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I have a bucket list which had been conveniently ignored ever since the birth of my son. The procrastinator in me was hoping to hang on to the same when suddenly in the month of September, realization dawned (no, it wasn’t anything I ate, it just happened). What am I doing? At this pace I may just die at some shopping mall and no one will even know I existed. My bucket list had started glaring back at me. I had to take some initiative. The last time I remember taking some initiative was in the labor room. Let’s not go into that now.
In Oman, the entire journey from getting a learner’s book to the license is like a monkey maze with snakes and ladders in between. Before you get any ideas that this is anything close to interesting, let me remind you that the ladders are lined with fire and the snakes are King Cobras. I got the learner’s book after the eye test and signal test, which is a baby step towards the goal. And baby steps don’t count for adults.
Soon I found a trainer near the place where I stay, and when I went on my first driving session with him, he made me feel so nostalgic, I couldn’t believe my ears. He sounded exactly like my parents when I was 17 and they were pushing me to clear the entrance examination. Sweet! I knew I was in for a rough ride. But there was no looking back.
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I got the license yesterday, so I want to share with you the invaluable gems of wisdom I happened to get in the process.
2. Time is everything, so is timing. Never make the instructor wait for you.
3. The instructor will talk. You will listen. That is how it works.
4. You must be a veteran in the art of how not to convert your thoughts into words.
5. The argument that you have only one pair of eyes will stay in your head. Forever.
6. Traffic signals can’t see you. They don’t get it when you are giving it a deadly stare.
7. No matter how long you've been driving, you just cannot spare a moment to check your hair in the rear view mirror. You may have done your hair and make up in India when cows in slow motion where crossing the road, but that simply does not apply here.
8. If your instructor is checking Facebook or WhatsApp chats on his phone while you drive, it does not mean that he trusts you. Remember, his foot is firm on the brakes.
9. Silence is golden. Always scream internally.
10. Always say ‘Sir’ at the end of every sentence spoken to the instructor. It goes a long way.
11. If he says you touched the white line, you probably did. Always agree with him.
12. When he is mad at you, shut down your mind and keep driving. Do not restart it.
13. Even if your enemy is trying to cross the road, let him. Chill, you will get better opportunities.
14. Parking between the lines is not as easy as reading between the lines.
15. You are allowed to swell with pride when you get that parking right between the cars. Unfortunately nobody appreciates good parking and you don’t get any brownie points. Life is a bitch.
16. Do not check your eyebrows while waiting at a signal. Traffic signals are evil they sense it and suddenly turn green.
17. ‘Orange’, ‘Amber’ and ‘Yellow’ are the same when it comes to traffic signals. It means DANGER.
18. Do not stop or reduce speed for the pigeons. Their lives are suspense thrillers. Yours is not.
19. When you drive, anything he eats sitting next to you may smell tempting. Do not look. Try not to think about it. Never drool.
20. When he is drinking hot coffee, continue driving normally. We are not authorized to change anybody’s destiny. If anything untoward happens, refer points 3 and 9.