The two of us got into the elevator together: Mini and me. Both of us, rushing to work. We stay in the same building. Both leave behind 2 kids to go to work on similar jobs. We gave each other the ‘Female Appraisal Sweep’: that is the glance that brushes from top to toe, without being too obvious (that’s what we think) and ends with a quick calculation (Who is better?).

Hair: 0 all (both need a comb. For more details on combing, refer to my previous post).

Clothes: 2/1 (Look at her trousers! So neat! Of course I won’t ask her where she got them from. I don’t want that ‘my brother sent them from France’ reply)

Handbag: 0/2 (I moved my chic handbag to cover most part of my trousers. Sale price: Rs 600/-)

Shoes: Well, if you insist, I will score this category 1 all. I was wearing chappals and she was wearing some kind of hiking shoes. With formal trousers. Ok, if you are hoity-toity and feel that both are inadmissible with trousers, I can have an objective debate but I don’t want to enter into any argument here. We can take that offline.

The elevator reached the basement. We said a chirpy ‘Bye’ (Score 1/2 : ‘I used her name as well, ‘Bye Mini’).

And then, the tables turned. She slid into the driver’s seat of her car, turned the ignition, did the COMPLEX MANEVERS related to getting that object started and whizzed off. I, my tail between my legs, crawled into the backseat of my car, and looked out of the window balefully as my driver moved on.

Women who drive make me feel so incompetent, so inadequate. Sitting at the back of my car makes me feel like a dumb toy being pulled by a string by a 2 year old kid, bobbing in a cart like some inanimate, senseless object, or Shivraj Patil.

I have tried my hand at driving. To set the record straight, I can drive. Technically speaking. I joined the STAR driving school in Koramangala in 1999 and earned my driver’s licence as well. Under very dubious circumstances, with some public property damage. (But, the residents of Koramangala were grateful to me for getting rid of the dog menace). I have driven quite a bit, on and off since then.

But, my skills never seemed to improve. On one occasion, Alok, Nikki and I had gone to Mysore. This is B.P.

For those who did not follow, our lives are divided into 2 phases:

1.      BP : Before Birth of Prithvi : We were pretty as a picture, dancing on tip toes, skipping and prancing on the happy garden of life, wearing outfits from the movie ‘Sound of Music’ and singing ‘I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family’. Since Alok can only sing Ghulam Ali ghazals, you will need to make a small adjustment by visualizing Barney, the purple dinosaur, singing ‘Awargi’.


2.      AP (After Birth of Prithvi) : We are like black cat commandoes, ducking, dodging, chasing a 2 year old terrorist. We have complex sign languages; have a 1 hour daily physical workout to be able to keep fit. We wear clothes that can help us camouflage well in the terrorists environment of play dough, broken toys, and spilled paint. We take turns to sleep, and keep our weapons (folder newspaper) under our pillow.

So, we were in Mysore on a family holiday. Alok decided to check out some real estate property there. While Nikki and I sat in the car, he started roaming what looked like endless fields with some lungi clad men. He did not seem to be interested in returning. I seethed. Then, I decided it was time for action. I turned the ignition, grasped the gear, did the ‘release clutch press accelerator’ maneuver (in 5 attempts, though let’s not get into unnecessary details here).

Nikki exclaimed ‘Mamma you can drive a car’. My girl always has admiration for me, sometimes uttered at the wrong place and time. For eg.,

‘Mamma you are in the kitchen?!! You can cook?!!’ said at her grandparent’s place.

Anyway, I turned the car around and sped (at least, that’s what it appeared to me like) past, determined to leave Alok with the lungi gang in the fields. I must have been speeding for a while till Alok walked up, opened the door and sat beside me. He then, released the handbrake.

Since then, I have not driven much at all. But living with the humiliation is too much! Sometimes I feel I should give it one more serious try.

But, then, when I think harder, I feel buying new trousers and combing my hair is easier.