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Eleven completed, forever to go

Dear Abbas,

Just another year passes by with the hope of my family accepting our union, and honestly the chances seem to be slimmer with each passing day. Sometimes, I tell you that I have given up but you rekindle the belief that they will come around one fine day. I dunno if we will have the much hyped ‘happily ever after’ with my family but today I want to rejoice the ‘happily-married-for-eleven-years’ moment.

Our relationship has grown so much. We both have transformed a lot shouldering responsibilities together, facing new challenges life hurled at us and most importantly by being parents to the two little fairies who we brought into this beautiful world. It has been one helluva journey, hasn’t it? As much as a fairy tale that it sounds, we have had our fair share of obstacles, downfalls, skirmishes and the not-so-nice moments. But they have only made us and our love for each other stronger.

The life in this country tests our patience at times. With no support whatsoever, the going gets tough. Both of us seek downtime and we hardly get any. Atleast I have a great deal of fun as I go to my company’s parties, go out for lunch with colleagues/friends, do things that I enjoy every now and then. But you have been working tirelessly without any rejuvenation. I wish you took some time off for yourself but you tell me that you would rather spend time with the three of us.

In the last one year, as my workouts saw the transition of going from seldom to almost non-existent, I became increasingly lethargic. Although I still do all the cooking, and the usual chores in the house, I do realize how I drag myself reluctantly to tick them off. Those were the days when I would be up at the break of dawn even during the weekends and by the time you and Mantam woke up, breakfast and tea would be at your service, But these days, not only am I sleeping in but also am waking up so late that you make tea and wait for me get my lazy butt off the bed and make breakfast for everyone. As a result the lunch and every other weekend chore gets delayed by domino effect. You always pitch in and help me to get my act together in every possible way that you can. I can’t thank you enough for supporting me even in my worst possible avatar. If this is not true love, I wonder what is?!

You have always been and still are the best at calming me down when I’m agitated, admonishing me when I lose my sensibility, correct me when I am at fault, praise me generously every so often that it makes me wonder what I have done to deserve you. You put me on a pedestal in front of Mantam and encourage them to appreciate all that I do for them. You are so proud of me and keep yapping away to all and sundry about every trivial of my achievements. I try my best to reciprocate all this but I think I still have a lot to improve on.

Thank you for being the kind of man that you are. I love the way you always make sure that you ask me before even making trifle commitments with friends/relatives. I feel so proud to have married a man who has no qualms about declaring that he will be able to confirm after checking with his wife. I feel at peace thinking of what a good example you are setting of being a lover/husband and a father. Mantam would clearly know what qualities they must look for in their life partner.

Marrying you was the best decision of my life and I consider myself fortunate to be your wife. Here’s to many more years of nagging, annoying and of course doing what we know best, loving each other!

Forever yours,

Seemu

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Driving diary – Part 3

Continued from Part 1 and Part 2:

Practising with Abbas pretty much came to an end after that incident. Then came the month of March and I picked up the phone to call the driving instructor my friend had recommended. It was a landline number and nobody answered my call, I left a voicemail with my number and requested to call me back. A few days passed but there was no response. I called back in the second week of March and Mr.H picked up. he said tht I was too fast in saying my phone number that he couldn’t comprehend my phone number, gah! Unfortunately I was too late and he was going to be out of the city the following weekend. And I could only take classes over the weekend. So I booked classes in the 3rd weekend of the month.

In the first class, I drove quite decently. I asked H if I should postpone the driving test as we hardly had any time to prepare as there was hardly any time to practice.It was too early for him to say anything but Abbas told me that there is no rush and it was better for me to reschedule the test. We moved the test date to 11th April. With some breathing space, I took 6 classes in all over three weekends, 1 hour class every Saturday and Sunday. H’s way of teaching was so plain and simple that I could easily grasp. I grew more and more confident with handling the four wheeled demon.

On most Saturdays I would drive like a dream. H used to say “You are really smart. Well done” And the veyr next moment I would make one mistake after the other. It was funny sometimes all the silly errors I would commit. Once H told me to take the right most lane and I had the right indicator on even after changing lane. I was under the impression that he wants me to take right turn. H said “Why don’t you turn the indicator off?” I retorted with “Because I want to turn right”, And guess what, he pointed towards a couple of big bright signs right in front of my eyes that read ‘No Right Turn’. I was always good at 3 point turn and kerb side parking but sucked at Reverse parallel parking. H taught me an easy way to reverse parallel park and I started doing it perfectly. And guess what! That day he made do a kerbside park and I did a totally crappy job.

