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Judgement Day

About Monika Choraghe

Born in June 1998, Monika Choraghe hails from Sakurdi Village in Kalamboli, Maharashtra. She is currently pursuing her M.L.T. at ITM institute. Born to truck driver, Mr. Maruti and Mrs. Aasha, Monika aspires to get a good job after her studies, and also contribute to the community through social work.

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Some people think that their lives are very hard and full of disappointments. Well, I am one among those. I work hard, yet no matter what I do, I still face problems. It is as if my life is an ocean of endless disappointments, one after the other. However, in the same vein, every adversity comes along strung with a cloud of silver lining. One of the disappointments I faced happens to be the most interesting part of my life. I had been learning how to drive for a while now, almost for a month. Part of my everyday life in a car involved listening to instructions from a boring old man but I kept up with that to get my license. This was so that I could enjoy the freedom of being able to go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted. The day I had my driving test was the day I would find out if all the effort and time I had put into driving would pay off.

The day before my driving test was one of the worst and darkest days of my life because I was extremely nervous and worried about the judgment day. My brothers and sisters teased me for studying so hard to get my driving permit after doing my second test, which most of my family and friends thought to be ridiculous. I spent four hours with my driving instructor making sure I knew everything that I had to know. We went through all the instructions and all other details that were essential to know. I usually sleep late, but on the day before my driving test I slept unusually early. During my sleep I dreamt of being in a car with the police officer sitting on the passenger seat screaming, “You are a failure in driving”. This made me wake up in the middle of the night sweating profusely. I kept imagining failing the test the next day and yet tried to get a good night’s sleep which would be an advantage for me when taking the test. Finally I slept like a baby without any nightmares this time.

On the big day, I woke up to my alarm and got ready to be picked up by my instructor to go to the police station where I would have my driving test. I was very nervous and my instructor, while we were on the way to the police station, said that I was not driving as well as I always do. I had been turning without informing the other drivers that I was going to be using the indicator. Once I got to the police station, I waited in the car for the police officer to arrive and start my test. I couldn’t help it but imagine that he would be an old man with eyes crossed and that he would be laughing like an evil. When finally the officer got in the car, that’s when I got even more nervous and my legs were trembling. My dad clearly instructed me the day before, not to let the officer see me tense, or else he wouldn’t pass me in the test. Unfortunately, at this point, any person who laid his eyes on me would notice how tense I was. However I tried to calm myself that it would be fine, so I thought about the long period I had been learning how to drive and convinced myself that it would be a piece of cake. Moreover, my older brothers and sisters got their licenses without learning or practicing as much as I did.

Before leaving the police station, I took one last look at the place where I would be coming back to get my licence. Then I started the car and the officer was directing me on where to go; however I kept imagining all the things that could go wrong; even worse if I failed the test. I was to make a right turn when my mind went blank and I didn’t know where my left or right was. I tried remembering that my right would be towards the arm I used to write. Once I got up my first stop sign I asked myself “Is this going to be the sign that would fail me”. It failed two of my friends in the past. Luckily, I stopped at the sign smoothly; thanks to all the training I had. After that, the officer took me to all the parking lots of a gas station where I was tested for my skills through parallel parking. The space in which I had to park the car looked extremely small and looked like it would be almost impossible to park in. I did my best and tried recalling every step my instructor taught me and finally did it successfully.

When I was leaving the parking spot, something unexpected happened in front. A teenage girl was walking in front of the car but I failed to notice her because I was looking at the cars coming from the back instinctively. I had to push the brakes hard and caused both of us, the police officer and me, to bend towards the front of the car. At that moment I thought I had ruined my perfect driving and gave the officer the excuse that he was looking for, to fail me. In order to reduce the tension, I asked the office calmly, “Are you alright?” and he replied “I am fine, but don’t do that again, concentrate”. Then I found out that I might still have a chance to pass this test since the officer didn’t ask me to go back to the station.

I pulled myself together and continued driving while listening to the instruction from the officer. Just when I felt relieved, as though everything was going well, I heard a siren. It was a fast moving ambulance approaching from behind which got me all nervous again because the road was narrow enough to disallow me space to move to the right so the ambulance could pass. Suddenly, I started accelerating to keep a distance from the ambulance and hoped eventually it would turn for some other street. Luckily the ambulance did disappear from the rear view mirror of the car. I guess it did turn elsewhere. I’ve always tried to figure out why I chose to speed up instead of waiting for the officer’s instructions, but I never found an answer.

After the ambulance was out of sight, I was shocked for a while, and I was in a different world, wondering what just happened. I couldn’t hear the officer instructing me to turn right. He kept telling me to turn till he eventually slapped my shoulders to get my attention. That is when I snapped out of my daydream and heard the officer instructing me to turn back to the station.

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