The first few days I simply luxuriated in the sheer joy of having nothing to do, no schedule to follow. Finally “I could do whatever, whenever I wanted!!” But when you have been a working woman most of your adult life it is tough to come out of the quagmire of targets to be met and lists of things to do. So, along expected lines, I was soon craving for challenge. My head was brimming with the longest list of must do’s and can do’s. I definitely did not want to look back and rue about the months I wasted.
I could take on my long neglected role of “domestic goddess”, I mused. I definitely needed to brush up on my near extinct driving skills. I could pick up some basic dancing skills and stop making a fool of myself on the dance floor. After years of writing stiff reports about school events, I could now channel “my writing skills” towards more creative stuff. I wanted to reconnect with old friends, make new friends, join a book club…. Phew!!! Simply thinking of all the juicy possibilities gave me an adrenaline rush.
My domestic diva phase began on a promising enough note. Like a brave warrior I climbed atop ladders, cleaned fans with grim determination, brought down curtains, vanquished imaginary cobwebs, re-arranged closets. I nearly killed myself trying to perfect my act.
Mission : accomplished
Conclusion : Household chores is hardly a self elevating experience. The nagging backache lasts longer than the euphoria of a gleaming house. Besides the fact that nobody else seems to notice or care.
It was time now to move on my next plan of action. Gurgaon, the Millennium City where I live, hardly lives up to its sobriquet. On the one hand it boasts of glitzy malls, swish housing complexes, snazzy restaurants but on the other, it is still saddled with prehistoric infrastructure and a public transport system which exists largely in the imagination of our politicians. So, one has to rely on one’s own driving skills to move around, which I have not honed due to my so-called lack of time. Actually, truth be told, I have always been a jittery driver. Whenever I see traffic approaching, I simply let go of the steering wheel and expect the car to maneuver itself out of the mess. Ratan Tata, are you reading this??? And to top it all my husband insists my driving borders on the homicidal. I have the proclivity to run over hapless pedestrians and if they are still alive, living their uneventful lives, it is thanks to his timely intervention. So it was time to relive my nightmare again. I had to hit the road and upgrade my driving skills.
My first driving lesson was a nightmare. My smart alec of an instructor threw me to the lions on the first day itself. I was expected to drive on the mean main roads and maneuver around tricky roundabouts and traffic junctions. Heart beating fast and mouth getting drier by the minute, I blindly followed his instructions and somehow managed to stay collision-free.
I have been driving for ten days now. I still hold my steering wheel too tight, my gear changing skills are far from perfect, and to make it worse, my instructor jabbers non -stop. Yet I got an inadvertent compliment from a fellow learner. He wanted to know why his driving was so full of mistakes while mine was so effortless. I nearly choked with emotion and ended up giving an “Oscar” speech. The fellow is still recovering from shock.
The last few weeks have been more challenging than rewarding. I have been thrown out of my comfort zone. Each day reveals my good, bad and ugly sides. My self-esteem ‘rocks’ like the stock markets, very erratic, touching more troughs than crests. But, hey! I am glad that there is nothing typical about my life now. I am like a child again, taking faltering baby steps, stumbling often but constantly discovering new things and relishing every moment.