I never realised quite how important central locking and power windows are in a car, until I started driving the kids to and from school. Here’s how things go on a typical day.
First, there’s fresh poo on the roadside, bang next to where I park. There’s no point looking for another place to park – there’s fresh (human) poo all along the road. I guess it serves as a toilet for some nearby community.
Right next to the toilet strip is the drain. It is supposed to be a rain-water drain. As there hasn’t been any monsoon to speak of in Bangalore this year, it is usually clean and dry. I wish the folks who use the road as their toilet could drop their droppings in the drain, but, if they do in fact try to do this, they don’t seem to have very good aim.
So if you park next to the poo which is next to the drain, that side of the car is ruled out for exiting the kids from. If they don’t fall in one, they will likely fall in the other – and I’m not sure which would be worse.
On the other side, there’s traffic to deal with. Obviously, it is the lesser of all the evils. So, having parked, I get out, avoid the poo and the drain, and tackle (that means put shoes on, comb hair of, and un-strap) the girl on the driver’s side of the car. Then I close the door (which has child lock enabled, thank goodness), go around to the other side, and tackle the other girl. There’s traffic whizzing past inches from my bu… err… backside, but I figure the worst it could do would be to shave some inches off (and that might not be such a bad thing), so of course I ignore it.
Meanwhile, the first girl has unrolled the non-power windows and unlocked the door, even though she can’t actually open it. I go around to the other side to roll up the window, while both girls, now unstrapped, work on the window and door on the other side. Since they are two and I am only one, and since they are inside and I am outside dodging poo, drain, and traffic, the only way I can win this game is by shouting at them and threatening physical violence. Depending on their mood, this is of limited efficacy, but usually buys me enough time to roll up the window on the poo-and-drain side of the car and run around to the traffic-ward side and drag both the girls out before they can roll down either window again.
Now I get their bags out of the front passenger seat and get them (the bags) onto them (the girls). This, while ensuring that only my backside is in danger of getting shaved by traffic – the girls don’t have as much to spare. Then I close the door. Now comes the tricky part. The front passenger door cannot be used to central-lock all four doors. So if the driver’s side is on the poo-and-drain side of the road, I have to nip across to lock it, while either letting go of the girls and leaving them to the mercy of the traffic, or dragging them with me to step in their choice of either poo or drain. It’s a lose-lose situation.
If, however, the driver’s side is on the traffic-ward side, then, once I have the windows all rolled up and the kids out of the car on the traffic-ward side, I have to lean in and pull the bags out from the front passenger seat, without losing sight or control of the girls. Not easy.
So, what I need is a car whose windows can be rolled up and locked, and which can be centrally locked from either side, preferably without needing to use a key. I was assured that such is impossible. Power windows, of course, do exist. And front doors can be locked without a key if you lock them from the inside, then get out and hold the handle up while closing the door. But passenger side doors don’t do central locking, I was told.
Well, ha! I went and bought myself a bright red Hyundai i10 anyway and guess what? It does allow me to lock the front passenger door from the inside, then get out and close the door, without holding the handle up or anything, and it not only locks, it central-locks all the doors. Plus it has power windows, fantastic steering, a music system (how on earth did I survive in a car without that for so long) and it’s the perfect shade of bright red.
So, problems solved.
Of course, once I got the car, I also found a parking place at school which is almost always available, which doesn’t have either the drain or the poo. That makes life SO much easier.