Only the sad part is the Patriarchal set up associated with lady drivers, its wrong to think that women can’t drive,they do not have direction sense. Driving a vehicle is considered to be a male bastion and no entry sign board for women drivers is still being often displayed blatantly. Why such tags are attached to lady drivers? How many times have you seen a lady driver gate crashing, trespassing, with blaring horns or glaring scorns!! Points to ponder.
Yes, “Necessity is the mother of all inventions”,this saying came true for me when i took to wheel only when it became a compulsion for me, though i had learnt driving long time back.
Initially a bit reluctant to take new paths or routes, not shifting gears, first gear was my favorite, but now i am confident, if armed with directions and ground work along with GPS enabled data system, well now the latest trend is that the cars are also running on auto-gear also, to make the task of the drivers easy.
But people still look at lady drivers in amusement and wonder and even doubt our capabilities despite of the fact that the lady driver is more cautious and vigilant while driving, unlike her most of the male counterparts who indulge in rash and drunken driving . It does pinch you at times when people are unable to accept a lady as a driver and your co-driver being a male. It happened to me few days back , while driving home with my father as my co-driver, my maid came up to me and asked ” Madam your papa does not know how to drive, why are you always driving and he sitting?!!!!” which left me and my daddy dearest frowning and speechless, because he has not just driven light motor vehicles but also the heavier ones, but certain mindsets cannot be changed so why to argue rather just prove yourself.
Friends at functions or late night parties often out of curiosity or concern advice me “that you should not drive so late”, or “should have hired a cab”. Things become slightly irritating when they doubt the driving skills of ladies to an extent that they ask silly questions such as , “how you negotiated such chaotic traffic” or how will ladies follow the directions. How can driving be gender specific? Yes one thing which one will not see in lady drivers is: the use of abusive language and we do not throw our weight around as if we dominate the roads.
In many cities still, people view the women drivers in poor light. Seeing a lady driver still gives them a sense of superiority and as if they wield the authority . This is a common societal assumption, at least from my own experiences.
Along with removing the sun films from the cars it is also important to remove the tint with which society views the women drivers.
Well, for young women of today there should be compulsory driving classes along with self-defence training.
Earlier the notion must have been that driving is a forbidden territory for the women but in some places even today, it still is!! but, it is the need of the hour to empower the women with driving skills also.
Acquiring my learners licence at 18, i actually got the chance to drive when my father was posted to field. The driving classes were poles apart from what actual driving was. Here there were no extra clutch or brakes on the co-driver’s side and i was solely the captain of my ship. But it was not easy to get my driving licence though. The whole activity of acquiring it was more like a drill and appearing for my board exams, there was sense of deja vu.
The day i appeared for it, along with me my entourage which included my parents, cousins and uncles. There was a thorough knowledge testing from viva, practicals to theory. The questions like, how to change a flat Tyre, to how to open the nuts was’ driving me nuts.’ From coolant level to engine oil to hazard lights to use of indicators, i was bombarded with all sort of Multiple questions.
And finally after hard labor i received my driver’s licence , yes which i could proudly display and associate with my sweat and blood. I passed with flying colours, my happiness new no bounds and i gave my thanks giving speech, in which i thanked my parents, my family and my dog as well. But on the serious note, i did not value my driving as a teenager but down the years i have realised the value of being on the Drivers’ seat and for this i give the credits to my mother, who always insisted me to drive rather being on the back seat. She does not know how to drive, after few failed attempts she gave up but made sure i learn it.
Self-driving has helped me to become more independent, travel safe, blossomed my confidence, navigate traffic, zip through streets. Once you start maneuvering, shifting gears you become the master, as reins of you vehicle are in our own hands.
Driving is lot like parenting, where to learn it one has to actually do it. I really appreciate and admire the way women in Chandigarh drive their two-wheelers, it truly represents our women empowerment unlike many other metro cities, where things will take a bit longer to accept the women as drivers.