Before coming to Hyderabad I had never driven a geared vehicle. I knew the theory, but had failed abysmally at the only practical I had tried before setting foot here (which (the foot, I mean) incidentally celebrated the sixth anniversary of being grounded-firmly-in-Hyderabad yesterday, and it seems highly unlikely that the-set-foot would budge). So it is established now that I was a novice at driving vehicles with gears, so let me carry on with the anecdote.
This took place before the bike-full days, when I was in first year. I was standing at the JNIDB bus stand waiting for 216 or 217 (I do not know if anyone else has noticed this, but don’t the buses come bunched together? For a long time no bus would make an appearance, and suddenly there would be a cameo appearances by multiple buses (I now think Sehwag is inspired by the Hyderabad buses – a series of small scores, and you miss the big knock if you miss half hour of the transmission on that particular day, any of the Sehwag knocks are invariably quick!)) to appear to go to Mehdipatnam. So another fact is established now – that I was waiting for transportation.
All of a sudden, a guy on a scooter stops near me and offers me a lift. Well, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth – soon I was riding pillion on way to Mehdipatnam. We had hardly cleared Gachibowli when he stops and asks me to drive; bewildered as I was, I realized I was at least a kilometer adrift of any bus stop, and to be honest his driving skills had not imparted me any confidence – so that time the only sane option I could think of was to accept his offer of driving and at least get to the next bus stop, Those were my very early days in Hyderabad and I was yet to encounter the wonder called shared-auto. So few stalled starts and many jerks-and-shakes later I was driving, the whole time the weirdo was grinning and humming some song. When he started talking non-stop once he was on the pillion, only then I realized that the guy was drunk. I did not have the heart to leave a drunk on road on a scooter, so I continued driving till Mehdipatnam. To say that it was an adventurous drive would be an understatement. Driving a geared vehicle for the first time in my life and that on an old highway! Thanks to the drunk on the scooter, with my first tryst at serious driving I had conquered the highway 🙂
So if I summarize, I can answer the question in four words – “a drunk helped me”; but I took 438 words… Talk about verbosity 😛