H was a funny man, he would sometimes get stressed when I made mistakes but immediately try to lighten the moment. If I ever sped up and exceeded teh speed limit, he would say “If you like pushing a lot, don’t push the accelerator, push me out of the car”. If I rotated the steering wheel more than necessary, he would say “The steering wheel is not your husband. Control your emotions”. There is this one place where the speed has to be less than 40. As soon as the 40 zone ends, H would say “After this sign, you can increase the speed. But that doesn’t mean you can push accelerator to 100. Keep it below 50”. It might not sound funny when I write it here but when H spoke with his Iranian accent and his dramatic expressions, it was hilarious. When I would crack up, he would say “Are you laughting (read laugh-ting) to me?” H would keep telling me that I either stop my car too close to the stop line or too far. I started working on it and was getting better. Once at a traffic signal, I stopped at what I thought was the right distance from the stop line and at the very same instant a car came to my left and stopped way ahead a of me. I asked H “Have I stopped at right distance?” He nodded in agreement. I asked him “What about the car to our left?” He instantly replies “He already has the DL. Once you get yours, you can also do that!”

In between the classes, I drove a couple of times with Abbas and even he could feel the difference in my driving. But his passenger vision had not gotten any better and he still thought I drove too much into the left side of my lane. And the very next class I started intentionally placing the car towards the right and H freaked out and asked “What happened to you?” When I told him why I was driving the wat I was, he said “Don’t drive with your husband any more” Hahaha. As days passed, Abbas started saying things like “You might get your DL in second attempt”. Nobody, known to us, had ever passed the driving test in our suburb in the first attempt as it is known to have difficult routes. Abbas had passed at his 4th attempt. The day before the test, Abbas said “In the remote likelihood that you get the DL tomorrow, I would be doomed for life”

So folks, the D-day finally dawned and I had taken the day off. The test was to begin at 10 AM. I hadn’t had a good sleep the previous night. H came at 8:45 to practice for an hour before the test. I drove well by consciously remembering all the mistakes I had done in the previous classes and not repeating them. Though I committed a few new trifle ones instead. When we reached the RTA at 9:45 and got out of the car, I had a stomach-churning feeling. I was very nervous. But I observed that H was even more stressed than I was. When my name was called out, he accompanied me. The officer my signature on a form and said go to your car, I’m coming. H wished me good luck but he was visibly worries for me.

I got into the car, put my seat belts on, started the car, officer did the customary indicator checks and got in. He just said that we will drive around the local area today. Whenever I ask you to turn left or right, do so. If I don’t say anything, keep driving straight. He did exactly that like a robot. I kept telling myself that I will not forget anything, and give my best shot. I drove at the right speed as per the road marking, used indicators diligently, didn’t miss a single shoulder and mirror checks. I might have stopped a bit close to the stop line once. And one mistake I did was during the 3 point turn (which apparently was my strong point) after going forward, coming backwards and then I was supposed to go forward. I used the indicator, did my head checks and observations but guess what I forgot to change gear. As I slowly let go of the brake, I felt that the car was slightly moving backwards. Immediately I changed gear and moved forward.

After we came back, I parked the car. The officer and I went back inside RTA. H came almost running to know how the test went. I told him that I was alright. The officer called out my name and I had butterflies in my stomach. He said, with the same robotic expressionless voice, “Congratulations, you passed”. Believe me, it sounded too good to be true. I just couldn’t wait to tell Abbas and make him fall off his chair. H was finally relieved and was very proud. That, my friends, is how I succeeded in achieveing what I thought was not my cup of tea.

PS: For those curious, Abbas is still not able to believe that I got the licence.

PPS: I have kept my precious I-got-my-DL-in-the-first-attempt trump card to use in occasions if and when he tries to show me upper hand while driving

Special thanks to all you lovely people (you know who you are) for the encouragement. Wouldn’t have done it without you.

