Better Late Than Never  Beyond the Panorama February 1, 2022

Better Late Than Never 

Written by Nandini Sethi

“Are you sure you are ready?” Zain, my friend who lived in the neighbourhood, asked me for the twentieth time that day. 

“Yes, I’ve been waiting for this for what feels like my entire life!” I retorted. He nodded, “alright, then let me help you.”

We walked towards his swanky new red car, the one whose doors didn’t open sideways but upwards. “Are you sure you are okay with me practising for my driver’s test in your expensive car?” 

I know he had a little crush on me, so there was no way he would say no. It’s not like I was taking advantage of him – I had done him many favours in the past and I was only doing what needed to be done. I didn’t have a car of my own, and I needed to pass my test this time around. 

Slowly, very carefully, I drove around our quiet neighbourhood, hoping no one would come in the way and make fun of my lack of acceleration power. 

“I know you will do well this time,” he smiled at me. I smiled back at him, only for him to chide me to concentrate on the road. 

“Will you come with me for the test?” I bit my lip nervously. I didn’t know anyone else who could make it and I really didn’t want to go alone. 

As predicted, he said yes. 

On the day of the test, I was a mess. I was forgetting things, bouncing my knees up and down, whining at the littlest things. I waited at the front door for Zain to pick me up in classic high-school style, and me, a damsel in distress. 

When we reached the driving school, I expected to be bombarded with technical questions, queues, and even unorganized documentation, what I didn’t expect was to be asked time and again, “is it a little embarrassing?” 

It wasn’t just one person – the security guard, the fees collector, and even the test conductor himself asked me that question. I know I had procrastinated getting my license, but why did these people have to bring it up? 

I looked at Zain to defend me, but all he did was shrug his shoulders. Boys. I wondered why everyone was looking at me weird and asking me all these unanswerable questions. 

Just then, my phone rang. It was my husband. I looked at Zain sheepishly, but as always, he only shrugged his shoulders. I didn’t answer the call. Instead, I turned to the conductor to confirm all my personal details, “Yes, Alisha Seth. Yes, female. Yes, aged 60.” 

Nandini Sethi
Nandini Sethi

Sometimes dolefully insightful, sometimes plain distressed state of mind, but always love. I think there’s a bit of love in everything we write.

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