My father besides being the best shooter in his battalion (at least that`s what he always told us) was also a good map reader. Only a person with a good sense of direction can read a map well (know more about it here). My father, who passed on to me his shooting skills (just that I shoot off my mouth) and his good physic (I look like John Abraham, just that I am one foot shorter)…forgot to pass on to me his sense of direction.
Maybe that`s why I grew up wanting to be a Collector. Not a Bone Collector like Denzel Washington but the District Collector. I still remember the conversation I had with an uncle of mine when I was just ten years old.
“So, what do you want to become when you grow up?”
“I want to be a collector!” I remember saying triumphantly.
“Good. An electricity bill collector makes good money.” Maybe, the idea that somebody from the family could become a district collector never crossed his mind.
“Not an electricity bill collector, uncle. I want to become a district collector!”
My uncle looked at me for a few seconds…as if I had gone bonkers. Back then I didn`t understand why, but now that I know the rest of my family…I empathize with him. The fact that I was not becoming an electricity bill collector must have been shocking indeed. Now I understand the irony, but back then…I stood there confused.
“But why?,” was all he could ask.
“So that the driver can drive me around in a car fitted with a siren. I am bad with directions, you see.”
“You sure lack proper direction,” he said before nodding at my mother and walking away.
You might think that I am exaggerating but I am not. I am so bad with directions that when my wife Rekha asked me to switch off the kitchen tube-light, I would ask: “Where is the kitchen?”
When in class X my teacher had asked, “where is West Bengal?”
I had said “On the eastern side of India.”
With age my desperation at being a directionless person increased. During one of the many quiz contests that I participated in, I was asked: “So who built the first Railway line between Mumbai and Thane?”
“Somebody who knew his way around,” I answered. In a totally unrelated incident, we were announced losers at the competition.
Years went by and today I am no better. I am the same directionless guy I was when I was ten years old.
A week back, my reporting manager asked: “How can you go to Cognizant Technology Solutions to attend an interview?”
“Well…I followed a Cognizant bus in my new Swift and in no time, I was there.”