Sunday, July 16, 2006

Wherein I Fly Over

Yes, today, during my sixth driving lesson, I Flew Over. It happened in the same dreamlike way that all the driving episodes have happened so far -- nothing I can actually believe in. Not only that, but I even overtook someone -- admittedly, it was a tortoise of a vehicle, one of those limping, rattling, three-wheel jobs which crawls about in the fast lanes of roads like an arthritic hermit crab, so over-taking it was really at the level of a snail over-taking a pebble -- but STILL!!! It was a personal first. And then after that, there was another flyover and a couple of major roads.

Being unable to believe I am at the wheel continues to be a problem though. It's as if every morning begins with a dream, a rather tiresome and grimy dream in which cyclists and autorickshaws veer towards the car I'm in, and motorcyclists buzz me like curious hornets, then buzz away again when they realize that I'm some insane short-haired granny-type, attempting to learn to drive on their private Grand Prix racing strip, hahaha -- they're basically so juiced at the mere idea that they don't bother harassing me -- and half an hour later the dream ends with me waking up at the gate of my house. Weird. I am very good with speed-breakers in this dream, and I meekly turn left and right when told to by Mr Moccha. Back within the home colony, I drive one circuit around the little park in the centre and bring the car to a very friendly little halt at my gate.

But is this real life? I think not. Aside from being soaked in sweat once I'm back in the house, I don't consciously feel anything, neither fear nor pleasure, while driving around. Practically the only new bit of knowledge that has entered my waking life is the realization that other drivers, just like me when I'm at the wheel, can apply their feet to the brake pedal. Until I understood how easy it is to control the car (i.e., until I realized that a car will NOT behave like a startled horse and therefore will NOT rear, snort and charge down the road with the terrified driver clinging to its wheel) I wasn't even aware that this image (of the horse) was in my head. Now that I know it, I feel more benign towards drivers in general -- they are still crazy, incompetent and rash, but at least I understand a little more about how they negotiate the maze-in-motion that is urban traffic.

I'm even -- dare I say it? -- a little dazzled. There they are, these reckless motorists, slaloming about the roads, every day, playing their arias on their brakes and accelerators and all this while I had NO IDEA HOW THEY WERE DOING IT!! It's like being a blind person who has lived in a museum all her life and now suddenly can see -- yes, it's a wild museum, and chaotic, and the cause of many deaths (one a day, in Delhirium, I believe) -- but still: a kind of mad spontaneous public art.

The fact that the dream occurs every morning just after 8 probably explains why it's not nightmarish yet. Mr Moccha assures me however that next Sunday the final lesson will be in mid-afternoon and through traffic. But for the time being, well ... toot-toot, parp-parp and tallyhooooooo! Ah'm jus' chasing mah dream.

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