Toastmasters Project ACB: Entertaining Speaker 3 – How Indians give directions!!

Women can’t read maps and Men cant ask for directions.. I don’t know how far it is true. But what is true is our varied experience when asking for directions or giving someone directions.

Hey Ms. ABC … Can I know how to head to MG Road from here? (Wait for her way to describe the directions). And lets check with Mr. XYZ  on how do I head to Ulsoor Lake from here.?????????????????????????????????

Surprisingly, what I have read was women are better at giving directions. Well, in this case… research may not always be true (sarcasm)

During our trip to Pondicherry for Auroville Marathon, I asked Sangee how far is Tiruvannamalai. She has been intently staring at the map for the last 30 minutes. And promptly came the reply – this far with some distance between her fingers.

I have been lucky to have done road trips before the advent of GPS. The days when you used to stop where ever you could see traces of civilization especially that lone chai shop… have a pit stop. And the single question that you had was .. “How do we go to this place?” In an instant, you would be surrounded by 8 men all walking and talking GPS who would all guide you to the destination. Add to that, you would also be given multiple options.

And then you had that one animated person who would give you the directions like no one else. It is intense. It is focused. And the directions are given as if it’s a matter of life and death with added drama to it.images

With actions: Go straightttttt. Straight means, stay on this road. The length of STRAIGHTTTTT depends on how far you need to go. Go straight and take the right is different from go straightttttttttttttttttttttttttt and then take a right. The difference can be atleast 5 kms. And then, we toastmasters must learn the art of voice modulation from them. Have you noticed the change in tone when they say, Go Straighttttt, and take the right at the round-tana.  (A Circle/Junction)- mellowed down tone. They add some thrills too. You will see a left  after the temple, don’t take that left. Continue straight till you get a dead end. This has baffled many a tourists. You take a right there. And it’s the 4th building. The climax. There is more to learn from him…images3

Did you notice the hand and eye co-ordination. There is a lot that you would have missed in case you didn’t notice. Straight and Straightttttttt have different movements. Can any one tell me what it is? And what makes it even more awesome is how we manage to move our arms giving directions to someone on the phone…

The left turns and the right turns also have their signs. But, left turn might not really be left turn J

Inspite of all the drama, chances are low that I may reach the point to where I need to go.  Hence the term: landmark was used in postal addresses. Hey I too have a landmark. If I give you my postal address, I bet you cant get to my house for a hundred years. So in addition to the address, I need to specify – Near Jai Bharath Nagar Petrol Bunk, Opp South Indian Bank.

And then we are Indians. We can’t say a No. To an extent where we are ready to give wrong directions. It is against your poilicies to say No, I don’t know. You wont be embarrassed if you flunk you SSLC exams, you would be in case you didn’t know the address. So you assume the destination to be close to something that you know. And just go ahead and tell them the way. A sense of victory, achievement takes over you. (Example: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church – Mariapura. Oh its not in Mount Carmel College is it!!)

Sadly, with the advent of GPS, I don’t have the opportunity to stop frequently and ask for directions. As a matter of fact, we did an East Coast and a West Coast road trip, and didn’t ask for any directions. Sigh… powers of a GPS.images2

Cant overly be confident of google maps either. Ever searched the direction from California to Hawaii. It suggests that you do a 2700 mile kayak!!! Ha.. in 14 days time. LOL.

So next time you hit the road, don’t forget to switch off your GPS. Have a stop, here there and everywhere. You will surely have stories to share.



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