Lost in Bengaluru

Lost labyrinth
Image courtesy: Leah McNeir

For someone who gets lost more as a rule than accidentally, I’m doing quite well. I’m at Bangalore with my in-laws in an apartment called ‘Kilbirnie’, housed inside a never-ending housing park complex, where residents often get lost navigating from one end to another.

Located towards the far end of North Bangalore and close to the Indian Air Force school, the complex is absolutely out-worldly – more like Dexter’s laboratory teeming with people deep in thought or rather devising a solution to navigate their way back to earth.

Reading the names of the apartments makes me feel more at home in the Milky Way. Are these the names of galaxies far far away and waiting to be discovered? Albany and Milford do sound like places that exist in ‘prithvilok’, but what can you make of Picton? Sounds like a planet close to Krypton with loads of virtual pics that make up the atmosphere!

And what about Fairlie? If one were to procure some fairy dust and sprinkle a little before Fairlie, I believe the apartment will transform to reveal its true avatar – a giant fairyland with gnomes, pixies, elfs, and every creature from Enid Blyton’s book of fairies.

Before I lose all hope, there’s Napier, Collingwood and Lumsden to make my day. These apartments stand cuddled together more like a trio of stars in a constellation. Whenever I’m near any one of them, I know my planet ‘Kilbirnie’ is near.

It’s been a good ten days that I’ve been here and I’m still to get a hang of the layout. A 15-minutes walk saw me return only after an hour; an hour which was the most gruelling 60 minutes of my life. The next time around it took me even more to return home!

Nevertheless, I did not give up on hope. The third time I tried remembering numbers of the parking lots nearby and stored it in my navigational brain, confident and relaxed that I would return like a boomerang. But alas!

There are more ways than one to enter a particular apartment here. So parking lot numbers changed depending on which way you left the apartment. The parking lot numbers I browsed through, did not find any matching record in the database I had stored. I knew I needed expert opinion.

So, who else than the security guard stationed at each of the apartments. I said ‘Kill-bir-nie’ and he looked at me as if I were an alien looking for my planet. He said, “Tower number, madam?” I fumbled in my mind. He’s most probably seen this exasperated look before. Smiling, he consulted his fellow expert and together they decoded which apartment I was referring to. Tower 7 it was, near the underground parking exit.

I’m waiting to get back to my good old building in Pune. With a relatable name like Dhanalaxmi Park Housing Society, that sounds so much earthly and my building numbered B4, I’m all sorted out.

I have a dream…

All of us do – just that one dream to live for! Mine keeps waxing and waning along with the germs up there, now you know where. The same old culprits who play Pac-man with the map I so painstakingly etch in my mind. As I was day dreaming for today’s quota, as per my personal timetable, I had an ‘idea’ and what an idea, sirjee! Also to mark the moment, a light bulb did flash – ting!

What if, the scientists at NASA take up my case on priority and keep those goddamn space aeronautics studies on hold and provide me some ‘navigational’ moral support in my space? Come on, guys! Can’t you devise a gadget and insert into my brain, much like the game Pac-man, only the villains would be the new heroes. It would work somewhat like this: I draw my map, the nasty germs begin gobbling it up, the gadget is triggered to shoot little things (I don’t know what to name them but have envisioned them like the ones in picture), these things will go right after the germs and gobble them back, yeah, that sounds so good… Tit for tat!

My map would be secure and losing my way would be a thing of the past. I could then also volunteer as a guide for this otherwise complex metro. Yey! There must be a few thousands like me at least, and the additional thousands in the form of harassed passers- by who have to go out of their way to show us our way. Considering these large numbers, it is definitely a noble project worth taking up to ensure world peace.

And I do know about GPS enabled gadgets which work along with google maps but what about a tiny creak of a road, the kinds where the tiny creeps in my brain will have a field day? Either, you customize google maps for me, or you make my tiny Pac-man fighter and I’m sure this would be akin to moonwalk for you. So, all the best, guys! And, do not give moronic excuses like – we don’t do this, we love rocket science, etc.

Lost !

…………………..this is what happened to me on a routine trip to my art materials supplier shop and one would wonder – it’s a routine trip, so how come Vin? Well, it so happened that the usual map I have in my mind after losing my way many times before, got deleted! Not accidentally though…remember the old culprits, those naughty germs in my brain. Yep, they were at it again. For those millions of my new readers, unaccustomed with my germs, please read an old post titled ‘Manzile apni jagah hain….raasthe apni jagah and GPS’, with which I also made my debut in Blogywood. Only the title is long but the post isn’t, I swear!

Let me make a few things clear first:

a. I am not directionally challenged. I challenge the directions.
b. Those germs are entirely a figment of my imagination. I only delete the brain map since I sincerely believe that if there’s a will, there’s a way. Agar chah hain, tho raah hain…..Hum honge kaamyab, ek din!

Things occurred somewhat like this….The shop is called ‘New Bombay Stationary Stores’ and it is as old as the Gateway of India gifted to King George a long long time ago. It is located in a lane called ‘Abdul Rehman Street’ in CST. There are millions of shops in the same street and another million roads in and around CST near Crawford market. Now, there aren’t any hoardings or billboards on this lane ‘Abdul Rehman Street’ so poor Abdul! Nor are there any trees, so poor me! What do I use as a base for my brain map then? Imagination …Life is my creation!

Unusual sounding shops would be the new billboards for me. When I returned from my second trip which was a long long one, needless to say that I got lost that day, I decided to take immediate steps for the map drawing. So, this is what was the route: the lane starts with the biggest BATA showroom – then Toy World – some shop selling arms and ammunition – a bylane called ‘Zanzibar Street’ – keep walking on the right till you see the red post box – that’s it, bang opposite the post box is a stupid shop selling labels and stickers (the shop isn’t stupid, the shopkeeper is and I’ll tell you why in a little while).

