The Two Sides to My Love Affair

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There are two sides to the person I become when I take my position on the driver’s seat and become, in a figurative manner, one with my car. Even when I go weeks without driving, it takes only a second to find that the connection, the two-sided connection to my car, is still there and unbreakable.

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The first side is the untypical one, the one that is unexpected from any driver in the city of Lahore. It is the careful side. It’s the side that loves the car far too much to allow it to ever be hurt. Anticipating the car in front of me, behind me, or parked to the side are potential candidates for hitting and hurting it keep me from driving like a maniac, and to forewarn those idiots to stay away from us. The worst kind of imbeciles to save your car from are motorcyclists and rickshaw drivers. When weaving their way through the traffic, they only care about getting ahead and don’t give the slightest thought to other vehicles. Frankly, if it were up to me all motor bikes in Pakistan would be annihilated, but you just can’t have it all.

So, instead of annihilating motor bikes, I find myself comforting my car for every angry scratch it gets to its body, these scars that don’t heal. Us humans are so very lucky, but we take it so typically for granted.

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The other side comes out rarely but surely. When that Vigo owner in his huge car thinks he can just flash his light at me and get me to get aside, or that one motorcyclist manages to piss me off in a manner unique enough to eventually forget, that’s when the other, darker side decides to make an appearance.

I call it the Shodaa Larka side. I literally become an overconfident teenage boy who has just been handed the car keys. I will not give you way even if you switch lanes. If you were coming from the opposite direction and flashed your lights at me for no good reason, I’d bring my car actually in your way and stop it inches from your front bumper, and basically be a typical Lahori manic driver.

This can sometimes take the form of fun when the adrenaline rush takes over and the thrill of the speed and my skills as a driver (hard to believe, but true) take over. There is no care for anything, not even the car. In fact, that’s when the car takes over and shows its way of comforting me. It’s a dangerous tactic; we’ve all heard the age old adage of “speed thrills but kills” though in this case it might well be “thrilled to be killed.” However, a love affair with a car is no ordinary thing and must come with a price.

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15 responses »

  1. Wow you have described the issues of driving in lahore so perfectly! Its indeed frustrating. On the lighter side of things: remember speed thrills but kills!! 🙂

  2. I can totally relate to your passion for driving because even though I might not have learned how to drive confidently on a road full of traffic, I do happen to have certain obsessions and when you’re involved in something, you tend to grow sensitive about them… Fun read, this one

  3. Being a driver I felt like you put all my feelings and emotions about driving into your own words..! see you on the road.. 😉

  4. Hahah! As a person who is still struggling to convince herself to take her car out on a rushy Lahori evening, I loved every last word of the article. The split that exists today in our driving class has been defined so simply. This could’ve only been done under the shield of humor, for sure. Two thumbs up for the writer!
    Hoping that ALL people and their “Shoda Larka” phases face the end of their honey-moon periods with their cars and head into the settling-down phase so that us, scared little aspiring drivers get a chance to breathe and the guts to take our cars out too :p.

  5. Although, I STILL don’t know how to drive BUT do have similar feelings of Lahore’s traffic. And you know what they say, “if you can drive in Lahore, you cab drive anywhere in the world” 🙂 Haha, I hope the “shoda larkas” realize that they need to reduce their shodaness so beginners feel comfy when they’re out on the road :p

  6. Good work but motor cycle boys need to ride their bikes, its their road too :p but yes i do agree that it gets very uncomfortable to drive with the traffic chaos that we have here. I like how you’ve added a funny streak to all of this and yet you talk about an ongoing issue.

  7. Oh my God, Rabia. You know this seems illogical to quite a few of my friends but I literally think there are two things I enjoy the most in life. Food, books and driving. Wait. That’s three. But seriously, driving is calming and if you have great music or a chilled can of Seven Up and some french fries to complement the ride. Heaven.

  8. As someone who opts not to drive in Lahore at all, this piece totally resonates with me! Every fear has officially been confirmed. I am not alone! That said I like how you’ve painted a unique picture of the rush and freedom that comes with driving. Who knows? I might reconsider my boycott 😛

  9. All of this is so true. I drive too and its a long way between my place and college. My shift between the shoda larka side and normal me is usually dependent on the type of traffic during that hour. This is because sometimes the traffic is so annoying that you have to turn on your other side to find your way out of it. Otherwise on rush free zones, driving is a great hobby to enjoy =)

  10. It’s been forever since I drove or even been on the roads of lahore, but from your blog it sure seems to be the same way I left it in 6 years ago.. maybe even worse… Good job on the blog..

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