I started the car engine at 7.35 AM. As I was taking out of the car, negotiating the pillar outside our parking space came her question. “Dad, how many times you have taken a driving license?” My immediate thought was, is there anything wrong with the way I took the turn? I don’t think she was checking out. But she definitely was hell-bent on telling me that she doesn’t want to be late for her summer camp class. So my target is to reach the school by 8.10 AM. My wife, before we left told me that she could do it under 35 minutes a day before and today being a Saturday it should be a breeze for me. I still had to cover 16 km. On the way I asked my daughter can you tell me the name of these flowers. I couldn’t make out the difference between the flowers and leaves. I was trying to make her look outside and enjoy the journey.
I decided to impress her with my driving credentials. I had successfully passed, twice, the Indian License test and received a German license, which is considered quite an achievement. I thought I assured her that you are in the company of a person who is the right person for the job on the wheel. She didn’t ask me why did you take an Indian license twice but I must share it with the world now.
After twenty years of using one license, I had to go back to basics. I enrolled with a learner’s license once my license got expired. I vividly remember the L sticker which my agent gave me which I kept inside my file with disdain. The issue for me was that my original license expired and since it was the old classical paper issued one, they couldn’t locate the details as most had faded away. There are moments in your life when you regret everything. I wish I had converted this to a laminated card, I wish I knew where I had kept the xerox copy of the license, I wish I had kept the original in safe custody and instead kept a copy among the documents in the car. After enough self loathing, it was time to make a decision. Should I drive around without a license or should I take charge of myself and go for a new license? I had to start from ground zero. Literally, that is what I did. I had to stand in the queue with the wannabe drivers and I felt chickened out several times. I had to learn for a couple of hours through practice sessions for the learner’s test. I discovered that there are a lot of trial sites that will prepare you for the test.
Now back to the story
I was driving at around 40 kmph and my younger daughter from behind asked me, “Dad what is the maximum speed people can drive?” She was noticing that we are getting late for her class. In my mind, I was staying calm and was blaming everything on why I got late for this trip? I rushed in the morning, had a quick walk, and then decided to get her to the class. I was wondering if not going for the walk could have saved additional 15 mins. But then I realised that my daughter also got up late and she was also late. But one thing was clear, whatever has happened has happened and now we have to reach in 35 minutes. One thing which I hate is driving beyond a certain comfortable speed. The voice from behind was testing my patience. I finally decided to see which are the places where I can accelerate. I haven’t driven for some time in this way off-late and it was there for the asking now. Finally, I decided to take the bull by the horns. The other challenge comes when my daughter makes these snide remarks comparing my driving with her mother. By now it was time to disturb her and I played some vintage songs from my childhood and that is when she leaned forward and started changing the playlist. I was enjoying one particular song and she told me that she will play her list of favourite songs. That meant I was relieved of the pressure of speeding and I can focus on my usual style of driving. I was happy that she would now start enjoying her playlist and I was left with the freedom to drive around at my pace. If I had made eye contact with one thing other than the road and the objects coming in our way ( a dog narrowly escaped from coming under the car, it was his fault by the way) it was the clock just above the audio set.
As they say, you should enjoy the drive and don’t worry about the destination. In my case, it was both. Even though I had to keep up with a certain pace I maintained lane discipline, avoided reckless driving, and also thought of living animals and people on the road. I was able to process thoughts and was aware of the request by my daughter to reach there on time.
The best part for me was while my daughter was doing the DJ job with her playlist. She noticed one thing and she just blurted it out. ” I never thought you had my favourite song in your playlist”. I asked her if that was her favourite as well? She said yes of course and this is what I heard from “My Universe”
You (you), you are (you are) my universe
And I (I) just want (just want) to put you first
And you (you), you are (you are) my universe, and in the night, I lie and look up at you
When the morning comes, I watch you rise
There’s a paradise they couldn’t capture
That bright infinity inside your eyes
Since then in the journey, she started sharing encouraging words “looks like we are going to be there on time”. We reached at 8.05 AM and I took a picture and shared it with my wife. After all, I had to prove a point beyond reaching the destination point.
The same evening I had to pick up my elder daughter on time and I decided to impress her with the latest song of Runaway 34 by Arijit. We both enjoyed the song. I noticed that she was listening to it and later told my wife about the song.
Maana raste raat padi hai
Par tu jaane hogi subah
Maana chalte saans chadhi hai
Par na haara dil yeh tera
Din bhale bure jo mile dhal jaayein
Talte talte mushqilein tal jaayein
Soche kyun tanha hai, mitra re
Tera bhi toh khuda hai, mitra re
Soche kyun tanha hai, mitra re
Tera bhi toh khuda hai, mitra re
Mitra is a Sanskrit word that means “friend.” It is a combination of the root words, mi, which means “destruction,” and tra, meaning “protective force.” The term is best explained as a friend who protects you from harm, guides you through the right path, and brings you happiness.
The tree above is called the Tabebuia tree, also called the trumpet tree, and is a spectacular showy flowering tree with pink flowers. The tree thrives in hot climates where the deciduous trees add colour, and strong fragrance, and add beauty to garden landscapes. I wanted to thank my friends ( Mitra) Spotify, song artists, car service agency ( they did a good job), and finally my family. All the people who made the job of a Dad very easy on a Saturday morning and evening. Interesting how these two short road trips helped me express through a blog how I felt about the day. I understood one thing.