Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My new toy!!!

It has been three weeks since I first took to the streets of Whitfield behind the wheel of my new toy - aka 'the old tin can'.

Its impossible to describe the freedom!! Me, the radio on, not having to explain to anyone where, why or when - I just go!!!!

I know it could all end in tears. The traffic is somewhat crazy but there is a sort of (lots of 'sort of' - nothing too definitive!) rhythm. Its like being in a sort of tribal dance - there are sort of unwritten rules of the road and a sort of code of behavior. A bit like the pirates code Captain Jack and his type sort of adhere too -  "Hang the code and hang the rules, they're just guidelines anyway." You just need to relax and go with the flow and expect turns, halts and the untoward. I actually think most people on the roads are extremely good drivers - for these roads and conditions. Their feel for the velocity and stopping speeds of other vehicles and their awareness of the width and turning prowess of their own vehicles is second to none. They wouldn't last long in the US or UK as road signs seem to go unheeded. The worst drivers I'd say are the expat gray Innova car drivers with their sense of entitlement and superiority a bit like the black cabs in London!

I won't be driving into town in rush hour, after dark, on the highway or long distances but for my normal everyday errands I am now on my own. For those other trips I will just hire a driver for a few hours. Wills and I were driving back from his cricket academy and one of our fav songs came on the radio as we got close to home so we drove round the complex a few times....couldn't do that with a driver!!

A lot of Indian women - returning from overseas/on assignment from overseas, drive so I couldn't really see why I couldn't! Its definitely helped having driven with a gear/shift stick in a previous life and on the left side of the road. Taking my driving test in London and driving the first time by myself from central London out of the city probably helps also!!

It's also good feeling like part of the melee and the mass and not like royalty in the back of the Innova, a mere spectator. To feel like I can actually look after my family myself, going to the grocery store, taking to dental appointments etc.etc. rather than being able to just direct staff is a bonus, I wasnt designed to be lady of the manor!

However I do realize I am not helping the local job market - we have no driver and a part-time maid. One of India's main resources is its many, many people, a lot of whom are skilled domestics. However as the hi-tech and call workers move into Bangers the cost of housing goes up. A few call center singles living in a house can afford more rent than a family of four with one bread winner doing domestic work. The domestics therefore want/need higher wages. At some point they price themselves out of a job and I've no idea what happens then. There is an upper limit to what I will pay for a maid - it's not as tho' I couldn't do it myself, the same for ironing, gardening and YES DRIVING!!!!

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