After so many years of driving in India, this is the first time I did a solo long journey. Last Saturday I drove from Bangalore to Coimbatore on my own, non-stop for a total of 6 hours averaging at 70kmph.
I was a little apprehensive about it when I had planned it , because I haven’t done something like that before and I wasn’t sure how to handle any problems in my car, if that happens. But then I did not find an alternative option to leave my car with my sister, now that I ain’t using it anymore.
I started at around 8.45 am after a couple of eggs as breakfast. I decided to stop somewhere if I felt hungry. But then I just kept driving on and on and when I felt hunger I was close to my home town. So decided to just get there and have my lunch.
I have always enjoyed driving. But driving on my own with just me and my thoughts and my songs, and sometimes the lack of it, it’s like a meditative process. I loved it. I had a good old playlist which has always helped me with my driving and I used it this time too. I thought that after a non stop drive like that I would be sore. Thankfully a couple of stretches helped me with my stiffness. Now that I have done that I am a little bit more confident about my driving. And my good old car supported me like a champ that it is.
While on my quick trip to my hometown, my first niece (age 6.5 years) had this idea that she will accompany me back to Bangalore since her vacation had already started and stay here with me until her parents and my sister join me two weeks later. I rebooked my tickets after consulting everyone. But when the day arrived for me to leave along with her, my brother was more than worried. He was almost panicking to leave her alone with me. He sat me down and recited a big list of do’s and don’t’s. What to feed her, what to do while I take her out, what she might do and how I shouldn’t react etc. All the while I was rolling my eyes wondering what has got my brother’s pants in a twist. Not that I haven’t take my nieces on my own while I was there. She is totally comfortable being with me and she was ready to come and explore a new place, given that this was totally her own idea. And it is not that I don’t know how to handle my nieces and nephew and they all know that very well.
While I was having a fitful sleep on the bus I realized that this it the first time ever he is going to be away from his daughter for almost a week or, and if she wishes, more. He does keep going for his business trip for a day or two away from home but stopped being away for more than 2 days at a stretch. Irrespective of how active he is or isn’t in their studies or other activities, he needs their presence at home. And one or two weeks of one of his kids away might not have been a pleasant thing for him, I guess. I had to keep updating her status every one hour today after reaching my place so that he would be rest assured that she is safe and told him that these updates will reduce every day except for daily calls in the morning and evening 🙂 So far she is doing good because it is a new place and she is still exploring. No idea how things will pan out in a couple of days. There aren’t too many toys available at my place, obviously. But I do have books and my iPad with lots of games in it, which is more than enough for her, I hope. She is also planning to join me for the gym and watch me do exercises and probably take part in it too (wondering how that is going to go).
While on our way here in the early morning, the bus arrived quite early (close to 5 am) and I had to wake her up and get her ready to get down the bus and catch an autorickshaw to get to my place. All the while, I had an iron grip on her so that she wouldn’t wander away. Even in the autorickshaw, I wouldn’t let go of her. The moment we stepped in our apartment complex, I felt a big relief and was overcome with a sense of safety. I needed a familiar surrounding where I have people whom I trust and a place I have control over, to feel that she is indeed safe with me and that we made it through. That is when I realized my brother’s fear. No wonder he was panicking. And I didn’t realize how much difficult it must be for him or my sister in law or even my other niece to let go of my first niece to a surrounding totally different from their own in a totally different place, where they won’t be available for any emergencies. The cons of not being a parent. I don’t think my brother will let her be here for more than week if not less, but I will try my best to assure him that she is enjoying herself out here as long as she is here (and I don’t think he will be assured at least not in this trip, but I can definitely try) . She wanted a different experience for her vacation this year and I am planning to give her one to the best of my abilities.