Four years ago, when my then-boyfriend-now-husband and I decided to buy a car, I took driving lessons costing a whooping four thousand bucks. Everywhere else it cost half the price but this included "theory classes" and a couple of "simulations" before the actual on-road driving. I felt like I needed these extra lessons, for I've never been part of the traffic except as a cyclist, which doesn't really count for much.
I was doing ok in the first couple of classes, albeit a bit nervous, acutely conscious of the fact that my instructors probably looked at me and thought to themselves, "There goes another lady driver on the streets!". On the third or fourth day, it was a class on uphill driving. I struggled and I struggled and I struggled. The instructor was quite vocal about his disgust and said that women like me should not be allowed on the streets. A few classes later, I had to take a break to get married. I finally managed to finish my 10 classes in about 3 months time!
Then it was time to take the test. As expected, I did badly in the orals. Come on, it's hard to remember all that stuff inside the bonnet and their functions!! What am I, in school? Duh! Then the actual driving. Guess who was the invigilator for my driving test? The guy from my uphill driving class. Fuck! I was sure I would fail. So, we got started and he was very keen on making me show him my (lack of) skills in uphill driving. Needless to say, he was not thrilled to bits. He didn't say anything, just made notes in his book as he made me reverse, turn left and right, shift gears, etc.
Half an hour of driving later, we got stuck in bad traffic. I was pretty sure I'd failed and I was getting late to office. I started to get tense. A narrow two-way lane and there was choc-a-block traffic in one direction, barely enough space for a two-wheeler or, at worst, an auto-rickshaw to pass the other way. At the moment, I was too tense to consider asking my instructor for help. I forgot that he was in the car with me. After pondering for a moment, I took the plunge. I decided that I did not have time to wait for the traffic to clear. It was those days when I used to believe in 'facing my fears' and shit like that. A good 20-minute ride, during which I manouevered the car over footpaths, around trees, bikes, other cars, autos and buses, narrow lanes, we finally reached the driving school.
The instructor who was quiet all along, told me that the test was over. It wasn't even an hour yet, so I was pretty convinced that I had failed. I didn't care, I just wanted to get to work. If I had to come back another day for my test, the sooner I got out of there, the better. He looked at me and informed me that I had passed. Sorry, what!?! "I am not very happy with the results of your oral test and you need to work on your uphill driving. However, I will pass you in the test because of the amazing last bit of driving you did. Some of my instructors could not have done that", he said. Coming from him, it was high praise. The happiest moment of all my driving experiences!!
This morning, I spoke with a friend of mine and asked what 'consumables' meant in car terms. Oil, filters, brake pads, light bulbs, spark plug, etc. Shit! Consumables! Not goodies, not chocolates. I'm glad I checked before I called the service centre to ask them not to provide me any 'consumables' and bill it to my service anymore. Phew!