So, Chunnu and Munnu, (by which I mean the SB and I, just in case you were wondering) have gone and got themselves a car. She (the car) is a pretty silver thing and looks like the result of a one of those socially frowned-upon unions (an inter-car marriage?) between a beetle (beetles! I love beetles) and ummm…a bigger car (which also, is the length and breadth of Munnu’s automobile-knowledge. There are beetles, and there are bigger cars).
Chunnu - who used to be a biker and hasn’t really driven cars much - took practice driving classes for about a month before the car was delivered to them. Munnu credits this sensible move as the reason that all three of them (C, M and the G) are alive and undamaged today.
Munnu, however, in all her years, has never seen cars as anything more than things that get you from point A to point B. She has always been supremely unconcerned with things like navigation, traffic rules or even other cars on the road, because you see, it was never her *job* to know these things. Sure, there were the family cars but their ownership was ambiguous; they were never Munnu’s property. Also, there was always a responsible adult (or two) around, who a) drove the car and b) ensured that Munnu got to wherever it is she was going.
As a result of this sheltered upbringing, Munnu is magnificently ill-equipped to deal with the reality of owning a car. When she is strapped into the passenger seat, the responsibility of it all overwhelms her. Her palms go all sweaty and her heart skips a beat every time a BEST bus drives by. She is sorely tempted to jump out of the car screaming and chase all the other vehicles off the road. Or at least out of a five-mile-radius of the Gaddi.
Parking however, is what Munnu finds most stressful, even though she is not the one doing it. Munnu’s job is merely to ensure that the car does not inadvertently snuggle up too close to other cars / pavements / pillars while Chunnu backs it into place. Munnu is frequently convinced that the three feet of space she sees between the Gaddi and the neighbouring car / pavement / pillar is a trick of the light and that any moment, she will hear the not-so-gentle scraping of metal against the relevant immovable object. Every parking episode results in two more of Munnu’s hair turning grey.
Munnu remembers a story she was told as a child, about an aunt who was learning how to drive. Now this aunt lived in Kanpur, which, for some inexplicable reason, had a very high population of pigs. Pigs in general, Munnu’s aunt had no problem with, but apparently Kanpuria pigs were blissfully ignorant of traffic rules, not to mention the law of physics which states, ‘If big metal monster comes in contact with small piggy, small piggy becomes pork chops’. The aunt however, was vegetarian and against the killing of animals (however annoying) and so came up with a solution – she would take the car out with the chowkidar’s seven-year-old son as her only passenger. They would then drive around peacefully until one of the suicidal pigs showed up. The boy would then get out of the car, chase the animal off the road and get back into the car to continue his joyride. It was the perfect arrangement – the boy got a ride, the aunt her driving-practice and the piggy, his life.
Chunnu has suggested that Munnu learn how to drive, to which Munnu cryptically replies, “Our watchman has no sons.”