I have been somewhat successful in reaching my manzil with the help of this map in my subsequent trips, until yesterday which was my 7th or 8th trip maybe. It so happened that I had to hunt for new suppliers for a new idea I had. In the process of doing that, I got lost somewhere in that dingy lane, but this was nothing new. Getting lost was also a routine thing now.

I tried to get back to my route map, but just couldn’t find any of the strategic places I had made a note of. I was in the middle of millions of shops selling everything that man aspires to have, including maps. But I needed a personalized map – a map that understands me. Anyways, chah hain…raah bhi milegi….so, I inquired at a nearby shop if he knows the now popular AR street. He nodded sympathetically and pointed straight another 50 shops ahead. It was noon so no sympathy from the sun. Poor me walked straight ahead, keeping an eye for the red post box or any box which is red would do.

I finally got there and the stupid shopkeeper of that labels shop was grinning at me. He somehow knew of my days happenings. My face said it all! Our eyes met and we made the last conversation hopefully. He seemed to say ‘Kya madam..hamesha aathi ho yahi…hamesha punchthi ho…phir bhi’. I too gave an answering ‘look’- ‘main tho pehle baar aayi hun..woh meri judwa behen hain’ 🙂

By the way, I have decided not to go to that New Bombay stores anymore, I have found an easier route to a shop called ‘Himalaya Art stores’ bang opposite Sir J J School of Art!

Jahan chah…vahan raah. Jai Himalaya!

Manzile apni jagah hain….raasthe apni jagah and GPS !

And whoever had penned these beautiful lyrics to be sung by our evergreen Kishore for our evergreen Big B, surely was a victim of the ‘oh so familiar’ disorder, I too, am a victim of. And before one starts guessing as to what I’m referring to…no, its nothing to do even remotely with that ‘heart’ thing!

I have suffered in silence for the past fifteen years or so, that is since the time I had to travel on my own. Finally, I’m coming out in public, here on my first post. Read on…

I googled the term as ‘directional disorder’ wishing from the deepest pits of my heart that I don’t find even a single entry…. Alas!

There were lakhs of entries, links with concise descriptions of the medical jargon types! I mean… I just had a slight doubt and surely didn’t believe it at all, that such a term truly exists. So, that does it! I always feared this: I do suffer from some kinda syndrome…..only my parents were too busy in my childhood to catch it and take me to the correct specialist. To my utter shock, guess what, there were discussion forums where ‘real’ people with names and email IDs discussed about this disorder, took solace in the fellow sufferer’s plight, provided tips for unguided travel, offered healing words of comfort. Slowly, I came to my senses. I knew at once, yes, this is my world… here are others just like me. I belong here!


This is my Family, here’s where all my ‘so-called’ excuses will be understood as ‘real’ reasons for me losing my way all the time! Now I have the exact medical term too to add to my list of excuses !! I was glad I googled. I thanked Google.com for helping me find my ‘true’ family.

Take simple instructions like… take the first left, second right and there you go, your destination is right at the corner, lady! I would nod with gratitude and immediately draw a picture of a road (raastha) with a left turn and later two right turns and my destination (manzil) at the corner. The single, lonely woman traveler is in control… she is not going to lose her way this time…. Alas!



She not only lost her way, she lost it completely since she ie. me was trying to visit my best friend I have visited a million times before…. A few rescue calls later, I was picked up from the place where I was supposed to anchor myself as a reference point for the rescue teams , lest I lose my way again!


Then again, I wont be allowed to travel alone…. Me and be escorted, oh come on… every woman needs to travel alone at times and me, a woman of this world, a smart woman of substance, obviously needed to travel alone. Here, one may think of the adage ‘If you believe you can, then you will’. Only, me, the die-hard believer, the smart Alecca thought that if I believed too hard, I could easily fool the germs in my brain that erased the directional picture map I drew so diligently every time I was given instructions. I was about to prove my point.

Take even simpler instructions like…. take the coming left and keep walking with your eye towards the right…. Stop when you see a bunch of kids coming…. So we know there’s a school nearby.. ask one of the kids where’s the school. That’s all… the lane (raastha) opposite to the back of that school is where you need to go (manzil) ! don’t get confused… there’s also an old tree there. I nodded in chaos, the directional map I usually drew in my brain got null and void, no work here for the germs! As if all the trees are young except for this one.


I mean… talking about trees, I use these gentle creatures as my reference points now. OK, I turn left when I pass the big Gulmohar tree and keep walking till I pass these four, old trees with tiny, yellowish flowers (don’t know the name) and at the end I will pass a Peepul tree, but wait… I’m not supposed to cross it, I have to take the left that comes before it ! One may wonder, what does this smart Alecca do on her way back…. Simple, she does the same things in reverse !

At times, most trees in an area would be the same species or genre or family. But, me the innovative, die-hard, do-it-yourself-and-prove-to-the-world woman found new avenues for guidance. Hoardings, Billboards, Signboards were the new trees for me. Don’t cut down trees… I mean they are good for the health of my city and please don’t stop putting huge Billboards in my city….I mean they are good for the economy. When ‘Philips’ goes like ‘Lets make things better’, I know they mean this! Things can’t get any better than that. Look at me, I’m on my way without a single soul harassed enough to keep tracking my progress. Whoever needed GPS… yes definitely when I’m in the Antarctic region with no trees and Signboards, then GPS or Global Positioning System would guide me. hmmmm…

One may now contemplate the depths of the creative lyricist…. See what I said when I started …the raastha-manzil divide in the brains of the ‘directionally disillusioned’ !