There are so many small hurdles in life, which once crossed, makes you have that awesome feeling. This is one such incident that I’m narrating.
Some things that we learn while taking our first driving lessons stay with us till eternity. Much of our mannerisms, attitudes and driving habits are derived from those who have taught us the trade, or whom we have seen driving for a long time. And one such habit is driving with or without shoes on.
I got my driving licence in 2001. And since then, whichever car I’ve driven were without my shoes on. Driving with bare legs always gave that extra feel of comfort and closeness to the car. And once that feeling sets in to a driver, it is very difficult to kick that habit.
Think, for years, I used to wear formals to office, wear neatly polished shoes from home, and the moment I sit in the driver’s seat, I take them off. And once I pull the car into the parking at office, I have to spare the trouble of pulling them up again. Tough! But being used to it never had any complaints.
It was then that I began to realise the small fad that was affecting the overall pleasure of driving. Like, when going for long drives, or I need to stop in between a journey to pick something from wayside, I needed to find the extra time to plug in my shoe, tie the lace, and after the walk around, come back to the driver’s seat and wear it all over again.
So, after 12 years of driving with the nude leg, I decided to try my luck with my shoes on.
The first attempt was on a day when I was returning from office. I had parked my car and had gone to the nearby supermarket to get my daily dose of household goods. Back into the car, I decided to take the chance. I had the urge to take off my shoes and drive the normal way, but controlled it.
Soon, I put my foot on the accelerator, for the first time with shoes on.
A special feeling struck me, maybe, one of the same kinds, which were there when I took my place behind the wheel for the first time. I could feel the shiver in my foot once again, the same way it was there long time ago. I placed the foot with the shoes on the accelerator.
There was a big vroom, a sudden take off, followed by abrupt breaking, accompanied with smell of burning rubber and curious onlookers.
The first attempt at drive with shoes on was an epic fail, like most of Srilanka’s Cricket World Cup adventures before 1996. I didn’t wait much. I went back to the mode I was more familiar with and spent the rest of the drive introspecting what went wrong with the trial.
I went to sleep the night with a resolution that whatever happens, the next drive would be with shoes on, and every drive after that too.
So, the next morning, all set for office, I was ready with shoes on.
This time too, there was a jerk the moment I touched the accelerator. The personal feel that we get with our bare legs just was not there. It was just too much of an alien feeling. But whatever happened, I was not going to give up at this. It was one of those drives that people who are in the first week of their driving classes would have done. Too many shudder and judder. And it would have been quite fun for people outside to see.
Some time into the drive, it was almost back to normal. I didn’t realise that I was driving with my shoes on until I reached the office. I suddenly realised that I had just cleared a huge burden off my shoulders – I could now drive with boots on.
This was when I realised that no challenge can be conquered unless we give it a try. And there is no greater feeling than relishing a challenge that is achieved and won over, however small it is. I could see that there was no much difference in the actual driving experience. The attitude and the desire to innovate mattered most. Unless I had tried it, I was not going to know how good it was. From that day onwards, all my drives were with shoes on – with the same confidence, self-assurance and poise that was there over the years.