I pressed down at the accelerator with all my might, with the other foot inches away from the brake, should things go out of control.
The engine whirred as if ready to shoot off like a missile into the space!
The car jerked wildly, lurched forward, ready to begin its journey, but seconds later the engine puttered and died down, greeted by cheers and cat calls from the audience.
Nah! Am not a NASCAR driver!
Neither are the audience the sophisticated spectators of a sportscar rally!
It is me and my car, stuck in a rainwater filled pothole, whose depth I had grossly miscalculated by several inches, not that I had any way of knowing.
The spectacle was being witnessed by men who had no business in my affairs but always took out time to enjoy a hapless woman’s plight. They seem always to materialize out of nowhere whenever one such woman is driving and is caught in some traffic or road intricacies.
I am driving in the city, which is known to the world to help organizations to move to the cloud, but somehow in its weird frame of governance, had never been able to maintain the roads before nature’s cloud closed in over it.
The audience, however, is omnipresent and are to be found in other cities as well.
I have been driving for more than a decade, a good, rule following, driver I am.
But if I ever have trouble negotiating a treacherous road, a traffic snarl, parallel parking, invariably I will see such folks stop to enjoy my discomfiture. The smug, the sneer, the mock, all evident from their expressions and gestures.
Why would folks take so much of pleasure at someone else’s, not known to them and never will be, discomfort. What do they get out of it? I often wonder but have never been able to figure out.
Once when I was slow to start off, when the light turned green, there were loud honks from all side, and the traffic police rapped at my window, and told me that women like me hold up traffic! On another occasion when I thought I would be able to cross the intersection when it was amber but couldn’t because a fella in a creaky cycle decided to float up in front of me, I again got a rap on my window and this time was told that women drivers like me always try to jump the light.
On taking a U turn, I perhaps might have taken a wider turn than a sharp one and was told that I lack finesse in handling the car.
I have been squarely blamed for traffic snarls, because evidently, I had not been quick enough to move my car through the narrow space created for a second between a bus and a truck, or wasn’t bold enough to bump out another car and move ahead, or perhaps stopped to give way to another vehicle.
If I happen to have one inside my car as a fellow passenger, I am asked to reduce my speed or flick the indicators miles before it is intended. Earlier in cars with stick, there was this added sermon as to what the correct gear should have been. Thank god, one discourse less!!
And the attention I would draw while trying to park in a narrow lot!
Anyway, back to my hapless plight, not one from the audience did really step in to help me out of the muck filled hole. I stepped out of the car to check the damage to my bumper and how deeply embedded are the wheels. The sight despaired me. The left front wheel was three-fourths into the hole and the right front wheel seemed to be off the ground. There was a pile of stones on the roadside and reversing did not seem possible.
As I stood pondering over my situation and thinking whether I should continue to try the same way, stamping on the engine, audience be damned, I heard a voice from heaven.
Ma’m, please start your engine and we will push your car. That will help you get out of the pothole, but be sure to move right quickly so that the left rear wheel doesn’t fall into the hole.
There were two young boyish adults, with rucksack on their back, on fancy bikes, probably on their way to college or tuition, who decided to help me out.
I nodded. I had never liked being in centre stage, and I usually blank out in such situations and thus wanted to grab any help forthcoming.
I started my car and prepared to press hard on the engine. I didn’t have to use all my might this time. With the push from two able bodied humans, the car very easily lurched forward. I remembered to turn right quickly to avoid getting into the hole again and was out of the woods. Aaahh!
I looked back to thank the two boys, but they were well on their way!
Well, there is goodness in the world!
In spite of being in situations of mockery, I can perhaps think of many more situations, where I have got help, which perhaps outnumbers or shadows the mockery.
I can remember now of a situation, when I was in a traffic snarl (may be caused it), and someone stepped in, stopped several vehicle and paved way for me to move out.
Once when my car, would not start at a traffic light, I got two of our uniformed representatives, push my car till it did and they did so on their own.
I have had help in changing the car tyre and so many more ….and I have had so many of those parking lot agents taking over from me to park my car.
Well, I will accept all the sneers and mockery which come along as I navigate through treacherous roads, as long there is goodness in the world!!
Sounds familiar, ladies!!