Motoring

‘I picked up the basics in a week’

I love to drive. My first car was an Ambassador; since in those days that was the brand that dominated our streets. We had limited choices then. I was probably 13 or 14 when I bought my very first car, once my acting career began. I still remember the number plate: CAB1191.

I did not qualify for a driving licence then, but did learn driving for essaying characters who could drive in films. Most cars were hand-geared and learning to drive was a little tricky, especially changing gears from the first to third. I picked up the basics in a week. We would go to Jalahalli HMT Quarters in Bengaluru, where the roads would be empty and had many stretches where I could learn to change gears, go over a speed-breaker, turn left and right and go in a circle. My mother also came to learn driving and picked it up with me.

‘I picked up the basics in a week’

I soon bought my second car — a Contessa. It was akin to buying a BMW in those days. I think I was one of the first women in the Kannada film industry to buy the car. One day, I took off in that car for a drive near Vasanth Nagar in Bengaluru and encountered a huge speed-breaker. I had to go really slow, else the speed-breaker would hit the car’s chassis and damage it. It was just my second time in the Contessa and I think I released the clutch a bit too early on the speed-breaker. The engine went off and I was stuck in a swinging car and panicked. This was in evening rush-hour traffic and traffic began building up.

My brother, who was sitting next to me, bombarded me with instructions: ‘Switch off the headlights;’ ‘Turn on the ignition;’ ‘Try and start the car again;’ and so on. I was petrified and just could not do it. That is one incident I still remember.

Today, I hate driving in the city. I stay in the heart of Malleshwaram and find that people do not follow traffic rules. They have issues with women behind the wheel. They assume women are bad drivers, try and cut lanes and keep honking. It is also tough to find parking space in the city.

I drive a Fortuner and have a Qualis too. But I prefer the Hyundai i10, as it is compact and fully automatic.

As told to Shilpa Sebastian R

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Printable version | Mar 1, 2021 7:50:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/motoring/i-picked-up-the-basics-in-a-week/article24087435.ece

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