Love,

Seema

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Driving diary – Part 2

Continued from Part 1 here:

After my initial goal of getting my driving license flew out of the window, it left us alone till I turned 31. That one year went by with endless running around over the weekends for house hunt, selection appointments and tonnes of other commitments. As the next birthday dawned I realized how I had one item on my checklist before I turned 30 but a whole year passed by without me sitting behind the wheels. I wondered if I would ever get that box ticked ever in my life (Yeah, I can get a bit dramatic from time to time). Whenever I would look at women driving on the road so confidently, I would tell myself how I had failed at learning this life skill and had to always be dependent on Abbas. I had given up the slightest hope of driving. Let alone aiming at getting a license.

And then the universe conspired to slam me with so many of my friends and acquaintances getting their driving licenses. Although I was happy for all of them from the bottom of my heart, it drove me nuts and made me feel like a total loser. I slowly started asking Abbas to let me drive and practice when we went out together. But husbands, I tell ya! Abbas would pant, yell, sigh, scream, hallucinate in the passenger seat and make me go bananas. He once shouted at me thinking I was driving too much towards the left that he thought I was going to bang all the parked cars to my left like some Rohit Shetty movie. We would then return to our designated seats to regain normalcy.

One of my friends informed me that she had got the DL on her 5th attempt. She told me how the officer almost yelled at her saying “You will kill me”. She insisted that if she could do it, anyone could. The only key is to not give up. It stuck with me. Also there were posts by RM and DM about how they got their DLs and the thought of getting DL started haunting me. One of my friends M got her driving license in February and told me how her instructor was amazing and gave me his contact number. I declared to Abbas that I was going to book my driving test first. I would keep procrastinating otherwise. If I had a date fixed, I would certainly work towards it. So we booked 31st March for the driving test.

There were almost 2 months at my disposal to get ready to face the demon (In this case the Driving Test Officer). We had too many things going in February, so I decided to start taking lessons from the instructor in March. I thought I would practice with Abbas in February. Abbas would let me drive only in quiet eerie streets as he would lose his mind as soon as he sat in the passenger seat. One evening when I was in high spirits about driving, I said that I would drive to our favourite restaurant. All was well till I did some silly mistake and Abbas yelled at me. I totally went blank and my mind wandered elsewhere. I jumped two signals, Abbas snapped! He lost his temper and I was too stunned to react. I don’t know how we reached the place. We parked the car and had our meal without any conversation with each other. We were only talking to Mantam and in our own heads. I kept asking myself how I could jump signals and that I had been a hazard on the road. One voice in my told me that I must never drive ever again in my life, the other backed Abbas and supported his reaction, and the last one calmed me down and asked me to get the keys and drive back home again or this incident would prove a major setback again in my driving journey. I had to overcome it by driving again at the earliest.

When we walked towards the car park, two voices in my head were battling with each other – to drive or not! As we reached the car, Abbas, who was silent till then, brought his right hand towards me and handed me the car keys and smiled. I grabbed it, I just had to! I drove decently back home although he had to park the car as I was still confused about the direction in which the car moves in reverse gear! Sigh….

To be continued….

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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What’s up?

It’s been a while since my last post? This year after the Blogathon, I had vowed to be regular throughout the year. Almost everyday, I have had a blogpost drafted in my mind but somehow other mundane chores take priority on most days. On remaining days, it’s my slumber!

I just want to write down what’s been happening in our lives in my favourite bullet points:

