Whenever people stop by and ask for directions, I feel rather scared. There have been any number of instances when strangers on a two-wheeler have stopped by someone on the pretext of asking directions and then fled after robbing the unsuspecting person. But I am not talking of that kind of danger. I am talking about the dangers in case you give the wrong direction.
This is what happened with me. I was getting a pollution test certificate for my motorcycle from a road-side vendor when a car stopped and the driver, rather arrogantly, demanded to know the directions. I was put off by the driver's arrogant manner but told him to go on straight ahead. Having thus put him on the right track, I turned my attention to the pollution test.
Now I have spent considerable number of years in this locality and, so, was aware of the geography. Till recently there used to be a single two-way straight road, but the civic administration had constructed a flyover and the road was made one-way. I didn't know this since I had been away from the city for a number of years.
The driver of the car wanted to know whether he should take the flyover. Without much thought I told him he could do so.
The car sped away. The person who was attending to the pollution test looked up at me and remarked that I had given wrong directions.
"What do you mean?" I retorted since the destination that the driver had wanted to reach was indeed straight ahead.
"It is true that the place is straight ahead but you told him to take the flyover."
"What's wrong with that?" I wanted to know.
"It is a one-way and vehicles from this side are not allowed on the flyover," he replied with a sarcastic grin.
There were sign boards conveniently placed at the start of the flyover telling drivers that it was a one-way and vehicles from this side were not allowed. The driver of the car had ignored these signboards and sped along the flyover.
"Serves him right for ignoring the signboards, let him get caught by the traffic cops at the other end," I retorted.
It was late in the afternoon and the traffic was light. "I don't think there will be any traffic cop at this hour. That is not the problem," the man continued enigmatically.
"What is the problem then?" I asked him.
"Just imagine in what mess the driver will find himself when he has to encounter speeding vehicles from the other side," the man replied.
It is then that I realized the danger. My God! By telling the driver that he could take the flyover, had I sent him to meet with an accident?
"It is not my fault; he should have heeded the sign-boards," I tried to extricate myself.
"I never said it is your fault," the man said but his grin indicated that he thought otherwise.
After obtaining the pollution test certificate, I started my motorcycle and headed homewards. But the thought kept nagging me. Having almost reached my home, I decided to turn back and retrace the car's route to see whether any accident had occurred on that patch of road. I followed the entire route and to my relief neither did I come across any traffic cop nor did I find any accident having occurred on that stretch. The relief was great and I went home easy in mind. I do not usually read the newspapers but the next day I scanned all the newspapers from the first page to the last page. There was no news of any accident! That was a tremendous relief but since then I feel rather scared whenever people stop by me to ask for directions.