"Pakka aunty chala rahi hai gaadi."
Stuck with a male driver behind a car, I am tired of the number of times I've internally protested this chorus. I'm ashamed, but it's something I was conditioned to believe for the most part of my life, till I began to learn driving in grade twelve.
I had my share of pitfalls the first time I sat behind the wheel. It was also the first time I got to know about the ABCs of driving. It meant sitting with my father who would comment on every turn and brake and tell me exactly when to turn the car, why not to keep to extreme corners while turning and how to avoid the little dents on Indian roads.
But of all the things it taught me, women can't drive wasn't one. First off, stop making that general statement. You do not know all the women in the world to make that statement.
Let's get this straight, no woman applies mascara or lipstick while looking at the rear-view mirror when she is driving.
Educate yourself a bit. Just because you came across three women, in an entire jam of cars that annoyed you, stop assuming that women reach for a lipstick the moment they see their rear-view mirror, or that we're ready to type out paragraphs in the middle of the road on our cell phones. And if you try calling out people for being irresponsible drivers, call out the crowd that does it in many different ways. Because it's been seven years since I learnt how to drive and I've been with female drivers enough to vouch for the fact that no, the rear-view mirror is not a decorative accessory.
The majority of women I know are people who were introduced to the technicalities of a car for the very first time. Remember that in the ' normal' world we live, baby girls are given dolls and baby boys are given cars to play with. The conditioning goes back a long way, so be careful before you play the blame-game.
Yeah, we all have an acceptance problem. It's like white supremacy - they see people who don't look like them, trying to do things that they've been doing for ages and they realise nothing's being done right. This is exactly like developed countries asking the third world to come up with technologies to control their CFC emanation. Well, bro, if you could just be kind enough to let us study CFC first maybe? Assuming a person with one-fourth the access to things that you've explored all your life, is going to be flawless with it, is your privilege talking.
Also, can we please stop harassing/racing/running into/pushing off the road/rashly overtaking female drivers? For people who claim to know so much about on-road etiquette, you're really not behaving like it.
Something happens when people see a woman behind the wheel. Auto drivers want to overtake you, they don't bother moving an inch when we honk for them to leave the left open, even though there's enough to let them pass, and suddenly the speed at which we're approaching does not matter when you're changing your lane and merging into the traffic on the opposite side of the road. Why is there an understanding that I will slow down for you to move into the opposite lane when I'm traveling at the same speed as the cars that were just seconds ahead of me? And then they tell me women can't drive.
When you cockily comment on how the 'second' sex is unfit to drive, remember that you did not make it out of your mother's womb with car keys dangling from your fingers.
My father mostly resorts to reason when he has to explain or understand things, and he always told me it was all about practice. More than 80% of the women you see on the road are new to the wheel. They're still probably getting the hang of the controls. When you bellow your outrage at women for being too slow, remember that you too have been in those shoes with people honking madly. Stop making casually sexist remarks out of learning curves. It goes on to show your insecurities, and lack of acceptance of people wanting to develop skills.
The fact that women are now behind the wheels even in the public transport sector makes a very valid point about how unclear the principles of driving are for women. What needs to change is your very 'objective' idea of the same, which seems difficult even after so many women made their way into the racing circuit. Till y'all figure that out in your heads, I'll just manoeuvre around other drivers who think I need to make way for their arrival. You take your time.