Excuse me sir, but is this way East?

My biggest weakness? My disgraceful sense of direction.

Plonk me in the middle of Chennai, the city where I have lived my entire life, and I will not be able to find my own way back home. I know my way from home to college, and from home to the famous places. Spencer’s Plaza, Satyam Cinemas, Besant Nagar Beach and Kryptos (Yumm!). Ask me to go to any other place and I have to ask my way around. And when I do find the place, I just can’t seem to know how to get out again!

This is so bad. I studied geography in school and I still can’t read maps. I remember picking up a map once, thinking I was being Ms Smartypants so I could say “Aha, this way people, follow me!” But I ended up reading the map in the opposite direction and simply could not understand why in the world I wasn’t reaching the places I was supposed to. “This map is utterly useless, these people don’t know how to make maps.” That was my decision and I was sticking to it.

I got lost at the big massive Bangkok Airport once and was in tears because I could not find the way to my flight. I went out for a walk with my mother and she purposely led me away from our destination to see if I would notice. I didn’t. Disgraceful. On a train to Bhopal, my family would know all the stations we were going to cross in the exact order. I just sat there and looked out the window at the cows. Why is my sense of direction so bad? Is it something I could learn? I’m quite a keen observer; I notice things and I never forget a face. But my mouth twitches like Sheldon Cooper’s if you ask me if you should go left, right or straight. I wish schools would teach more practically useful things rather than tan and cos and stuff I’m never going to use in my life ever!

My professor asked me to stick a piece of paper at Guduvancherry on her huge Tamil Nadu map a few days ago. I stared at the map for 15 minutes before I could find it. Studies say there is a difference between men and women’s spatial intelligence. If that’s true why do so many men I know have to use GPS? That’s rubbish too by the way. My friend and I followed the GPS on her phone and it took us to a dead end where the only life form was a chameleon that landed splat on our car.

Seriously, CBSE, start teaching useful things!

Next step: buy a huge map of Chennai and learn where what is. I must.

Image courtesy – Wikipedia

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