Mornings were never my thing. I have been accused of a lot of things but I've never been accused of being a morning person, whatever that may mean. So my foul mood was a given since I had been dragged out of bed at 5 30 a.m. and put in the driver's seat of our car. This was dad's doing. Ever since he's retired, he's declared himself too old to drive unless he has run out of options. Mom says he gets a kick out of sitting in the back seat while his sons drive him around. In any case, thanks to a combination of factors, not the least important of which was the fact that my aunt and her family who were visiting us needed to catch a train at 6 a.m., I was staring bleary-eyed out into whatever bits of road were illuminated by the headlamps. I made a mental note to myself to get the lamp checked; the dim was focused too low on the road.
Having accomplished the task of making sure my aunt and family caught their train, we were on our way back. I was too sleepy to talk, and dad must've understood that since he was silent. Stray bits of conversation revolved around what route to take back home - I was unsure of my hometown roads and they had changed a lot in the decade I was away. As we reached the dual carriageway near palarivattom junction, I got into the inside lane with a plan to gun it and head home to bed as fast as possible. As I was about to place my reputedly heavy foot on the accelerator pedal, a mini-lorry overtook us on the outside lane and then cut in front of me without warning. I had to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision, and we were both shaken out of our silence.
The first thing that came to my mind was an expletive, but I have over time developed the ability to shut my potty mouth when my parents are around. I was indignant. I had done everything right, and if the lorry wanted to overtake, all he needed to do was indicate that and I would've got out of his way. I floored the pedal and the car lunged forward.
"What are you doing?", said dad.
"Catching him," I said. "He can't get away with this."
"Let it be," said dad. "It's pointless trying to teach him a lesson"
We were gaining on him. "If people don't tell him he's an ass, he'll continue pulling stuff like this", I said.
"He could be a thug". "Don't worry, nothing's gonna happen".
When that change of track didn't work, dad fell back to his earlier point that the lorry driver will not get the message. I was right on his tail, looking for an opening to overtake. I was going to do this right, without stooping to his level of overtaking on the wrong side. Dad was telling me that it was pointless getting angry at people on the road, because there were simply too many of them. He prided himself on driving all his life in a way that had caused no one ever to get angry at him. I remembered the time when I had started driving, and he was ashamed when my overconfidence once caused a policeman to shout at us.
I got my opening, and the car surged ahead of the mini lorry. Dad paused for a second and said, "It's an old man."
I shot ahead, cut in front of him, and slammed the brakes, forcing him to do the same. Dad rolled down the window, shook a fist at him, and returned to lecturing me about how it was of no use getting angry at an old man who would probably continue driving like this for the rest of his life. As we drove off, I marveled at how he could teach me the right things while still playing on my team.
I daren't tell him how I tried something similar with a bus driver while I was on my motorcycle.