This compass doesn’t work
The Issue: Getting lost
The Soundtrack: A forest
Do you get lost often? Not the kind of getting lost when you’re told to ‘get lost’ and you disappear from the person’s view but lost as those guys before Columbus were while trying to find their ways across to us in the ‘Indies’.Well, I have the genetic equivalent of a very, very faulty GPS system. So if I want to go to Point B from Point A (which is invariably my office or my house) then, if my director (used in the truest sense of the word) is missing, I’m lost.
Last week, I had to travel by my own in my car to one of those foreign missions in Chankyapuri. If you’re a Dilliwala, you’ll know that this embassy enclave is as full of horizontal-vertical lines as there are in a Pete Mondrian painting, broken by identical circles that just want you to go round and round and round them till you’re rid of your desire to take a calculated risk and turn left. Well, I took one wrong turn left and after that a wrong turn right and the rest, as they say, is bad geography.
So what is it with us directionally challeneged? Is it really some sort of hardwiring problem we’re born with and develop skills for like mindreading and whisky-drinking? Or is it a consequence of us being totally dependent on other people knowing fully well that someone will always get us out of a jam — or in this case, out of terra incognita? The truth probably lies beyond the next gole chakkar.
But one thing I arm myself with while driving alone in the car is the Cure’s fog-enveloping masterpiece A forest . For Robert Smith singing this 1980 song, the problem is of a somewhat different nature than mine. As he sings to one of rock’s most mood-enhancing, gothic music, he follows the voice of a girl, siren-like and inviting “into the trees/into the trees”.
Which is when his and my conditions coalesce: “Suddenly I stop/but I know it’s too late/I’m lost in a forest/all alone/the girl was never there/it’s always the same/I’m running towards nothing/again and again and again.”
And no, I never made it to my Chanakyapuri destination that day.