I drive

I’m a woman. I drive.

Why is this so hard for some men drivers to take?

While driving, my eyes are focused on the road, but I also notice a mother on a scooter with her kid.

I notice an old man trying to cross the road.

I notice a vendor trying to hard-sell his feather dusters, running erratically between cars at a signal.

I also notice the hooligans on bikes who zoom 100 km/hr hooting & screaming, trying to race each other playfully.

And the morons driving cars like they’re on race tracks and above all traffic rules.

After years of driving with a baby on board, I drive very carefully. I never speed, always go easy on speed breakers & pot holes and wait at signals when it’s red, even when other cars don’t care what color it is, as long as they can squeeze through. (Much to the disgust of the baby, which has grown up quite a bit)

I’ve been driving on the roads of Chennai for the past 14 years. And every day, there’s at least one angry male driver who is either intent on overtaking me or somehow bully me off the road.

The other day, a maniac honked away behind me and was so upset that I did not let him pass. After about 5-8 minutes of blaring his horn at my car &  baring his fangs at me, he got his chance. I had to stop at a signal. He changed lanes & zoomed away triumphantly, way above any speed limit.

Instead of feeling defeated, I could only laugh.

What’s your hurry? I wanted to ask him.

Why is it so important to overtake a woman driving? Is it an insult to your masculinity if you don’t? Unlike you, my dear stone age man, I drive to serve a purpose, instead of feeling powerful.

I drive my kid to school, to various after-school classes, for medical checks, my parents to the temple, aunts to shopping, my driving-challenged friends to the movies, drive myself to do some grocery shopping, so on and so forth.

And while I’m doing that, my focus is to get there in one piece. More than me, I feel responsible towards those traveling with me and want to make sure I get them safely home.

So I’m not interested in power-struggles on the road with men like you.

I don’t care if I win or lose these imaginary races you have with me.

If you’re so inclined to prove your masculinity with your wild & dangerous driving, remember this.

You only come across as a boorish bully, who’s a threat to those on the road.

I’m a woman. I drive.

Get used to it.

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8 Comments

  1. sachita said,

    February 5, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    here in US, people dont care abt the sex of the person behind the care.

    Though I am thinking based on the majority of driving jokes( all focused on one race – our neighboring country), there might be some racism based one – though I havent seen one.

    • padmaja said,

      February 6, 2014 at 6:16 am

      ya, i think there’s lot of latent or open chauvinism still widely prevalent in india… sad…

  2. maami said,

    February 6, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Hmm it’s been 25 years of driving and still it happens.
    http://maami.wordpress.com/2007/11/25/hot-wheels-and-durga-maami/

    • padmaja said,

      February 6, 2014 at 10:56 am

      oh, I must tell u what happened within hours of posting this. I was driving and thi electric blue semi SUV blared its horn right behind me. irritated, i moved out of it’s way & gestured for that moron to pass. the vehicle zipped past me, and guess what? a young woman with long billowing hair was at the wheel, showing her middle finger to me as she drove past! how ironic is that???!!!

  3. February 12, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Padmaja,

    I face the problem too – because I drive relatively slow compared to the rest of the mad drivers on our roads. It does not matter if it is a lady or not – as long as some one drives slowly and within speed limit – we get honked at.

    • padmaja said,

      February 13, 2014 at 11:15 am

      really? i thot i was a target because i’m a woman! but still, there shd be a law for these hooligans!

  4. Gita said,

    March 7, 2014 at 3:55 am

    Fully empathise! I’m a woman and I drive too :). The thing that irritates me most is that as the countdown reaches 10..9..8.. at the signals, the morons start blaring their horns at any sane person waiting for the green!

    • padmaja said,

      March 7, 2014 at 4:02 am

      I know!! I wish there was a time-out bench at every signal & we had robots programmed to drag these morons by their collars & make them sit in silence for half an hour without moving!!!


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