The first outing i went after i landed in the US was with my friend and he had a Nissan Altima.. the moment i got in, i couldnt help but think that the car is real spacious.. Looking at the ease at which he was driving that car (seemed really big to me at that moment).. i couldn't help but be amazed and wondered if i could ever drive that way..
The worst thing about car riding is learning to drive.. I thought i knew how to drive.. (Well, I got certified by MDS).. but i was wrong!. Since i had an Indian license, i was allowed to rent a car.. and there it was.. the first car i ever drove in US, a Hyundai Elantra. With my friend beside me, i drove it around, half of the times getting scolded "Dont you know how to turn!", "Brake mat lagao!", "Tum U - turn kaise lete hon", "Marwawoge kya?" and a few other intense ones which i better avoid mentioning here.
Changing Lanes.. Looking at the rear view mirror, Applying brake, accelerating, putting on the Turn indicator.. doing it all at once.. made me think.. Driving in US is impossible.. I almost thought to myself.. "Enough is enough.. no need to drive".. But then, i realized "Driving is being free in US". If you want to be on your own, you have no other option.
So there i was.. driving another car the next time.. I got used to the Gaali's, but the frequency reduced now, since i started correcting my mistakes.. all it took was some practice. After renting a few more times, i thought.. "Its time.. Got to get my US license.. ".
Now.. if all this is on one hand.. the actual drive test is on the other.. My plan was to get both the learners and the drivers license on the same day.. The idea was good, but i scheduled my Drive test on a Monday. Now, one thing.. that people around here hate doing is waking up early on a Monday. Until that moment i never drove alone, i always had some one who knew how to drive beside me. So Sunday Night, i was calling all the people i know who had a drivers license to accompany me.. none of them agreed.. some even advised me against going for the drive test. Having no other go, I decided.. I have to go alone.. this time.
I borrowed a GPS from someone and on the D Day, started to the place. Now, that was the first time, i ever drove alone.. and used a GPS.. I said my little Prayer and started.. And, guess what i was driving?.. "A Nissan Altima". Now, all i wanted was a compact car, so that I could do parking and all easily.. but the rental place had none.. so i ended up driving an Altima, which is almost like a full size car.. I was a little worried.. nevertheless i made up my mind.. so didnt look back.. My Ego didn't let me turn back and i went ahead.. Since i never used GPS before i ended up taking a few wrong turns.. turning earlier than what the GPS indicates.. (It sure does take some time to get used to).
Long Story short.. i ended up clearing the exam and the drive test without any trouble and drove back to office.. taking a few more wrong turns in the process, thanks to the GPS. The days and months that followed, I drove cars of different models, categories.. on different road and climatic conditions in different states in US.. But when i look back.. i cant help but laugh at what all happened and what all i had to go through.. It is a memory.
PS: The list doesnt end there, i look forward to driving a lot more car models and adding to the list.. "Stay Tuned!"