Years ago, a newly married girl in her early twenties stepped into the US with her husband. After a number of tiring flights from India, she was finally at home in her new home in College station, TX. Life decently settled down after a while and she had to master a few things before being comfortable in a foreign country. The first thing was to learn driving so that she could have her mobility.
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Unlike India, where one could learn driving from a driving school, it was only cheaper and more sensible to learn driving from those around u in the US(friends, peers etc) So, who else to teach the girl to drive but the husband! 🙂 She had never driven any sort of motored vehicle in her life so, this was going to be an interesting experience! 🙂
Most cars in the US were automatic but as luck would have it, the husband had a ‘manual transmission car’ or ‘stick shift’. She saw other newly wedded husbands teaching their wives on automatic transmission cars and they got licenses in a jiffy!(much to her misery!)
The first day:
If anybody who knew the girl thought she was patient – the husband was patient++!! 🙂 He was very methodical, there were diagrams for everything, from cars to family trees! 🙂
On the first day, she was taught about the accelerator(“it was also called the ‘gas pedal’ in the US” – she was told! :)) , the clutch and the brake and their positions. She felt her head totally spin – she could never remember the position of the clutch, the brake and accelerator.
He being a good Mechanical engineer wanted to explain all about the inner workings of the clutch, brake and the gas pedal – but the Computer science engineer would hear nothing of it! 😉 Who really cared about the clutch, and other things when the mind was thinking about programming?!!
It was decided that he would teach her driving every Monday, Wed, Friday for about an hour and the routine was followed in spite of a few emotional outbursts here and there! 🙂
First day, First gear:
She was told to “press the clutch and then change to first gear”. Once she was in first gear, she was told to slowly remove the foot from the clutch and press the gas pedal….but once she removed the foot from the clutch and pressed the gas pedal, the car shuddered to a stop!! And she wondered why!! 🙂 (any ideas?!)
As the days went by the car was behaving erratically and understanding a newly wedded husband teaching you was even more amusing! (Was he pushy, was he slow in teaching u, or was he harsh, she wondered!! )
A few days later, they moved onto the second, third and fourth gears and each gear change was an interesting experience!! The car never failed to unnerve her with its constant gasping, grinding and shuddering experience! 🙂 The husband as methodical as ever, thought of appropriate routes for each change in gear(and corresponding change in speed too) in the tiny TX town.
Soon, after a quite a period of time, she had graduated to fifth gear and what place to practice fifth gear, than the highway! They went to the highway just outside the city of College station, TX and practiced diligently.
Finally, after nearly 6 months(yes, this was an extremely patient couple!! :)) she had learned to change all the gears without the engine rumbling too much and all that there was to master was the ‘reverse gear’ and ‘parallel parking’.
He would always praise the “smooth change in gears of certain individuals” – but she wasn’t one of those “smooth changing individuals for sure!!” 🙂
‘Reverse gear’ was equally nerve racking and she was told to strictly turn back and look and not just look at the rear view mirror before reversing!
Parallel parking was a big story in itself and she was taught with the exact rules in the safety book. (In those days, the Internet was in its infancy and there was nobody else to teach her – but her husband!)
“Park by the side of the car, turn all the way to the left, and start reversing to the spot, and once you are in, start straightening and so on… “!! 🙂 were the directions of parallel parking from him!
Finally, after a very, very loong period of 11 months, she was ready to take the driving test. She was given strict instructions on what to do and what not to do on the test and she did pass the test with flying colors on the very first try! 🙂
And last but not least, I am sure you would have guessed the characters in the story! 🙂
Dedicated to all husbands teaching their wives to drive or any wives teaching their husbands to drive too! 🙂
For those, wondering what is “parallel parking?” It would be good to read this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_parking
Jayanthi Manikandan has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from India and a Master’s degree in Information systems with a specialization in Information security from Detroit, MI, USA.
She has been passionate about Information security and has several years of experience writing on various technical topics. Additionally, she loves to pen a few personal thoughts here as well! 🙂