Dads are life's most influential teachers"
They say that Dads are a son’s first hero and the daughter’s first love, but my dad is my one and only superhero. DC and Marvel can keep introducing whoever they want, but no one can compete with my dad’s superpowers. Ever since I came of age, I have tried to emulate him in all possible ways. My tomboy nature is totally attributed to this. Moreover, my love for driving has been directly inherited from him, and not just driving but his specific Formula 1 style of driving. I feel like life didn’t give us the right opportunity or both my dad and I would have been on the FIA Hall of Fame.
I have been born and brought up in Delhi and all my schooling and college life has been spent commuting in DTC buses till we were allowed to drive our own car, much later in life. The only fear I had about driving was having a flat tyre in a no-connectivity area, and that’s all thanks to my brother who I once saw changing a tyre and he made it look like such a challenging task. I was so fond of dad’s driving that I would look for excuses to persuade him to drop me to college on his scooter. Dad had a special way of driving, he would swear animal names at bad drivers on the road; ‘Jhingur’ being his favourite and no matter how thick the traffic was, without violating traffic rules, he always found his way.
Once while going to college, I saw two DTC busses racing in-front of us and my dad & I behind them on the scooter, looking for the right opportunity to overtake them. Now if you’ve been in one of these DTC busses, you would know exactly what that means. My adrenaline level rose higher than any expectable limits, and unconsciously I did an extensive revision of all the ‘33 koti ke’ Gods and goddesses that exist as per the Hindu religion. Physics was never my favourite subject in school, but all the chapters related to force, energy, laws, inertia, friction, traction, flashed before my eyes. We were approaching the traffic lights that had just turned green and that’s when my dad increased his speed. I shut my eyes and whoop; we slid between the two buses that had slowed a tad bit while their heads were closing in to beat the traffic. My shoe almost touched the rear of the bus, but I opened my eyes to realize that I was still alive and in one piece.
My dad knew exactly how and where to overtake the buses. His command over any vehicle is scarily amazing and I am proud to have inherited it. I’ve been driving for more than two and a half decades now, challenging male drivers who think women can’t drive, and giving them a run for their fuel. For the longest time, my car’s rear windshield had a sticker saying, ‘tu janta nahi hai, main kaun hun’ and I do full justice to it.
“Dads are life's most influential teachers” In the last 6-7 years I have developed a passion for nature and have got involved in bird and wildlife photography. Now with my zeal for driving combined with this relatively new passion for nature, my only challenge remained my lack of knowledge and loads of apprehension on changing a tyre. This is a big disadvantage when I go for birding or road trips to secluded locations where mobile connection is a problem. In these scenarios I always ensure that either there’s a male companion with me or I’m dependent on a chauffeur. After more than two and a half decades of driving responsibly, without any accidents, one day I faced my biggest fear of a flat tyre. I was driving in town and had to take a U-turn but in spite of seeing my indicator, the scooter behind me kept speeding from my right-hand side while talking to the pillion rider. I honked twice to get the drivers attention, but was a bit late, and I had to take a much deeper turn to avoid hitting them. The scooter merrily drove off without even giving a second glance but as I reached the other side of the road, I hit something and there was an explosion of mud, like a Holi scene in a Bollywood movie. The people who witnessed it were making hand gestures & facial expressions clear enough to indicate that the damage was considerable. My car tyre had hit some iron bars protruding out of the side road and the tyre had burst.
As the incident happened quite close to my house, I called my driver for help, who quickly and effortlessly helped me change the tyre. I was amazed by the simplicity and ease with which the chore was executed, my biggest fear of all time had suddenly vanished into thin air. It was not just a big tick in my bucket list anymore. Now I could courageously go on my birding excursions and long drives without a care in the world. I felt like James Bond with his new assigned tools & ammunition. I could now not only drive like an F1 driver but had also mastered the art of changing a tyre.