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Everyone in the car (and in one’s life) should feel safe, and in control

February 2, 2017


My father, the Late Mr. J Gowrikanthan, or “JG” as he was known, was the first role model I had in my life, and still is the person I aspire to be. My decision to become a coach was primarily based on my observations of the number of people he helped, in more ways than one.


He told me, when I started driving a car, “Srinivasa (he was one of 3 people who call me that,) remember that when you are the driver, every person traveling in the car must feel they are in control of their journey. It is not enough if you, as the driver, feel that you have control, and are driving safely and appropriately, or that you are doing the right things. Each person traveling in the vehicle must feel in control, and feel safe throughout the journey!”

Each person traveling in the vehicle must feel in control, and feel safe throughout the journey!

And the thought that might come to one’s mind as soon as that is read, is that my father expected that the car should be driven extremely slowly. Far from it. He would always travel sitting in the co-passenger seat next to the driver – which was the ONLY seat he would occupy – and sometimes actually insist that I drive faster.


He would always be awake (thanks to an accident during a road trip when he was much younger, when the driver went to sleep and caused the car to turn turtle!) and be aware of everything on the road. Including motioning with his hands whenever there was habitation, or any other thing that needed the driver to be aware, and take appropriate action.


He would insist that the car not jerk forward when I changed gears. For those of you who have not driven the Hindustan Ambassador and Premier Padmini Cars, you would not understand that this WAS a feat. It is another matter however that even in today’s technologically advanced vehicles, there are quite a few who make the vehicle jump forward whilst changing gears.


I always was to ensure that the brakes were applied smoothly and that there was no jerking when the vehicle came to a complete stop. He would also insist that the passengers in the car should not be thrown about when it turned, even the sharpest of curves. And of course, it goes without saying that going over bumps and road humps had to be negotiated quite nicely. This meant that over time, I l