Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ghonchu drives a car

Ghonchu proudly stood outside his new (old) car and got his photo clicked. And then came the hard part. He sat in his car and attempted to drive it.

He turned the key and his car sputtered to life, “Vroooom”. He prayed for blessings and then put his left foot on the clutch. His hand shook unsteadily while putting the car in first gear.

His right foot pressed the accelerator as Teachu, his instructor had taught him. Press the accelerator and release the clutch gently, he knew. He tried doing just that.

Dhoop!” The car stopped with a jerk.
Ghonchu looked sheepishly at Teachu sitting next to him. Teachu encouraged him calmly, “Don’t worry! This was bound to happen the first time. Try again.”

The car roared to life again. “Vroooom”.

“Press the accelerator and release the clutch gently”, Ghonchu repeated in monotone as though memorizing the words. He pressed the accelerator ever so slightly and as gently as a falling leaf, released his foot off the clutch.
Dhoop!” The car reacted the same way as the last time.

Perspiring, Ghonchu tried again. Teachu maintained a stoic silence looking dead straight. Ghonchu remembered the words, “Why do we fall? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.” He mentally replaced them with “Why do we stop? So that we can learn to start.

Teachu advised, “give more race (press the accelerator more)”.

Ghonchu did as suggested. “Vroooom” said his car again on turning on the ignition. But it kept silent on pressing the accelerator. Timid as a rabbit, Ghonchu whispered in anguish to his teacher, “the accelerator is not working!”

Teachu, then for the first time looked carefully at Ghonchu’s feet, sighed as a coach whose pupil had thoroughly disappointed him and looked straight ahead.

“The brake is the one in the middle, and accelerator is the one on the right.”

Mortified, and with his face as red as a ripe tomato, Ghonchu corrected his feet position and tried again. The accelerator roared this time, “vroom, vroom, vroooooooom.”
Ghonchu exulted in delight as a naked Archimedes might have once done. The car began to move forward. In his delight, he had missed the passerby who was about to cross the road in front of him.

  • The accelerator screeched, “vroooom”.
  • The passerby screamed, “aaaaaaah”.
  • Ghonchu turned as white as a sheet. He screamed but no noise came out of his mouth. He had lost his powers of speech.
  • Teachu sharply brought the hand-brake into play.
  • The car stopped few inches before the passerby.

The passerby had turned into stone in the middle of the road. Ghonchu started trembling like an aspen leaf. Teachu mopped his brow.

The stone gradually returned to life and crossed the road mumbling a few obscenities which Ghonchu did not understand as they were in Telugu. Teachu added a few of his own which Ghonchu understood perfectly.

The aspen leaf realized he was sweating from all sorts of awkward places. His seat now needed drying. He relinquished control of the car to Teachu (who blissfully unaware sat in Ghonchu’s seat) for the remainder of the journey.


Enough time has elapsed. Ghonchu now understands the difference between brake and accelerator and is able to successfully drive his way around without hitting pedestrians.

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