On Breaking Inhibitions

Since I hail from Mumbai, people assume that I must be modern and come from a family that is cool. Well, that’s a misconception. My father is doting to the extent of over protection that instils fear …. and my both my parents second each other in every decision.So my mother is overprotective as well. I being the only daughter, well the overprotection is naturally doubled. So asking for anything involving a risk meant all their protective genes would over-express.

When I was younger I mistook their love negatively and threw tantrums until I got my way. A rebel as my father still calls me. As I grew older I started understanding their point of view and compromising a bit to avoid arguments. I knew some topics are out of bounds.  Any amount of tantrum only meant spoiling everyone’s mood. One such topic was learning a two wheeler. I had seen my father convincing my cousins, firmly, about the safety concerns of the two-wheeler whenever they brought it up. So when it was time for me to get my license, I only got my four wheeler license. I guess I lacked the courage to confront them. I knew my father hated two wheelers…

Fast forward, to this fellowship. A month after my work at Seva Mandir began (July end), I was told by the Seva Mandir Staff that they might consider giving a scooty for the field work (for me and the other girls). Since the zonal workers at Kojawara did not know how to ride a bike, they asked me whether I can ride a scooty. I shook my head. I began mulling over the opportunity – learning how to ride a scooty.

I mustered up the courage to call up and convince dad just before travelling home. Upon asking him he said a swift, “Okay.” I wasn’t sure whether he was really okay. I was going to go home soon for my Birthday. I applied for my learner’s license then. My dad had made all the arrangements for it but did not come with me. My vacation ended before my license arrived. I received a call from my father a week later asking me whether to courier it. I said I would pass him the address but kept postponing it. My fear of two-wheelers had grown. I didn’t have the confidence of riding it by myself. I don’t know what was inhibiting me so much.

In the week before last, the topic of two-wheeler came up while we were heading towards Kojawara from Udaipur in the doctor’s car. Again, people started talking about how easy it is to drive a two wheeler. They, however, didn’t have my complete attention. I was busy with my mental turmoil. I was going to head home the following week. I wondered whether riding in front of my father and his approval would ease my fears.

When I headed home for Diwali I was on a mission – to learn the two wheeler. But first we needed to find one. After a day long search, a person agreed to lend us his for a day or two.  Next morning, my dad accompanied me and I began my first lesson.  I raced the accelerator and Whooaaa! … the scooty jumped. Thankfully, both my legs could reach the ground and I balanced. After multiple attempts I managed to balance as well as maintain my accelerator speed. Soon, my feet came off the ground, and I was riding. I looked at my father and smiled. No smile yet. I practised; left hand turn, right hand turn, breaking, stopping, restarting. I started to enjoy but it wasn’t second nature. I needed more practice. All the while my father was standing in the center, as I took rounds around him. After I was done with practicing, I looked at my father and indicated that we leave. As I got off. He came towards me and got on it. He said, “I have never driven a two wheeler; I will give it a try.”

It was time for my overprotective genes to express. And they did. I was shivering from within with anxiety.

But he was a natural. He rode three rounds with ease (and little wobbles) and brought it to a halt in front of me. Phew! A huge smile on his face. His riding the two-wheeler made me happier. For me, that was a gesture of acceptance.

I learnt another thing that day. My mind tends to blow things out of proportion sometimes. There is a possibility; my father had given his acceptance way before, when he made arrangements for my learner’s license. Just because my mind believed otherwise, I postponed my learning by 3 months. Also, there is a possibility that he would have allowed me if I had asked his permission when I got my four-wheeler license – which means I had postponed it by years.

Our apprehensions and preconceived notions imprison our mind ultimately deciding whether something does or does not happen….it is up to us how we condition it to break the walls of inhibition.

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