Monday, August 1, 2016

The 'driving' force

A sister-in-law sent this photograph to me last week. Yes, that is me, 6 years old, on an uncle's scooter back in NB. I still remember how I used to visit these neighbours almost every day, stand on the scooter and pretend that I could drive it. This was back in the early 90's, when there was no searching of imaginary characters on the mobile, or crushing candies in a virtual world, or teenagers - in general - did not have the money or permission to party till late at night and get drunk and kill each other. This was a time when even an extra pencil, a surprise chocolate, a Nonte-Fonte comic book were the luxuries we looked forward to.

But this post is not to reminisce about being an early 90's kid, neither about the pros and cons of allowing too much to the kids these days. This post is about finding an old dream, hidden somewhere behind the shelves of deconstructionism, post colonialism, feminism, and intellectualism. This was a dream I had since I was literally a child. I wanted to learn to drive.

the sudden reminder of this dream has somehow brought back a realization to me - that all that we want to do now are probably rooted in something we have always wanted to do. Though I can not remember for how long I have been wanting to learn driving, this photograph is just a reminder that I have actually wanted to do this for longer than I can remember. And this is, for some reason, a very strange realization for me.

If you are an observant female, then it is probably not new to you that women are ridiculed for their driving skills every where. That they are slow on the road, slow to take decisions whether to take a right or a left turn, slow to park or that cannot parallel park, and so on. The feminist in me has wanted to break all such notions, and show that it's not the gender that is bad in the task, but the pressure of certain expectations on the gender that make them do so. Why, women are supposed to be gentle and polite, soft and kind, submissive and understanding. And who does not know the the roads are unforgiving and do not care whether it's a man or a woman driving? Then if we prepare our girls to be submissive and want them to follow their gender roles, how can we blame them for being non-aggressive drivers? And don't the men raise their eyebrows half-a-mile if there is a woman on the road driving something 'manly' as an XUV?

But what I realized when I saw this photograph is that these aspirations and ambitions have been in me since long, much before I was aware of these hypocrisies and gender roles. And this is a relief to me, that my dreams and hopes and aspirations are not a product of the society. Rather, I have had them all along, and now I simply have a better reason to follow them.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Awesome! so have u begun driving yet?!