I was in the middle of an intersection, a circle as it is called in this part of the globe, and had just a few fleeting seconds to decide on which road to take. Just as the signal turned green, one to the right, one straight and one to the left, I allowed my lack of geographical sense instincts to take over, additionally disoriented and perturbed with the continuous honking of vehicles from behind who were adroit in this business of locating, obviously, and took a magnificent left. I knew I had proved Google maps and voice navigation wrong yet another time; it is like this; when you fail in a subject, you blame the teacher for his or her inadequacies in making you understand is it not? Similarly Mr.Google had failed me for the umpteenth time since its genesis. But my tryst with the compass and the points started way long before, probably in my first or second grade when the teacher tried to explain that; as we face the Sun, the left hand side is North and the right hand side is south and to our back is West, with the strong underlying and fundamental belief that the giant star rises in the East. However hard, she tried to instil in me the cardinal principles of the rotation of the Earth and the directions, I did not get the drift! And she failed miserably while I tried to use the Mariner’s compass to assist me, but the needles just never seem to settle down owing to my constant revolution for I was wearing the compass like an Albatross around my neck! Peace, these compasses are always faulty I declared and went back to sighting the sun but by the time, it decided to have further fun with an off track and tangent person by hiding behind the clouds.
On many occasions, I have proved that the Earth is indeed round by coming back to the precise location from where I started after circumnavigating the town for couple of hours exploring all the major and the arterial roads, so if Jules Verne managed around the world in eighty days in 1873, I can pip him at the post today, albeit not the world but one part of my city! More often than not there is always fear and insecurity in the minds of my family who are logical and rational thinkers and align themselves well with the direction and never lose their bearings, to allow me to go to an unfamiliar or unknown destination even if it is only couple of miles away, alone, and often draw the directions on a piece of paper with famous and familiar landmarks sketched too as a guide and a substitute for the city maps and other navigating tried and tested and failed tools. But the all too familiar roads and landmarks such as banks, super markets become repeated milestones and markers.
After nightfall, the scenes are a further blur and the less I say the better! I am truly blinded by the razzle dazzle of the headlights and the city lights that even the commonplace become alien and I become a trailblazer!!!
Once, father, mother and I, the holy directionless trinity went to visit a relative. My husband had faithfully sketched the map on a paper and had explicitly explained with his sound pedagogic skills the route with all the intricate finite details. The trio, nodded our heads in absolute unison and surety that we had understood the location and took a cab to the destination. We successfully ensured that the driver, a well versed local got thoroughly and brutally confused with the topography with each one of us giving our point of view and obstinate with that trajectory. Finally, after a good two hour ride across the length and breadth of the city, fed up with our avid sense of place, he dropped us off at a point which he said was according to the address scribbled on the paper. The three of us despite standing in a triangle, could not locate the house and were all at sea like in Bermuda triangle; all other numbers were visible but the number we were looking for had magically disappeared or maybe the civic bodies skipped it intentionally on account of superstition or numerology reasons??? Since this happened before the mobile technology days, I called my hubby from a booth, a few yards away from the crash site and fired him from all the cylinders for misguiding us. He listened to all the bunkum for a brief and then commanded me to ask the nearest neighbour for the exact location and banged the phone down. When I did that, I understood that the building had been razed down for reconstruction and all along, we had been standing right in front of the correct address! So now you know where my ‘off-course’ genes are from!
I continue to ride off in all directions, delineating from the chartered course and going around in circles, following my nose and the journey’s end is where I began! Tired of rescuing me from obscured and wayward neighbourhood and locales, nowadays, I have a human navigator firmly in place to pilot me and keep me on course, but I have to admit that at the slightest instance, I do prove him wrong too by chartering my own destinies!
By the way, did I tell you that my favourite song is “circle in the sand…round and round” by Belinda Carlisle and you can see it here..
For giving animation to my thoughts, I thank the world wide web!