Someone like me

What do you rely on while traveling a long distance in a car? Do you rely on paper maps or a GPS navigation software? In this age, the most likely answer is the latter. I am a big fan of Waze. After switching over to Waze in 2016, I have forgotten the Garmin device that I bought in 2015. On the one hand, it is true that the Waze app has shot up my stress levels in areas with no connectivity, but on the other hand, these occasions are rare.

I am back in India now. One day after landing in Kerala, I have been processing the tall buildings, the crowds, and the noise silently for a day before I decided to go for a short drive with my family. I have visited India for short durations only in the past eight years. The number of visits was fewer than what I would have desired. On all these occasions, it has been a cathartic experience to drive. You start with self-doubt and end up in the area which is a combination of confidence and arrogance.

This time, I decided to use Waze while driving in Kerala. Don't be surprised. I survived in the NCR region and also in Bengaluru from 2007 to 2010 using the GPS navigation system that came bundled on Blackberry device. Even today, please do not ask me to drive from Bellandur to the center of Bengaluru, for I may reach Koramangala on my own but not beyond. After I adopted these systems for navigation, I stopped to rely on the shopkeepers and the travelers or people by the roadside for navigational guidance. Was there any trip where we have not pulled by a shop on the roadside to get a second opinion on the route?

Despite the carrier promising me a 4G connection, the Waze app continuously displayed it was searching for a network as there was no 4G network. As I had looked at the route before starting the trip, the drive to the destination was uneventful. On the way back, we preferred an alternate route that was not as deserted as the onward journey. So we decided to stop and ask for directions. A young man was standing alone by the road. When I halted the car, rolled down the windows and asked him, he was very helpful.

"Turn back and drive for two minutes. Take the first right." He explained. I paused to absorb his instructions. He might have noticed my struggle in processing all the information, which was evident by his next statement. "You can again stop and ask someone else if you are not sure of which right turn. You will easily find someone like me." I struggled not to smile. It is true. There is always someone like him which is more reliable than the technology. 

As for the failing technology, the girls in the car gave a simple solution which worked. They asked me to restart the phone. After the restart, I got my money's worth. The phone displayed the 4G signal.