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.
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.
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.