  • First things first, We got the  much awaited council approval of plans for our home on 20th of Feb (Co-incidentally the same day 3 years ago we had got our Australian visa grant letter). Subsequently, we also received the letter of authority to commence construction by the end of February. We were thrilled and couldn’t wait for the construction to kick start. But as the old adage goes, “Man proposes and God disposes”, March dawned with heavy and continuous rains. There has been no breather since and it’s going to rain cats and dogs till the end of this month. In summary, we are just waiting while paying our monthly installment for a piece of land. Sigh!!
  • I have been practicing driving with Abbas (only to increase his blood pressure everytime he sits in the passenger seat). I have booked my test on 31st of March. I booked driving lessons too, just to be thorough with rules. Although I have no hope of passing in the first attempt (No human that I know of has passed in my suburb in their maiden test), I am determined this time to keep at it. Thanks to RM, Maya, TP, Roopa and some of my other friends here who were as scared as me but went ahead and gave the tests till they achieved that lucrative Licence. I am hoping for the best but prepared for the worst.
  • This year when we went to enroll Mantam to the swimming classes, Abbas told me that the adult beginner class has slots too and we grabbed the opportunity with both hands and got enrolled. I must write a separate post on our journey.
  • Mantam’s school music band conducts try-outs for kids when they enter Year 3. Mannu was sleected for flute and Tammu for Clarinet. Mannu had already completed her basic course in Drums and was so passionate about it, so we requested if there was an option for her to do drums instead of flute. Initially they denied but later told us that there is a spot available for drums. Tammu had also done keyboard last year but we saw that her interest in keyboard had hit rock bottom by the end of the year, so we let her go with Clarinet. They have lessons every Monday after school and rehearsals every Monday morning before school.
  • I had joined a bootcamp near office and went atleast twice a week but ever since the Monsoon season started, workouts have taken a back seat.
  • While we are talking about learning new skills, I have learnt to make the heart pattern on coffee that the baristas make. We have a professional coffee machine at workplace where we start from the scratch by grinding the coffee beans. After several failed disastrous attempts, I am now able to make the heart pattern and planning to slowly graduate to the leaf pattern.
  • Mantam are continuing with the gymnastics classes this year too. But they don’t have the same enthusiasm as last year. Abbas and I are wondering if we should let them continue or quit. We did ask them a couple of times but got very neutral answers.
  • Mannu got selected in her school’s dance group this year while Tammu got selected in the T-Ball team.
  • Too many things going on our lives and we are loving it. 2017 has been a great year so far and we hope it continues to be so

How have you all been? How’s this year treating you so far?

 

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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After effects of Valentine’s Day

How we celebrated Valentine’s Day:

We don’t do anything special like buying each other gifts or going on romantic dates as such. I mostly bring out the love letters, cards, fleeing boarding pass, train tickets, hotel bill from a stack that I have preserved. I pick a few and hang them on my magnetic photo frame. It feels so good to revisit the adrenaline rush during my teenage years, and to reminisce the amateur love that has grown older, stronger and more mature over the years. There are only a couple of items that Abbas had sent to me for obvious reasons J but the ones that I sent are so mushy and make me blush when I read them.

This year, I was very cautious when I chose which cards to hang as Mantam read anything and everything. I chose cards that had my love for Abbas scribbled all over them but nothing very sensuous. As expected Mantam went right to the cards on the morning of the 14th and went Ooohhh, Aaahhh and Awwwing and said “Wow Mumma, you must really love Baba so much” and I nodded in agreement trying to hide my pink cheeks. I made a rose with a strawberry, cut a few watermelon slices in heart shape using cookie cutter and made a sizzling dinner with some Paneer cut in heart shape and that was pretty much it. Abbas and I went through some of the cards together and relived the beautiful memories. Abbas told me that he would have to go to the city next day where my office was and we decided to meet up for lunch.

After a lovely Val day, the very next morning we had a fight, a very serious one at that. I was being a bit slack that morning and not rushing as I knew that I didn’t have to cook anything but just pack whatever was there from the previous night. Abbas was totally worked up because he had to leave early and it didn’t occur to me. He made tea, fixed breakfast for kids and was also struggling to wake them up while I was recharging my dying batteries. He got so pissed off that he started saying things that prompted that he was doing everything while I wasn’t doing anything. Well, it was true at that point but he meant that it was the usual routine and that he was burdened with too many responsibilities. I retorted and told him that he didn’t have to do anything if he thinks he is doing me a favour and that I was capable of managing everything by myself. One thing led to another and the argument got a bit carried away.

Abbas got ready and by then I had packed his breakfast and fruits. He kissed Mantam good bye and declared “I will not kiss Mumma today as she doesn’t deserve it”. And I murmured “Who cares!” under my breath. He stormed out saying he wouldn’t even meet me for lunch.

