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I feel rather scared when people stop by and ask me for directions. I have read of strangers on two-wheelers stopping by someone to ask for directions and then fleeing away after robbing the unsuspecting person. But I am not talking of that kind of danger; I feel afraid of giving wrong directions.
The other day, 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 angry at the driver's arrogant manner, but I kept my cool and told him he was following the right road. I turned my attention to the pollution test.
I had spent my childhood years in this neighbourhood and was aware of its geography. The municipality had recently constructed a flyover. The car driver, who was still there, asked in his rude manner whether he should take the flyover. "Go ahead," I told him and this time, he did speed away as though his tail was on fire.
The person who was attending to the pollution test looked up at me as though I had committed a murder and said, "What have you done?"
"How do you mean?" I retorted.
"You told him to take the flyover."
"What's wrong with that?"
"It is one-way and vehicles on this side of the road are not allowed on the flyover," he said.
There were signboards telling drivers that the flyover was one-way, but the car driver, relying on my assurance, had ignored the signboards and sped along.
"Serves him right for ignoring the signboards; let traffic cops stop him at the other end," I retorted.
"I don't think there will be any traffic cop at this hour. That is not the problem," the man said.
"What is the problem then?" I asked him.
"Just imagine what will happen when the driver finds himself in the way of speeding vehicles coming from the other side," the man said.
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 signboards," I tried to extricate myself.
"I never said it is your fault," the man said but his grin indicated that he thought otherwise. He had not thought it proper to correct me at the time I was speaking with the car driver. He had been silent at that time!
After obtaining the pollution test certificate, I started my motorcycle and headed homewards. But the visions of a terrible accident kept tormenting me. I reached home, a good ten miles away. But the accident thoughts were so troubling that I returned to check whether an accident had occurred on the flyover. There were no indications that such a thing had happened and I was somewhat relieved.
That night I dreamed that the pollution centre man was testifying before the court and pointing an accusing finger at me. I don't usually read newspapers but the next day I got three newspapers and read all of them from the first page to the last page. There was no news of any accident!
So, now, whenever I see people making as if to stop by me to ask for directions, I run for my life.
Some useful links for
- Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
- IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
- Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
- Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
- IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
- Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
- Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
- Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
- Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
- Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu