Driven

Describe a significant experience in your life.

It was an exhilarating moment that set my heart aflutter. I had in my head an image of James Bond, speeding down a foreign highway in pursuit of justice, a dazzling femme-fatale steering the car ahead of him. As soon as the car stuttered to a start, however, the image in my mind was quickly shattered. I realized that like so many things, driving looked a lot easier in the movies. My decision to learn how to drive came about after a conversation with one of my friends from America who had excitedly informed me of her new possession: a car. I asked my father to sign me up for driving lessons. At only 100 rupees a day (approximately $2), the lessons were at least financially plausible.It was on my third day of driving lessons that I first saw him: a scrawny-looking boy with unkempt hair and a dirty white shirt who sat quietly in the back of the car. My instructor explained to me that he had just finished his driving lesson. I glanced at him through the rear-view mirror and smiled politely when his eyes made contact with mine.Back at the instructor’s office we began talking, and I soon learned that the boy was as old as I was. He explained to me that he was learning how to drive so that he could apply for a license. He would have to lie about his age, he said, but after receiving his license he would be able to start driving a taxi to help his father earn some extra money for the family. He proudly told me that he had saved money for a year to be able to afford half of the driving lessons, and that he hoped to learn enough to skip the other half.My new-found friend, Rohan, presented an interesting contrast. While I hadn’t thought twice about asking my father to spend money on me, he hadn’t thought twice about pursuing this endeavor to help his father earn money. My fantasies of being able to speed down a freeway seemed shockingly immature in comparison to his dreams of being able to support his family. A few months later, I was in the backseat of my car, when we abruptly halted at a red light. A small “Ambassador” car pulled up beside us. The black-and-green coloring gave away the identity of the vehicle as one of the many old taxis in the city. I looked across at the car, and was surprised to see Rohan looking back at me. When his eyes made contact with mine, my smile was one of warmth and respect. If my eyes had spoken that day, they would have thanked him for teaching me the importance of pursuing selfless goals. They would have thanked him for teaching me that sometimes it is necessary to sacrifice and take risks. They would have thanked him for teaching me that sometimes we have to learn to drive so that we can give others a ride.

Leave a Comment