Zero dependence on any one else. I could be where I wanted to be, when I wanted to.
In Bangalore that meant a lot. No more haggling with auto drivers, wondering if the ride was too short or too long for them to refuse me.
In a car everything seemed possible, looking back the make didn’t matter. I always felt uber powerful behind a wheel. You could help friends in trouble, get them in time to an interview, get them safe if they were drunk or take them on those calming drives when the world seemed to be closing in.
My first car was a Maruti 800.
The tiniest machine that ever could be made; but that fellow survived anything.
Be it the ten humans (or were there more?) that piled in on late nights, the speed limits I tested, and even getting filled with water (yup everything is possible on Bengaluru roads).
By the time I became a mother, my car had changed and so had its purpose.
But the Zen, it had earned my respect. Even when people delayed me at home, or at work, I knew my baby would zip me through anything.
When my nightlong pumping and feeding had not given me the returns I had expected, I knew I could trust my car to bring me home in time, right as the final bottle had run out.
And not to forget it was my Me-Time, my music-time, my calm-time, my scream-as-loud-as-I-want time.
It was MY space.
One that I didn’t share with a man or a child or never ending relatives and guests.
When my marriage was falling apart, it was my safe space.
There was no pretence in there.
In that time, for a short while, behind the wheel I was in control.
Sometimes, though, when the fear and worry, the loneliness and the pain took over and I found myself on the edge of the road, the car kept me safe and sane.
It gave me a space where I didn’t have to share my pain and grief with the world or my toddler.
And in those quiet drives, in teary eyed ones, in bawling angry cursing drives, I slowly found myself.
In making a choice of getting myself a car, in going to banks to process the loans on my own, in the small acts of making choices, finding answers and taking decisions, my car helped piece me back together.
And in the parking lot of the courts or the roads when I was stopped and threatened by an angry ex, felt followed and watched, the clicking sound of that central lock slowed my racing heart. My face learnt to feign confidence, as I trusted my car to hide my feet, shaking at the accelerator.
Being stopped on the roads to ask about my beauty, the newly launched Renault Duster, talking to random strangers, and being smiled at or being given a random thumbs up, the Duster gave me so many surprising moments.