‘Anna’: My Father’s Tryst With Speed

Sangeeta recounts a delightful incident where her father, who has Parkinson’s, suddenly remembers a traffic story.

2 min read

After 6 days of visiting the hospital with my father (Anna), our merry-go-round continued with taking him back to hospital to review his stitches, on March 4. As we drove to the hospital in bumper-to-bumper traffic, the conversation in the car went something like this:

Anna: There is a sign on the road that says the speed limit is 30 miles /hour.

Me: 30 kilometres per hour, Anna. You are in India.

Anna: 30 kilometres per hour.

Long Pause

Anna: Useless sign. Traffic can’t move more than 5 kms/hour!

We laugh. Anna’s head injury has definitely not affected his powers of observation!

Long Pause

Anna: That reminds me of a story. You can put it on your ........


Me: Blog, Anna.

Pause. Obviously, the word “blog” does not register with him.


Anna: My first car was a second hand Studebaker. Within 10 days of buying the car, I was driving down the Cochin-Madras road. Near Alwyae, in Kerala, I was stopped by a traffic cop. He told me that I was driving 35 kms/hour in a 30 km/hour zone and that he would have to challan me. We argued for some time on the speed. I kept insisting that the car’s speed was not over 30 kms/hour.

Finally, tired by the arguing, I held out my keys to the cop and told him, “Here, take the keys. I have been trying to get this car to move faster than 30 kms/hour since the day I bought it. If you can get it to move faster than 30 kms/hour, you can keep the car!”

It seems the cop laughed and let Anna go.

I didn’t even know that there was a car called Studebaker — much less that Anna’s first car was a second-hand blue Studebaker.

But more interesting is how a traffic speed limit sign, in bumper-to-bumper traffic, can trigger a memory and a story that is nearly 55 years old!

(After working in corporate India for over 29 years, Sangeeta has taken time off to look after her father, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2008. Sangeeta hopes that these authentic stories will help patients and caregivers understand and appreciate the impact of Parkinson’s Disease. You can follow Sangeeta’s blog here.)

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