2009. Yes, that’s how long back this story goes. When I first set foot in the US soil, I thought let me give the people here a marana bayam by driving on their roads. But then, everything was upside down. Left became right. Three pedals became two. Gears went missing. And, I became pregnant with twins. See, I told you everything was upside down.

Anyway, I was not one to give up. So, two months after they were born, I gave my first knowledge test. (Yeah, first. Because, there are many more coming.) And, I failed. I came back crying. What? I had never failed a test in my life yaa. This was a first. My mom was here with me and she promptly blamed it on the hormones; both the test and the tears.

A few months later, I took the test again (second time!) and I passed. And then, I started to prepare for my road test by driving alongside the husband. He is a very patient man, the husband. You must’ve guessed it by now knowing that he’s surviving a eight year marriage to me. But just reiterating. Despite the non-panicky husband, learning to drive a car with two little babies strapped behind in their car seats is like walking a tight rope. Anyway, I must’ve practiced with him for about a month when someone told us the road test is waived for anyone with a India license. You must be thinking I already must’ve had a India license. But no.. I was traveling to India in the next two months and thought getting a license there would be easier. So, off I went to India.

I did get a DL in India. But. My life is filled with buts. When I returned, we had decided to move back to India for good. So I spent the next few months tagging along with the husband/neighbors instead of going to the DMV. But then, we did go back home for good. Only the good lasted a four and a half years.

Cut to 2015. We moved back to Dallas. Within two months of moving to Dallas, I did take my knowledge test. Third time, if you haven’t yet lost track. I passed. Unlike here, the learner’s permit there was valid for an unlimited period of time. Which only meant one thing – procrastination. I did drive around with my husband by the side for sometime but then the novelty wore off. I started hopping on to ‘my’ seat next to him and became the GPS operator, the car DJ, the food supplier and the general ummm lazy person that I am.

Slowly, I started meeting new people and making newer friends. However, the conversation with everyone only meandered towards this.. ‘What? You don’t drive? That must be very difficult for you and the kids.’ That’s what they’d say. But it would always sound to me like this.. ‘What? You don’t have a hand? That must be very difficult for you and the kids.’ I really wanted to give the driving test but God knows what stopped me. Oh wait.. I know. Fear. Fear of failure.

Fall came. Winter came. Spring came. I gave the India vacation as an excuse. More to myself than to anyone else. Then, the move to NJ came. ‘I have an India license. So, may be, they’ll waive the road test this time. Let me go and take the test there.’ Idea Mani means me only. Two months later the move happened.

To be continued…