Flashback:

One of those mornings when Tammu is very upset with Abbas as he woke her up against her will. And she refused to kiss or hug or say good bye to him in the normal way. He left home and I gave her a big lecture on how we must always express our love, hug and kiss our loved ones before saying bye. You might regret it if something happens to your loved one and the guilt that you behaved badly with them is too painful to bear. Tammu had cried profusely and called Abbas from my phone and apologized to him.

 

As soon as Abbas slammed the door behind him, Mannu started crying. I felt terrible but I was very mad. I asked her why she was crying. She said it was because her Baba and I had not kissed before he left home. I told her “It’s ok Mannu. He thinks I don’t deserve his kisses.” Mannu retorted with “But you should’ve told him that you do deserve it. You should not have let him go” I did feel ashamed and was worried about what a terrible example we had set in front of them. I tried to console her saying “Don’t worry Mantam. Baba and I will sort it out soon. By evening you will probably see that we are back to normal. There is nothing to worry about. Even if we fight, we will never stop loving each other”.

Flashback:

Our very dear friends, who Mantam had been very close to, got separated a couple of years back. It did affect them to a certain extent. Ever since, I have noticed that even if Abbas and I have silly arguments which we are not even serious about, they feel jittery.

 

Mannu was so very upset with me that she chose to sport a pumpkin like expressionless face till we reached the station. Tammu, on the other hand, was on my side as expected. She was very upset too after the drama but as I have mentioned before, she loves me blindly. She came and hugged me saying “I am very angry with Baba. He knows that your parents are angry with you. How can he hurt you Mumma?” with moisty eyes. I couldn’t help but smile at her innocence and embraced her tightly and told her that her Baba does love me immensely and that a few skirmishes only strengthen our love for each other.

I kept on thinking about the whole episode during my train journey to work. I didn’t think it was my fault but to be fair, it wasn’t Abbas’s either. I blamed it on the stress! The week had started off with too much pressure. Both Monday and Tuesday had been longer than usual as Abbas had to leave early on both days and come back home late due to swimming classes in the evenings. It must have been pent up fatigue that showed up its ugly colours. My adamant self was pulling me back from messaging Abbas to sort things out. On the contrary my sensible self kept on taking the phone to text him and putting it back with a battle going on within me. Sensibility triumphed over stubborn ego, and I picked up the phone finally to type out an apology and a request to meet for lunch.

And so we met for lunch. Although the conversation started with a bit of friction, it all ended well and I told him about the girls’ reactions. In the evening when we reached home, Mantam had forgotten about it all as we were back to business as usual. When I brought out the topic of us having had lunch together, my daughters literally had their jaws on the floor 😀

 

I had to write about this fight as a reminder to ourselves that we don’t ever want this to repeat. Even if we do, we must prevent it in fornt of the kids. Abbas, hope you remember this too! 😀

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Mantam-isms

Abbas usually takes Mantam for the weekly grocery shopping when I give him a list beforehand. But the trio comes back many additional items that I never mentioned, occasionally goofing up and rarely missing items requested.

After coming back from one such expedition, I was putting away the groceries in their rightful places. I spotted baby broccoli when I had mentioned Broccoli. I usually don’t buy the baby version as they are costlier than the usual one.

Me: Hey, why did you guys buy Baby Broccoli?

Mannu (rolling eyes): Mumma, did you want a family Broccoli??


Then I spotted two new items in the shopping bag and raised my eyebrows?

Me: What’s this? Who bought them?

Tammu: Mumma, they are hanitisers.

Me (already started laughing): Tammu, what’s a hanitiser darling?

Tammu: We bought it to keep in our school bags Mumma. You know they can be used to clean our hands.

Me: But what you are talking about are called Hand Sanitisers, not Hanitisers?!!!

Tammu: Bwahahahaha , that’s what I meant. You understood right?


Mantam go to gymnastics classes on Saturday mornings. One particular Saturday before everyone woke up I was watching a Kannada movie after a long time on my phone. The movie kept me glued and I was enjoying it. I had to keep it aside to fix breakfast for the kids and pack them off to the classes. Abbas went to drop them and I plonked myself on the sofa resuming my movie session. When Abbas came back after dropping them, he saw me shedding buckets of tears looking at my phone. He was terrified at the sight but I told him it was an emotional scene in the movie about son and dad that tugged at my heartstrings.

