Humour: Half a km in 20 min

Humour: Half a km in 20 min


Galileo Galilei nearly lost his life stating his theory about a heliocentric cosmos in the 16th century at a time when travellers were afraid they would sail off the edge of the world and fall into an abyss.

My uncle in Bengaluru suffered from an anxiety not very different — he could navigate the city in the 1950s only if he set out from Church Street.

I have to confess that I am cut from the same cloth.

I have no sense of direction. I can be relied upon to lose my way in a theatre, in a hotel, or even in the locality where I have lived for 40 years. The stories of the failures of my internal compass are many – but one of the most memorable occurred in 1980.

We had dropped in to visit relatives who stayed at the Woodlands Hotel in Bengaluru, situated near the junction where Richmond Road, Residency Road and Lavelle Road intersect. It had recently inaugurated its “new block” – several stories high with AC rooms and a beautiful view of Cubbon Park.

Options for dinner were discussed and someone suggested the Peacock Restaurant – a short walk from Woodlands. The women and children were packed into two Maruti vans while the men said they would follow a little later. I, born in Bengaluru, had spent 20 years there before leaving to study elsewhere. I was in charge because neither the drivers of the vans nor the other occupants had any idea where Peacock was. So, of course, I could be relied on to get to the restaurant. We left with assurances from the men that they would be ready and waiting when the empty vans returned. Only my husband and brother looked a little thoughtful.

The vehicles moved and, peering outside I realised we had come to the end of Residency Road with Peacock way behind us.

“Left,” I said because I saw Bishop Cottons School while we raced up St Marks. In a short while, there loomed Trinity Church. “Turn right!”
I said confidently. Mahatma Gandhi Road. A quick U-turn and three kilometres later (this was in 1980, remember) we were at Peacock – only 20 minutes behind schedule.

Standing outside, looking worried were all the out-of-town husbands. The group, having waited at the gate, decided to walk to Peacock Restaurant. Only my husband and brother were unperturbed. Everything was as per normal.

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