"To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect." - Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Where's my GPS?


It's an hour and I am still driving to reach the venue. Didn't I see, Destination - 2 mins away about 20 mins ago on google maps? Oh dear, I'll have to ask someone for directions or worse, call up the husband! 
Let me clarify, it's nothing of an ego issue asking for directions. The problem lies elsewhere. 
My reluctance to self-drive to uncharted new territories, out of syllabus areas, stems from a systemic error in my brain - it is GPS deprived, no effing compass in my body!

Like a felon released on parole, fitted with a movement tracker, when I am beyond my normal comfort radius of say, 7-10 km, the buzzer in my head sends out warning signals - LOST, LOST, LOST! I have absolutely no clue where I am - geographical directions-wise, landmark-wise, nada, total blank on all counts. The corollary to this deficiency is, ineptitude in interpreting verbal or pictorial instructions. 
GPS RelaxNRave
Every time I embark on an adventure to visit a new place, the better-half does his best to graphically describe the landmarks I'll need to look out for. But a few minutes of listening to: over the flyover, under the bridge, before the signal, after the circle, take the third left...my mind goes totally numb and the ears tune out the said directions as white noise. Same goes for helpful directions from the Google Maps lady. 
So, basically me reaching a new venue on time, all by myself is purely, "Ram bharose"!
At times when I am driving around in circles, I've actually given up the idea of finding the way myself, parked the car in a fairly safe-looking locality and scooted into an auto rickshaw to the designated venue with a prayer that I'd remember how to get back to my car. 

I haven't yet researched this peculiar affliction but I believe it could be a genetic predisposition. My mum and her sisters are reknown for their equal or greater proficiency in "the art of getting lost". I recollect several instances of these dear women getting lost in their immediate neighbourhood, in malls, and group tours. Needless to say, this clan of women, yours truly included never takes on treasure-hunts, nature treks or other such mindless pursuits that are way beyond our scope. We are of course discussing these situations occurring in broad daylight. Night-time navigation is a whole other ball game when all roads look the same! None of us ventures out alone after dark. We love ourselves and our loved ones too much to take on such gambles!
When I see the flabbergasted responses of folks when I announce that I got lost...again, I realize, it isn't a very common thing to get lost in familiar territory. 
Before you cast snarky aspersions that this is a female thing or age-related, let me assure you we have a good many men and even teens members in this elite club.

And then there are people who have photographic memories. They can deftly find their way through convoluted routes they've visited in their childhood. Ugh...showoffs!

I am rather happy with the advent of Ola, Uber and other travel services. Obviously they are convenient, offering you recourse from having to strain your energies driving and focusing on traffic manoeuvers. 
Older cabs did you the same service. However, some crafty old-timer cabbies conned you the minute they got a whiff of your cluelessness of your whereabouts and you'd be taken on a ride, literally, a long roundabout ride with the meter racing away merrily.

For me the biggest draw to Ola, Uber is that they come with navigation feature and more importantly, they possess drivers who understand how to interpret it!
Unlike the taxi drivers of yore who knew the city, its every nook, gallikaccha rastas and shortcuts like the back of their hands, most cab drivers of these latest services have little or no clue of the route they need to follow to reach the passenger's destination. They simply follow the route map provided by the navigation service requisitioned by their brand. 

Do you remember the Grimm fairytale of Hansel and Gretel? The wicked step-mother plans to abandon the two children in the forest. When the children overhear her plan, Hansel leaves out a trail of bread crumbs to follow back. So clever, isn't it? But the crumbs are eaten up by birds and Hansel and Gretel are unable to find their way back home and are lost in the big bad forest. 
Whenever I try to mark landmarks in my mind's eye on the way to a new destination, these markers are snatched away like those bread crumbs and I am left with no directions to proceed!
I can also relate to Abhimanyu's dilemma in the Chakravyuha, in situations where I am lost in a new terrain and have no clue how to head back where I started from!

Looking at the brighter side, this peculiar trait is kind of like an art, one that develops over the years and one that not everyone possesses. An art that saves you the time and effort of explaining routes to other people or being expected to lead an expedition!

Anybody else out there with whom this post strikes a chord? Do let me know...we can share notes on the Art of getting Lost!





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