Asking directions..!

174

MY late friend Sandeep came a visiting many years ago. His beard was still there and most of his hair for one who had had a battle with cancer and won. As we sat and chatted I remembered a joke he often said about a tourist getting out of Madras Airport; those days it was still Madras, not Chennai.
The tourist turned to an elderly gentleman who was tucking his dhoti up revealing skinny legs, thighs and threatening to reveal more. “Could you tell me the road to St. Thomas Mount?” asked the tourist. “Yes madam, yes of course. Lo-o-o-o-ong it will be!” “I see,” said the tourist not seeing anything.
“And madam, bla-a-a-ack it will be..!” “Ah yes,” said the tourist, “thank you very much.” We used to have a hearty laugh as Sandeep stretched the ‘long’ and stressed the ‘black.” Well the tourist asked for the road and the local described it her; lo-o-o-o-ng and bla-a-a-ck..!
Something I’ve realized is to never ask directions from people who are hanging around. You are wandering in circles, trying to find a particular building and suddenly spot a knowledgeable looking young man who seems to know you are lost. You stop your car. “Could you please tell me where Rose Villa is?”
“Who you want to see?” “That’s okay,” I reply, “just tell me where Rose Villa is?” “Without knowing who you want to see, how I tell you where building is?” “Okay,” I say, “I want to see Mr. Anil Kumar.” “What he is doing?” We move away, before the throbbing pain in my head transfers itself to my fist.
Then there was another time when a directory was being written for a particular club I belong to, unfortunately the printing was being done in Kerala and the printer had misplaced a page with the addresses of some Mumbai members. “Third line what is the name of the building?” he shouted on the phone to the President in Mumbai. “Cozy Home.”
“Ah Khoshy Home,” wrote the printer and that was how it was printed. My friends Shanker and his wife Promita spent two hours searching the whole of Bandra in Mumbai for Khoshy Home, till they got across to the host on his cell, who gave them the real name.
Driving through the mountains of Tennessee, we stopped to ask an elderly man the way to Coffee Hill School. “Well sir,” said the local, “You go down here until you come to Hangin’ Rock, and then – you know where that is, dontcha?”
“No,” I replied, “I don’t believe I do.” “Well that’s where you turn off and go on two miles until you come to Tumblin’ Creek. You know where that is dontcha?” “No I don’t” “I’m sorry, sir,” said the local shaking his head regretfully. “I don’t think you know enough for me to tell you anything..!