I still remember that day as though it was yesterday. It was about 10 years back. I had been driving for a while then but was new with a license and feeling quite invincible really. Though I had been driving to college and stuff, there was always a driver with me or my dad so my driving was never without supervision.
This incident happened on a Monday. My cousin sister had come over for the weekend and had to be dropped off at her college which was about 10kms from my place. Our driver was on leave and my dad was lazy. So he asked me to do it! Yay, Yippee, Yohoo. I was euphoric. Felt as though I had finally stepped into the ‘adult’ zone. Dad wanted ME to drop my little sister at her college. It was definitely one of my happy moments. I was bursting with joy but I maintained a calm exterior.
The trip to her college was a breeze. It was around 7.30am and traffic was pretty light. I felt comfortable and confident. It was a pleasant day and I had the windows down so I could feel the cool fresh wind caressing my face. One of my favorite songs was playing on the radio and I was humming along feeling on top of the world. After dropping my cousin on time for her class, I was rushing back home to get ready for my day.
As I crossed the last traffic signal and turned into the winding lane that connects to my street, an old ambassador car which seemed to be a taxi pulled up from one of the connecting lanes and slowed my speed by more than 50%. He was in no hurry and seemed to enjoy blocking my path. I was starting to feel annoyed and tried to pull up but was blocked by the car in front again. By this time, I was feeling pure rage and anger had blinded my senses completely. As I swerved to the right yet again to overtake him, I realized it was a curving road and I was right in the path of an oncoming car which seemed to be speeding towards me.
In that split second, I swerved to avoid a collision but ended up scraping the other car on my right side. The noise of the crash as well as the screeching of brakes remains etched in my memory till today. No one got hurt but both cars had substantial damage. I apologized to the other party and managed to drive the rackety car back home. Picking up the shattered pieces of my ego, I forced myself to walk into my house and go straight to my dad.
Slowly I narrated the entire incident to him and waited for an outburst. My dad loved his car and I only knew too well how it looked right now. After a moment of silence, my dad asked me if I was alright!! Surprised I told him that other than my ego nothing else was hurt. He smiled and told me to be more careful in future. I could not believe it!! He did not even raise his voice. There was not a hint of anger also. Tears welled up in my eyes and I asked him if he was not going to go and take a look at the damaged car. Smiling gently he replied that it was not important.
I walked back to my room in a daze. Closing the door, I analyzed my dad’s reaction to the accident. I realized how devastated I would have been if his reaction had been severe. His mature handling of the situation made me understand the importance of dealing with youngsters sensitively.
That one memory remains with me to this day and each time I recall my dad’s gentle words I feel the tears welling up in my eyes and I say a silent prayer of thanks to my dad!!