Abbas had his breakfast, sat for a while and went back to pick Mantam from the classes. The girls stormed in to the house and took me to task.

Mumma: “Did you cry in our absence?”

Me (giving Abbas the why-did-you-have-tell-them-you-big-mouth look): Errrr, I was watching a Kannda movie and there was an emotional scene.

Tammu: So Mumma, from today onwards we declare it illegal for you to watch any Kannada movies!!


We all love the song ‘Hanikarak bapu’ from Dangal. We were listening to it in repeat mode.

Me: Mantam, do you know the meaning of Hanikarak Bapu?

Mantam: No Mumma

Me: It means dangerous father. In your case, it would be Hanikarak Mumma as I’m the one who is strict and makes you do things whether you like it or not.

Mantam (start giggling)

Me (sounding hopeful): Arey, aren’t you supposed to say I’m not an evil momma?

Mantam: Well, we’ll think about it


We bought bicycles for Mantam recently as we realised how bad parents we have been that they still cannot ride a two wheeler. We had bought one long back but we were too lazy to take them to a park and teach them. This time around, we resolved to take them every weekend to learn riding. The first time Abbas took them by himself as I was late from work. The second time we all went together and both the girls didn’t trust me to teach them and each demanded Baba.

Finally, Tammu was brave enough to allow me to supervise her.  After a while of practicing

Tammu: Mumma, you are getting better at it now. Don’t give up!

Me: Whatt a what a what a what whatttt??? Aren’t I the one supposed to say that?!!


Mannu is enjoying reading a lot these days. She was glued to a book called Margaret, which she had borrowed from School library. She was telling me that is she would not finish it before the next week’s library session, she would request it to be re-issued. I took them to our local library too and Mannu was searching the catalogue for Margaret high and low.

On Thursday evening:

Me: Mannu, did you get your Margaret book re-issued today?

Mannu: Nah! I returned it and got some other books.

Me: So did you finish reading it?

Mannu: No, I didn’t

Me: Then why did you return it? You really liked the book, didn’t you?

Mannu: Well, I didn’t like it so much after all!

Me: And you are telling this today?

Mannu: Eh? Would you have liked me to tell you tomorrow Mumma?

Me (banging the palm of my hand to my forehead): No thank you!!


Mantam and I walk to the station together in the morning, they catch the bus to school and I the train to work. Mantam’s school bus leaves at 8:45 AM but I can’t afford to wait to see them off, so they see me off first and then wait for a bit before hopping on their bus. Now, I have a train at 8:31 and the next at 8:41. My goal everyday is to catch the 8:31 and but I fail 😦 Some days we get so late that we even rush at jet speed to catch 8:41 too. On one of those days:

Me: We are super duper late today Mantam. Let’s walk really fast.

Mannu: Mumma are we going to miss our bus?

Me: No no, you both will get the bus. But I am worried about not being able to catch my train.

Me (continuesw to blabber while walking): Increase your speed girls. I am not able to catch my usual 8:31 these days. On most days I have been taking the second train at 8:41. Today we  are struggling to catch the second one too. Forget about my usual train

Tammu: Mumma, if you are taking the second train on most days, isn’t that supposed to be your usual train? Don’t worry, we are only hurrying to catch your usual train today.

We all cracked up!


Tammu got selected in her school’s T-ball team. We got a note saying her team will be travelling to a park every Friday to compete against another school. We were asked to send a pair of long socks and shin guard for her. Abbas bought them and at home we were trying to put it on.

Tammu putting the shin guard on..

Me: Tammu, wear the long socks first and on top of it you can put on the shin guard

Abbas (laughing his head off): Seemu, you have zero knowledge about sports. Tammu, don’t listen to Mumma, keep going with the shin guard.

Tammu: Baba, Mumma must be right

Abbas: Tammu, Mumma has not played any sport ever. I used to be a soccer player and I have worn all this. You listen to me.

Me: Arey, the shin guard has such a pretty colour, isn’t it supposed to be seen? If she covers it with the socks, what a waste of colour?

Abbas: Seemu yaar, please! Come on, she is not going for a fashion show to show off colours and patterns

Tammu: Baba, Mumma might be right you know? Let’s check a youtube video on how to wear the shin guard.

