If you ask me to pick the top most thing that connects me with my FIL, it is our car. My Alto that I took along with me when I joined his family.
I have been driving car since my college days and quite comfortable with Indian driving style. As a matter of fact, I feel more connected with driving at India than in US. A colleague was so shocked with this statement that he says every time he sees me he can only think of driving as I am the first one to chose Indian driving over US driving.
I love changing gears and to move the car in second gear. Driving in busy streets gives me that adrenaline rush. I love bring a chauffeur to extended family when they visit us. Dropping and picking up from bus stands and train stations. I love driving Amma to T.Nagar. I love adjusting the front passenger seat for her. Knowing all this, my family gifted this car for my marriage so its easy for me to move around in Chennai after marriage.
I have been actively using the car for the first two years but then life happened and we moved to US. My FIL who doesn’t know how to drive until then, learned to drive just to keep the car under condition. He maintains it all through the year so I can use it during my India visit. He does full service to the car and keeps it ready right before I land at India.
He has a pillow on the driver seat and reminds me every time to use it as we both are short and according to him the pillow will help to have better clarity of the sides. He comes near the driver side when I start the car and gives me instructions every single time, reminds me of all the pits and holes in neighborhood, how to avoid it and how to stay focused while driving.
He would clean the exteriors and keep it ready if he knows I am going to take the car out. He has followed this routine every single day when I was taking the car to work for few months during the short stint at India in 2013. He would remind me duly about fuel refill. He will keep track of the kilometer details.
After they moved to our hometown, my parents started using the car for important occasions and yesterday Amma was saying how he always hand over the car with the fuel tank fully filled.
All this by a man, who has never used the car for his own needs, not even once. He is happy and content with his TVS XL Super for local needs and takes bus or train to travel out of town.
The car was parked opposite to our home for past one week and we decided to sell it soon as that is the most sensible thing to do in current situation.
I took it out yesterday to run some errands. It was only when I started driving. I realized that this car is an emotion to me. And my mama has only made this emotion very deep with his care and actions. I just couldn’t hold back my tears while driving yesterday recollecting all the details I have written in this post. The emotion hit me hard. My car is my pride.
Thanks to you mama, wherever you are to help me own this pride for 15 long years.
I will miss this Alto guy and my mama whom I have known for 15 years and who have only given their best to me!!
I never imagined in my distant dream to part them forever in 2019! My India trip will never be the same!