I finally accomplished one of my big goals for self-independence here in India. Last week I got fed up enough to get behind the wheel of our Maruti sedan and start driving. It's been 9 months since we moved here (if you can believe that). Chauhan (our driver) was off and we needed to get some things at the store. It was hot and I couldn't stand the thought of taking an auto-rickshaw. Out the gates of ATS I went into the relative chaos that is driving in India... My only two real challenges are getting my left hand used to the gear shift and confusing the windshield wipers with the turning signal levers (opposite on a RHD vehicle). Accelerator, brake and clutch pedals are all in the same order as a left-hand drive car.
Since last Wednesday I have driven on the Noida Expressway and have handled the traffic at the local mall... not sure I will venture into Delhi traffic anytime soon, but I am out there now handling the local road-chaos. Chauhan will still do most of the driving, but at least on weekends, evenings and holidays I no longer feel dependent on the skills and good will of others.