Anabella Meier Singh gave up, but Aradhna Jyoti Sethi didn’t!
Okay – confession
I was depressed, low, hated the concept of driving, and didn’t see the need to get behind the steering wheel of this potentially lethal weapon called a car.
But, Anil the ever-optimist – at times to sickeningly impractical levels – God bless him, was adamant that I learn driving, you know… just incase something happened! Like what, I asked? Well, he cajoled, say someone was to be taken to the hospital.
NOW – I was sure my husband of almost three years knew me ZILCH! IF there’s anything that can make me loathe something and lose any motivation to do it, it is what psychologists lovingly call “negative reiforcement”. THAT to me is “positive demotivator”!
But that “little Aradhna” in me who never let anyone down reared her innocent head again and decided to go for it this last time. The third and final attempt. For Anil.
So gritting my teeth, I studied for the theory exam again (one theory result was valid for just a year, and I had just about completed that year a month ago). And off I went. Exam cleared. Off for practical lessons – sigh - again. This time again with Annabella, on special request. She was a kind and understanding woman. All done.
Test day arrives
The examiner was a man – three times my size, spoke only German, and was a tough cookie to handle. He looked at me disapprovingly and asked if I spoke Swiss German. Hesitatingly, I replied, “ Ich verstehe und spreche ein wenig Deutsch. Ich habe fuer ein Jahr die gelernt.” (I understand and speak a little German. I’ve studied it for a year).
He was not impressed.
A shiver ran down my spine as we started. After 10 minutes, things seemed to get better. No mistakes yet. A slightly rough break at the traffic light. I apologised, explaining that I was a touch nervous.
I expected him to tell me to head to the highway. I was mentally prepared. “Drive uphill to the next town please, via the country road,” he told me in crisp German. My eyes widen as I was caught off guard! My mouth went dry and I croaked "What!"He repeated his instruction in an irritated tone. Suddenly – I changed lanes without indication and swerved towards the road he wanted me to go on. It was winding and steep. The 50km speed limit was struck off. What now? Annabelle had told me to go to the next speed limit – but 80 on these kind of roads? My thoughts raced on as my foot squeezed forcefully on the accelerator.
Suddenly everything was spinning. I felt sick. At a distance, I heard a faint but extremely angry voice saying, “Are you mad! You are driving too fast and on the wrong side! You’ll get us both killed! Please drive back NOW!”
Dazed and confused, I stopped, turned back and drove... slowly. I knew I’d not passed. But he still had to say it. It still hurt. But I really couldn’t figure out what had happened. I felt sick. I stopped all “car-connected” conversation with Anil or anyone else. He warned friends and family to not broach the subject. I was volcanically volatile!
And then – a month after the miserably failed exam – I found out what I had suffered on that day was sheer nervous tension AND my first bout of morning sickness.
No more driving – at least for the next 9 months I thought – perhaps never again – my heart hoped. But mostly, my heart jumped with excitement at the thought of the little life being created within me through the next 40 weeks!
Darling little Aakash came along. He was almost 16 months old. We had never spoken about driving again. And then, I was expecting little Aanya! There was no way I was going to learn how to drive at this stage. Never!
But never say never… (watch out Swiss roads!)