For the very first time today, I drove on my own. I had a couple of choices. I could take public transport and after 2-3 changes, reach work. Or I could take the plunge, drop S at work, and take the car. With a little urging and a lot of, "Of course you can do it"s, I ventured out on my own. The high was like nothing I've ever experienced. I didn't think I'd even enjoy driving so much. I breezed through the National Highway 8, even touched 100kmph, reached the toll plaza to be greeted by a very pleasant attendant (it was almost as though he wanted to share my happiness), and reached work by driving through the horrible Outer Ring Road. Fortunately, I didn't stall even once on the 45 km route.
The journey back was quite different. I took the same route as I did in the morning. At one point, I'd already spent 1.5 hours in the car and wasn't even half way home. There was an accident on the road and it had blocked the traffic. It took me almost an hour to cross a 3-4 km stretch. Once I was out of there, it was a breeze again. I reached S' office and landed myself in a spot that I didn't want to be found in. After some manouevres that I would have considered complex even 24 hours before then, I managed to get out. All I wanted to do was celebrate my big first. But by the time we reached home, I'd already spent close to 3 hours driving non stop. While I was fully expecting my legs to ache, it was my head that gave me maximum trouble.
All said and done, I was thrilled. Thrilled to have successfully managed to get to and from work on my own. Thrilled to have not bumped into any car nor have anyone bump into me. (Those of you who've driven in the NCR will know that this IS a BIG deal!) I wasn't so thrilled at the guys who leered at me from passing cars, but it was better than what it may have been when I would have been standing at a bus stop trying to flag down an auto.
After driving around a little within Gurgaon and after never having driven the car with no one else in it, I figured I did know when to depress the clutch. (And to all people who believe the Tatas cannot make passenger cars that women can drive, I have to admit that I drive the Tata Indica Diesel with as much ease as I do a Santro Xing Petrol. Tata cars are not a pain to drive. Period!) After having been so used to riding a two-wheeler (including the big mobikes) for so many years, I finally managed to shift gears, quite literally.