Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Underage Driving in Delhi... and my problem with it

My son is 16 years old. When going to his tuition in the evening, you would see him either on a rickshaw or walking. Once in a while, I would drive in my car and drop him there.
It is unusual because almost every boy his age has a Scooty.

I don’t understand my own problems with underage driving.
I know that if a cop stops an underage driver, there could be trouble. I assume money is exchanged to solve this.
I know that God forbid, if another person is hurt by an underage driver’s vehicle, the driver (and the owner of the vehicle) would be behind bars. That’s what the law says at least.

I say that I don’t understand why I have such issues with underage driving is because these facts are known to everyone. Certainly, all the parents in my neighbourhood would know of these.
It doesn’t stop them from letting their kids drive.
My brother is younger to me. He self-learnt driving pretty early. There are stories that are exchanged over family dinners about how he took the keys and reversed the car out of the narrow parking space at a certain age, etc.
But until the day he got his driver’s license, I would not let him drive with me.
Same story as today. His friends drove. He would argue over the futility of not letting him drive. Etcetera.

I don’t think I have driven when he is with me since the day he got his license.

I don’t like driving given a choice. I drive quite a bit. Don’t usually have a choice.

Coming back to my son, he doesn’t argue with me over me not letting him drive. Most probably because I have been telling him for years now that I would not let him drive without a Driving License.
He does mention pretty often in the passing – “Going to tuitions would be easier with a scooty”, “I could have come to the market on my own for this book if I had a scooty”, and much more.

One of his friends recently asked me, “Aunty, why don’t you let him ride a scooter?”
The look in his eye told me that he already knew about my ‘unusual’ mindset.
So I gave him a smile and said, “Just be thankful that you don’t get lectures from me for riding one. You know as well as I do, how much trouble it can get you into. I pray that it doesn’t come to that ever. Now drop it.”
He smiled back.

I am so often tempted to preach to parents and kids about the risks possible.

Years back a neighbor of ours was triple riding with his friends on a bike. No helmets. And they were riding the bike on the wrong side of the road. They met with an accident and he smashed his head on the road.
He almost lost his life. Had multiple surgeries - Brain and Plastic. He never lost all the scars on his face though.

Another story I would tell people if I ever gave in to this temptation of preaching is of my father’s accident on GT Karnal road.
My father drives very safely. I have heard stories of his not-so-safe driving from his college days, but that’s another story for another blog post. I have always known him to be a careful driver.
So he was driving on GT Karnal road near Sonipat. Suddenly two guys (without helmets) came from the wrong side. They were to go to the narrow lane that lead to their village a few hundred metres after riding on this wrong side.
One of the guys died on the spot. It was my father’s driving license that kept him from getting arrested. He had to stay in Panipat for a couple of days after the accident, fought a court case for years, and was finally acquitted.

It is my fear of what if something goes wrong. It is a fear about which we can take some precautions.
And as I tell my son, it is just another two years.

Students in school uniform riding Scootys, scores of these vehicles parked outside schools, kids driving around with an arrogant dare-you-lecture-me look.


I am the one with the problem if I look around me.

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