Whether its scary or an awesome adventure, there’s something special about getting lost on a road trip.
Getting lost is an art. Possibly a science. And it’s getting harder to do each passing day. The only people who are still successful in the task are the ones who have the ability to successfully misread road directions, or those who are perpetually confused between ‘right’ and ‘left’. (If you’ve ever successfully navigated around a circle, then we bow to your wisdom.)
Do you remember road trips before Google Maps and GPS enabled navigation? And no, let’s not even begin to talk about offline maps. The mind has become so used to co-ordinate directed driving that the actual joy of getting lost is being lost.
On a recent trip down the coast, we were blessed with no signal connectivity, thus, leaving the mobile phones to do their primary job: click pictures. Driving through by-lanes and meandering roads, asking passers-by for directions, stopping at tiny chai stalls for local gossip, it was a quest; the destination could be around the next corner, for all we knew. And boy, it was immensely satisfying.
The beauty of Indian roads is that there are just so many. With a diverse landscape like ours, there are national highways, state highways, coastal roads, ghats, district roads, village roads, by-lanes, cycle trails where one could risk driving a car, a grassy field which suddenly seemed perfect for driving… the list is endless. And, Google doesn’t know everything! So while one reads about ‘turning the GPS off’ to explore, out here there really isn’t much choice.
There was a dam that just had to be visited. Hardly anyone knew it existed, and we could find no records of anyone else (excluding the villagers who lived there, of course!) ever having been there. In fact, all that could be discerned was the general area it was in. Now, a 6 km off roading stretch doesn’t seem so long really, but it was all in the moment. A great deal of perseverance, minor vehicular damage, and a lot of villagers muttering under their breath about those crazy city folks led to a grassy embankment. Walking a little further, climbing a hillock, and eureka! There it was. A body of pristine blue water nestled between mountains, the cornflower blue sky reflected on its placid surface. The picture was completed by a fisherman sitting on the very edge, teaching his young son how to find the perfect catch.
This was it. This was all one needed. This is why you must get lost. Because till you don’t look up from the map and look around, how on Earth will you let the road surprise you?
Every once in a while it’s nice to get lost… if only to be found again.
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