drive on straight roads during off peak hours and always in second gear. Today I laugh it out ha ha ha!

 

I drove to office a couple of times, but during non-traffic hours. That certainly gave a boost in confidence. I decided to try during peak hours and started at 6:30 pm one day. Second-gear, L-board, woman-driving, you can imagine the reactions of always-in-a-rush-to-something traffic of Bangalore. PAM – PAM – PAM honking is enough to squeeze that confidence out of you and put you under pressure to catch up with the traffic phase. If you don’t bother to, you get to listen to shouts of some irritated, not-so-happy-people overtaking you. Never the less, I had made that move, and had to somehow take the car safely home in the city traffic.

 

I was confident about my safety, because I knew I would be in one piece, for Bangalore-CITY-traffic can never result in accidents that can be deadly if you are in a four-wheeler. However, I would never forget that drive in the traffic. Vehicles almost kissing each other; I realized how bad my control on the clutch, break and accelerator was. Adding to that, there was some problem with the gear box which put the car on halt in some particular condition which I was unaware of then.  It almost dipped my confidence. Driving in Bangalore traffic during peak hours is a thing! There were no accidents, no scratches or no major scolding, but I knew there was a deep dent on my confidence to drive in the Bangalore traffic. That was last. Every time I thought of taking my car out, I would think of what-if, I face that traffic again. I never dared to drive the car post that; though I had managed to complete that peak-hour drive. :D

 

Years went by. Husband maintained my second-hand car very well. Cars are kids to him. :D I was happy using bus and/or auto rickshaws to commute. Ola and Uber came much later. I almost forgot to drive. 2012, I was on my second maternity leave. I had a lot of things to bounce back on. The first one I took up was driving. I knew, driving school would not help. I also knew husband would not help, for I knew him by then. 😊 Yet asked him if he would just support by sitting next to me while I drove in the traffic. As expected, he said ‘no’ and asked me to join driving school again. With so many things happening within and outside me, there was so much anger in me that I just took the car keys and decided to drive all by myself. The moment I started the car, it jerked making me realize that I had completely lost touch of driving. I turned off the car, sat there for some time and cooled down. Since we stayed in apartment, there were other cars parked on either side of my car. On the front was the wall. Something struck me. I started the car, took it back, halted at a particular point, without switching off the car. Then I took the car front and halted half feet before the wall without switching off. To and fro; to and fro; I did that almost for 15-20 mins. Every afternoon I would go back to the parking slot and repeated the to-and-fro exercise for next 10 days.

 

It was Saturday. I had dropped by elder daughter who was 5 years then to dance class by auto-rickshaw. It was around 3 kms from home. Her class dispersal time was 6pm. Being Saturday, everyone was home. I took the car keys without anyone’s knowledge; and left home to pick her back. I knew I had a good control of the clutch and break. I still had fear. More than the traffic, the traffic sense of people scared me. But I was determined. I drove to her class; picked her up; drove back home. When I stepped out of the car with her and stepped into the house, I was confident. My daughter celebrated her car drive, for it was her mother who was in the driving seat. I could see excitement in her. 😊 People at home were like – ‘ did you drive alone?’. And I had that big smile within.

 

Next day I took the car in the narrow lanes of Gauripaalya. A lane very well known for jams. One would not know from where or when the 2-wheeler would bump-in. I successfully drove through that lane from one end to the other with ease. And every day for the whole of next week.


It was November 2012. I was getting back to work after a 6 months maternity break. First day to office, sharp 9, the peak hour, I took out the car and drove straight to office without an iota of fear. That happiness, is beyond my ability to be captured in words. To compliment that was my manager who told me ‘You are a gutsy’; for he was learning to drive, and he knew what it meant to drive in Bangalore traffic. I smiled. I thought, ‘I don’t know if I am a gutsy, for I have had my share of fears. But I for sure know I am a student for life, and would never stop learning. Learning from every person and situation thrown at me!’

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