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I met someone like me today, another of those kindred souls who did not know right from left (or left from right, as the case may be), just like me. A retired policeman, he was waiting at the bus-stop when we stopped to ask the way today morning. Since he was to go in the same direction, he asked us for a lift and for the next eighteen kilometers he became our guide and Google, telling us about the places we drove through as also giving us directions on which road to take.

Once upon a time, during the times when there were no cell phones or maps to guide us,  the L&M never used to stop to ask for directions, depending solely on his I-just-know-this-is-the-right-road-to-take belief to get us to our destination and ending up taking detours. But now that we do have Google Maps to guide us, he seems to have crossed over to the other extreme. Not taking Google’s word for it, he stops at every junction to verify Google’s claim, much to my exasperation.  Men don’t ask for directions, did you say? Sometimes they ask too much of it too.

With the retired policeman on board with us today, we didn’t have to stop anywhere (or have need of Google). We were sailing along smoothly, rather, driving along blithely when right ahead we noticed a junction coming up.

“Take the left!” said the policeman helpfully and lapsed back into his spiel, the history of the place, which politician had his house in that town etc etc.

“Left?” I raised my eyebrows discretely. Google was indicating quite clearly that we should take the road to the right.

“Left, sir!” said the man once again, quickly lapsing back to his information-sharing-chatter-mode,  totally oblivious to the faux pau he had made.

“Right,” I told the L&M in an undertone, the ‘right’ here meaning the direction and not agreement.

I had no real hopes of being ‘heard’ as the L&M usually ‘dances to his own music’ while driving and I rarely interfere. Fortunately for me though, today he took the road to the right (the reason being the bus headed for the same place had taken the road to the right too). Phew.

When the policeman finally got off somewhere close to his home, and we were on our way, our destination being still some way off, I cackled gleefully.

“Why so much mirth?” the astonished L&M asked.

“He is also just like me!”


“That policeman. The one we just dropped!”

“How do you mean, like you?”

“He said ‘left’ when he actually meant ‘right’!”

“Ahhh! He did say ‘left’ then? I thought I heard him wrong!”

“And that too when Google showed ‘right’!” I looked at the L&M reproachfully.

That last was me trying to put in a word in favor of Google. I wonder if it has had an impact. We’ll know only when we go on our next drive.

©Shail Mohan 2017