Tech vs. asking

Everybody keeps telling me these days how it is so much easier to travel with smart phones. You don’t need to know the language. You don’t even have to interact too much with people, unless you need the Wi-Fi password. Needless to say smart phones and the Internet have made travel much easier. You know what to expect in a strange land. You know the best places to go to eat. You know what you will need to carry to have a pleasant trip. But everytime someone rattles on about how great and easy it has become, I’m reminded of a trip A and I took to Pondicherry. I was eager to go to this great pizza place that everyone was raving about where I could sit back and enjoy a glass of wine and pizza. I typed the name of the restaurant into google maps and followed the high-pitched lady’s instructions. “Turn right. Walk 300ms.”

We turned and we walked. We turned and we walked. At this point I was certain we were walking around in circles. A was optimistic so we dragged on. After a while, she exclaimed with delight, “you’ve reached your destination. It is on the left.”

In that dark road, we both stood silently for two seconds before we burst into loud laughter. On our left was a huge dustbin.

As much as I am a huge advocate for technology, I know to not depend on it too much. Sometimes it oh so innocently leads you to a dustbin. We could have asked someone for directions to that restaurant, I am sure. But in that moment we decided to just walk into another one and have a (shitty) meal.

(We did debate for a while though that maybe the dustbin had a Diagon Alley like entrance. Who knows right?)

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I was exhausted, tired and many other words that meant the same thing. I imagined ways to relieve the stress I felt.

a) I could go bungee jumping. It looks so liberating.

b) I could go swimming. The combination of the water and the strokes calmed me down.

c) I could go for a dance class. People have vouched for the stress busting that dancing is. Though I have two left feet so that could be further exhausting.

I couldn’t do any of them immediately so I decided to take a walk on the beach. I rang a friend who lived by the beach and asked her to meet me at our secret spot. On one of our walks, just like this one, we had found a secluded spot on the stretch of rocks from which you got a clean shot of the sea. It was a peaceful spot to be in. I was too restless to just sit and watch the waves. I needed an adrenaline rush to calm myself down. She saw the look in my eyes and didn’t fight me. Knowing my urge, she merely took my phone, keys and watched as I took a dive directly from the rocks into the sea. The water was shallow and the current wasn’t strong yet. 

After doing this twice, I resorted to climbing back up the rocks and drying off in the sun. She laughed hysterically as shook my hair to dry it out. I am positive I finally looked at ease. We, then, sat there and stared at the waters for a while.

“You must come with a disclaimer,” she said after a long silence, “Don’t do this with anyone else. They will declare you crazy.”

I just smiled at her. Some friends understood.