Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Head Eastward

Assume you’re in a new place and need help with directions. Whom do you ask for? What do you look for in a person who could potentially help you with directions, distances, buses and street names? How do you choose a person who you think could help you, and not misguide you?

Because this happens to me all the time. Not the asking end, but the replying end. I wonder what do people find in me, which prompts them to stop by me and ask for help with directions. This is true even when I am in a strange city. I can sense it when people are about to approach me seeking guidance. I’ve answered questions like “Excuse me, how do I reach CDS, Ulloor from here”? or “Hey, which way to Mekhri circle?” or “Would this bus take me to Besant Nagar?”. On the other hand I am very reluctant to ask for directions if I am alone and if I am not in a hurry. I always have this feeling that “let me go this way, I can always take a U-turn and come back to my origin, incase I get lost”. I have discovered a lot of new pocket roads, especially when taking a walk rather than on a vehicle. Strange thing is I might find myself explaining this new route to a fellow direction-seeker, which I would have discovered only minutes before.

All said and done, I get immense satisfaction when I could help them, and I feel terrible when I say that I am helpless. But no, I have not misguided anyone.

On a lighter note: Once when traveling with my family in a village during night, we lost the way. There was a lone person, seemingly a farmer, beside whom I stopped to ask for direction. He answered hurriedly saying “Head eastward” and sped away. !

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