Me (thinking how this girl blindly believes her Mumma and basking in the pride)

The youtube video proves Abbas right.

Tammu: It’s ok Mumma, don’t be sad ok?

Me: Takes my blind lover into arms and squishes and smothers her with kisses

Abbas: What about me you girls???


 

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Driving diary – Part 1

Started this with a part 1 as I know I will have many parts to follow.

The first time I sat in that dreaded seat behind the steering wheel was when I turned 18. My Annu (dad) wanted me to get a driving license. He took me in his car early morning one day to a barren land and asked me to try my hand. I still remember my first attempt at trying to do a U-turn, which went on to become an O turn as I didn’t even know that the steering had to be maneuvered back to straighten the wheels after the U is complete! I hated shifting gears to the core. The car would behave like a living being with it’s own mood swings as it would stop oddly out of the blue. My dad got me enrolled in a driving class to teach me how to tame the strong-willed monster. I finished my course and somehow got the license, don’t ask me how. I never drove again!

Marriage happened, kids happened, moving cities happened and we bought our first car Bulu in Bangalore when I was 25, which was 7 years after I had received my DL and had stopped driving. Abbas went to a driving school, learned to drive and got his DL. He encouraged me to go too and I obeyed. Again I went for a few classes and discontinued on the pretext that I wouldn’t be able to drive with such young kids in tow. (But actually I chickened out, I thought it was not my cup of tea). I would tell Abbas that if I would learn to drive, he would not be left with any responsibilities that he can’t easily shove on me.

Cut to life in Sydney. I was super happy to know that most cars here are Automatic. My biggest pet peeve with driving was shifting gears and the car shutting down while I did so. That fear was eliminated now. Abbas took his lessons and got his DL here at his 4th attempt. That did discourage me as I really admired his driving skills back in India. The fact that a skilled driver like him flunked his first three attempts was reason enough for me back out yet again. But Abbas encouraged me saying that it would be easier for me than him. Because he had to unlearn a lot of habits of flouting rules in India and then learn to follow them, while I would be learning from the scratch and he thought I was good at grasping and following instructions.

I went ahead and booked my Driver’s Knowledge Test (DKT) and passed it at first attempt. That was such a morale booster. Abbas encouraged me to quickly book some classes and get going. I must also mention Harvy and VJ who motivated, pushed, threatened and checked on me to grab the bull by its horns, errr steering wheel! I booked a class with the guy who had taught Abbas. He was an old man with a weird sarcastic sense of humor (or the lack of it). I really couldn’t follow what he tried to tell me. Every sentence of him was heavily loaded with oodles of sarcasm that I wouldn’t know if the rule he told me was for real or if he said it ironically. He was a bit chauvinist too in his thought process and I detested him to the core. I went for two classes and told Abbas that I would never go with him again.

Then came a gap as I had forgotten about driving again. Slowly when my 30th birthday was approaching, I told myself that I must get my DL at least before I turn 30. With a sudden burst of determination running through nerves, I enrolled yet again to another driving class. This time the instructor was a very patient guy who was very methodic in his way of teaching. I enjoyed the classes and went regularly. After a few classes, he told me “You are driving well. You know all the rules but you just need to practice more before going for the test. You have a car and your husband has a license. Why don’t you regularly practice with him? I have taught you everything but you just need to practice to get a steady hand and more confidence.” I really appreciated his honesty, unlike some other driving schools that try to discourage people and in turn make them book more classes. Happily, I thought I would practice with Abbas and book a test soon.

The practice never happened for some reason or the other. Maybe we didn’t give it so much importance. Once when we went out for dinner, I told Abbas that I would drive. He sat in the non-driver-seat in the front for the first time in many many years. He started yelling that I was going to hit all the parked cars on the left. His voice affected me and I just couldn’t drive as smoothly as I did with my instructor. I gave it back to him and thought we must try during day time in an empty area first. That never happened at all!! Because we became busy with planning our India trip. My 30th birthday flew past without any mention of my weak goal….

To be continued…

PS: If you are hoping that this series will end with me talking about how I finally got the DL, then I’m hoping the same as you. I haven’t yet booked my driving test. Started this series to document the journey and to receive some inspiration and encouragement to give the driving test.

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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