Friday, October 26, 2007


I recently met a person who'd cleared his CA driver's license the 5Th time around. That was one time higher than me. I thought I'd blog about the nightmare I called "acquiring a license to drive"
People who know me know that I am a girly girl. I never really bothered to learn to ride a bicycle or a bike. Let alone driving a two wheeler, I was paranoid about crossing the road. Now I am talking about the good old Indian roads where you just walk past all those lorries and city buses madly honking at you (and those honks fall into a bedlam of a gazillion honks that flood your ears while your eyes look at the expanse of a jam like traffic moving at a pace possible only in action movies!)and wish for a miracle to reach the other side of the road in a single piece.
I heard people quote intelligent sounding sentences. "you are a handicap if you cannot drive here" an older man opined. "except that no one will pity you"
Well, I think he was right.
I was bent upon getting a license more to get rid of the people who haunted me in my dreams asking "do you have a license yet?" than to get rid of the "handicap - no pity" situation.
Sarat didn't want to teach me. yeah, the cliche of the first quarrel with the spouse. We'd actually had our first quarrel already but he didn't agree anyway.
I scheduled for an instructor to come and teach me by patiently calling all the numbers I found in the yellow pages, zeroing on the most friendly sounding fellow.
The D day dawned and I got out for my first lesson, and the second and the third till I found the guts to drive all by myself. I'd taken a good 8 months and three instructors in the process of "learning" to drive and already flunked a test one of my instructors took me to in Hayward.
Then came the time when Sarat thought that I could do the driving all by myself.
My second test was a miserable failure that lasted a good three minutes. I drove out of the DMV and heard a guy honk from behind, before I reached the signal. The examiner thought I was too slow and the rest was history.
My third time was pretty cool I though. At least till the time we completed the whole test and got out of the car (which meant that there were no critical errors) but the anti climax was that I was too fast. The instructor, a young Asia woman, called my husband and told him about the escapade of a driving test and refused the license as she thought I'd not drive in the stipulated speed limits.
It was time for a new written test that was more like one of those reading comprehension tests in CAT. The questions started pouring. Every time a person saw a car in eye shot, they would ask me the million dollar question. "Sp do you have your license yet?"
God knows how I tried to avoid any and all conversations and people that had a potential to ask me THE question. I spent quiet a few sleepless nights, virtually driving in my dreams that I dreamt with my eyes wide opened while on my back, staring at the ceiling and trying to sleep.
"It has just two controls, the gas and the steering" a well meaning friend tried to cheer me up. "It is not rocket science" a relative observed.
I had to take it opon me to prove that I am not "fine motor skill" deprived. I tried for the fourth time, which, surprisingly turned out to be the final time, the lucky time, the celebrating time.
This was four years ago. I never go on long drives. My driving destinations on a regular basis are the Bart station, the mall, the grocery store, the library or a few places that fall under the jurisdiction of the city of Dublin and Pleasanton.
It is a relief to have a Driver license when a store manager asks for an identity, it is a blessing to have on those days when you want that Quiznos sandwich bad and there is no one around to drive you there. It is a privilege to have when you want to hit that store that has the most happening sale before the bargain queens hit it. Most of all it is a boon to have when someone asks "Can you drive?"

Sunday, October 21, 2007


A young boy's original thoughtfulness translated into Queen's English.

Tears - Dual role of happiness and sorrow.

I wish nothing is really lost in translation here!

Vanity or Sanity?

Okay, I should not have tried to rhyme just for the sake of rhyming and now since I am outta that one word title, I could as well think of fancier ones like those beloved bollywood titles. That reminds me of how RGV mocks those awfully long ones. "hum aap ke dil me rehte rehte aap se pyar kar baithe!!"
Anyway, let me stay on track.
Valentina is a very smart woman. She is a great mother, a professional, avid gardener and manages to read when ever possible after walking that 100 pound horse that she calls "Max" ( Who is actually an adorable chocolate lab) and watering her garden with a manual hose every evening.
Notwithstanding, she does some not so smart things sometimes. Like coloring a 20 month old's finger nails and toe nails with a bright fire engine red nail polish. Now it gets to a point of concern for me when that 20 month old in question is my own daughter.
And the not being smart doesn't stop there. She pulls a lip gloss out of her pocket and gives it to Aarti, who in all seriousness mocks applying it to her lips.
"okay, you'll not find her in the bookstore" My smart friend foresees my daughter's future for me. "she'll be in Sephora buying make up and taking up modelling assignments later on"
fast forward to yesterday's afternoon when I went to buy a book in the airport. Interestingly enough, Sephora is right next door to the bookstore. I walk out of the store and point at Sephora and tell my little Brother what valentina thinks about Aarti. "Good for her" My brother exclaims. "I hope she will grow up to be in Sephora since men want trophy wives. Not intelligent ones"
We get into an argument about that.
Later one he says " trophy is okay, but a woman really needs to be mature"
I think about the whole thing long after the incidents which triggered the thinking. What matters more? Looks? Brains? Maturity?
What ever the answer is, I hope Aarti grows up to be the only woman in history who is a Noble laureate (in some fancy subject like Nuclear Physics) and Miss Universe at the same time.
Well, well....I am a mom and every mom has the world's best child!

Late night profoundity.

Okay, I break my own rule of a single word title for lack of expression. Should mention Phillipa Gregory's expression though when she speaks about Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth 1.
"One Queen who broke her heart for love and an other who broke her soul trying to avoid it"
That one sentence was worth all those midnight hours of reading.
I am off to buy more of her books.