Mind Management is the essence of Life Management

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Blogging....?? I don't do that anymore....

is what I say when people ask me... It's actually been ages, in fact, to the extent that it feels quite alien typing anything other than email!

'Lateral thinking' clearly flew out of the window right after the MBA...Well, one still ponders, but it is rarely non-work related, or life related...Writing was always my own space.. and the fact that I say 'was' shows I haven't given it the rightful due over the past couple of years...

So, what's interesting this year? Well, my driving test for one..Interesting, maybe even a little embarrasing taking it at this juncture! But that's the story of life, my friend..No matter wherever you've driven on this planet.... in the UK, you've got to prove your mettle...

So, this is what they make you do - take the theory first, to prove to the world, that you're as smart as an 18 year old (1000 reference questions for study, and a computer based 2 hr test is by no means casual!)...and then... take the practical (maybe a couple of times, given that the pass rate is a mere 28%) to let you know that you've been doing it wrong all your life!

Truly amazing, isn't it? OK, so how great is that from a confidence boosting perspective..

On the positive side, it makes you feel you're still being taught...:) And yes! the fun part are the actual driving lessons...

Enter Walter.... my very kind instructor..Nice guy, always smiling, but an absolute dictator when it comes to pointing out my flaws...The first time he screamed at me when I signalled left without checking the mirrors (will come to that in a minute), I thought in my head "No one.. talks to me like that!" (Well, not since secondary school, that is)..

But it's a good in a way though, keeps some degree of naiveness alive in you...Also teaches you to be patient...I mean, under what other circumstances would you allow anyone to speak to you in that tone? (Except for the boss ofcourse, but guess what - everyone has bills to pay!)..

Well, anyway, back to procedural driving, UK is a different ball game altogether...they'll fail you for not checking your rear view mirror before touching the brakes (Unless of course, you're the Sultan of Brunei driving on the road you own)..and for not checking it every 10 seconds!

"Pull over somewhere safe" is different to "Pull over on the left"! With the first you can take your time and look for a definitive "safe" place, with the latter - you have to do it at once! (And NO! you never ever pull over on the right or anywhere else - this is the UK remember?)

And yes! you don't get to decide how you hold the steering wheel or how you move it - you can only "push with one hand while pulling with the other"..Crossing your hands is a 'fail', and so is holding the wheel in any other manner than specified...and never ever take one hand off the wheel...(even if a bee flew in through the window and stung you on the nose)..

Based on the route to be taken, you need to judge your lane atleast 500 meters in advance (sometimes even ahead of that), and move in. Sorry mate... you're not allowed to change lanes at will - that's a 'fail'! So, what I am supposed to do - rehearse each and every route in my head a dozen times - then I'll be like the "Tom-Tom" lady...great!

"Take the next road on your right", and I almost turned into a street, which I realised was not a road (Trust me - these are two different things!). How was I supposed to know, that the "street" infact was not a road! It looked like a road and felt like a road.... had all the other attributes, and definitely led somewhere - but hey, it was not a road...

"Well...Did it have a name? Did it have any markings" - Walter asked, "then how can you say it's a road".. - Well, maybe someone just didn't like it enough to give it a legitimate name - not my fault!

Excellent.....! Now I need to take English lessons as well...maybe a separate 'Driving language course', and I wouldn't be surprised if I actually found one in London....

And then, the worst happened..Britain was completely snowed out this winter, and guess what driving test was scheduled on the very day, the met office announced the roads were too dangerous to drive!

An early morning call to the test centre clearly ruled out the possibility...this couldn't be happening, I thought..Now I have to brace myself again for another day! Not great news, given that I had been braving the London winter for early morning practice lessons every Saturday ...Many a times, I have actually turned the ignition on with the DIS showing sub-zero temperatures, while it was still dark outside!

The Driving Standards Agency finally decided it would fair for me to have a test date 4 months later (No questions asked!), and ...that I need to do it all over again - including the lessons!

So, after a couple of months, I have taken to the wheel again....Not ideal, considering that I just got back from my holiday in India, which, has completely shaken my driving fundamentals to the core! I was actually overjoyed this morning when I managed to correctly differentiate between the brake pedal and the accelerator....

So, how will I ultimately fare? Well..that's a story for another day...:) and I do owe myself a success story..after all the due diligence, and dedication....!