Last year this month we had booked our first car and Abbas had adrenaline gushing through his veins. His excitement had reached its zenith. He registered himself for driving classes. I already had a driving license but was too much a chicken to drive in the Bangalore traffic. On the day of delivery, we had one of Abbas’ colleagues, Sri, accompany us to get our car home. And after that the car laid stagnant in the parking lot and only saw lights of Bangalore streets if Sri came home. He was very sweet to come home in his bike, take us around, drop us back home and then go back in his bike. (But somehow, it would make me feel that we are travelling in Sri’s car) On weekends when Sri would not come, Abbas would deny going out in Auto and we could not go by car. He would take his daughters to the parking lot and sit in the car, play some music and celebrate the fact that we finally owned a car. He would spend more time in the parking lot than at home. I used to get so frustrated that I offered to move his bed to the parking lot and he could do a part-time night watchman job.
One day he told me that he was planning to hire a driver until his own driving skills are steadied. I told him that he was never going to learn if he hires one and we could not afford one anyway! MIL was about to come and stay with us and I told him we should be going to receive her in OUR car (The realization of owning a vehicle was yet to sink in) He had learnt driving quite well but the road fear prevailed. Ma’s train was to arrive early in the morning so with an empty road to hit, apprehension was almost NIL. In the evening that day, we decided to go out and Ma was petrified at the thought of her son behind the steering! I sat in the front seat and Ma with her grand daughters in the rear seat. I was sitting with my hand clutching the hand brake firmly, ready to pull the trigger if need be. The journey was just fine. We managed to come back to our apartment in a buoyant mood at the feat achieved. Just when the car was to be parked, Abbas put on the reverse gear and a pillar behind was bumped into and there was a prominently visible dent in the dicky. Our happiness was short-lived due to this incident but now that we look back at this incident, it helped Abbas in conquering his inhibitions and there was no looking back ever since. He has turned out to be a graceful driver and I have forsaken the hand brake forever.
Abbas has christened the car as ‘Bulu’ coz he is Blue in colour. (Plz note, I am referring to it is a ‘he’ due to the dearth of male species in our family) We speak about Bulu by personifying him. (We are crazy but it’s fun, you know) We go to the fuel station to fill his tummy when he is hungry. When an unseen bumper is hit, I exclaim “Bulu, hope you are alright”. When we are not going out on weekends, we tell Bulu “You may chillax for another two days my boy” My kids even wave a bye to him when they are about to enter school. They try to look out of the window and check on Bulu when we are eating out and wish we could bring him in. During the last servicing, when kids had to go to school on auto, they cried for Bulu. Not that they dislike travelling in auto, but because Bulu was missing. They cried in the day care too and were gloomy the entire day as told by the caretakers. We had a servicing to be done on Saturday. So this time, we had told them before hand that Bulu was going to a Beauty Parlour to groom himself. We answered so many of their questions by saying “They will wash him with shampoo and soap and clean him up. He will come back to be very beautiful”. Abbas had taken appointment on Friday and on Saturday 7:30am, an executive came to pick Bulu up. Abbas went with the keys and Mannu Tammu and I watched from the Balcony as Bulu was being taken away. I was looking at Abbas’ face turning grim and he stayed there staring at Bulu till the dead-end turn was taken. He came home and said “Ever since I learnt driving, this is the first time someone else drove Bulu” I gave him a hug!
We looked forward to go to the showroom in the evening to bring Bulu back home. By evening we all got dressed up, Abbas took all the necessary docs as we had to renew the insurance. I clutched Bulu’s perfume in my hand and rest of the stuff in my handbag. Mantam were too curious to see Bulu’s makeover. He had come out rapchick I must say. Most of the minor scratches were touched up. And the interior was spic and span and glowing. How integral a part of our lives Bulu has become is amazing. I’m planning to bake a cake on 28th of this month when he came home last year!