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Getting Lost in Tuscany

Each time we do a self-drive holiday abroad,I am the official navigator,poring over the AAA map, planning out the route,deciding which sights to see,whether we will whizz across the highway or take the scenic route and so on.This holiday however,the family decided that the time had come to graduate to the digital world and thus we should invest in a GPS.

So Tim-the-GPS was duly installed and we set off on our travels.The first journey,with Tim giving instructions in his quiet,authoritative voice and polished upper class accent went well.We reached the little village in Tuscany which was to be our home for the next ten days without much ado and all was well with the Purohit household.

However little did we know that Sanjay-the-husband had taken a deep and violent dislike to Tim-the-GPS.

Maybe it was that authoritative tone which reminded him of a school principal,or maybe it was the inherent aversion he has to taking orders or maybe it was just one more example of men not asking for directions.In any case the next day we realized,much to our consternation,that every time Tim would say something,Sanjay would want to do exactly the opposite since according to him Tim was a fool and an idiot.And every time it would require gentle cajoling from our son and me before he would agree to follow what Tim was saying.Since this invariably happened at crossroads and roundabouts where decisions need to be taken in split seconds it created a lot of stress and drama in the car but we more or less ended up reaching where we had intended to go in the first place.

Till of course the day Tim let us down very badly and dropped us like a ton of bricks,literally in the middle of nowhere! So,while looking for a highly recommended restaurant in a small town near the Tuscan coast,Tim took us on a wild goose chase which involved going up and down a steep road three times,turning two loops back on the route we had originally taken and finally stopping in the middle of a forest with not a soul in sight,where in a self-satisfied tone he announced that We Had Reached Our Destination!

This of course immediately confirmed to Sanjay that he had been right all along in branding Tim an idiot.No explanations from us,that we had possibly typed in the wrong address or that finding a small restaurant is not really a GPS’s core competency would make him change his opinion.

We finally never found the restaurant,ate in the nearest place we could get to and decided to drive back home.But husband dearest had decided that in the Sanjay vs Tim standoff,this episode had tilted the scales in his favor and at the very next roundabout,with a determined glint in his eye;he swung the car in exactly the direction away from Tim’s recommendation.

We watched in horrified silence as with every passing mile away from the correct route,Tim’s voice kept mounting in hysteria and he went into paroxysms of panic.Every time he would tell us to turn around, Sanjay would  press the accelerator even harder.By the time we had driven 50 odd miles,poor Tim had hyperventilated himself into oblivion,and all of us had realized that we were completely lost!

Thankfully the signposts on the Italian highways are clear and we reached home in the end,though not without adding a 100 extra miles and several hours to our journey!

I now firmly believe in two things1) the research which says that many couples think increasingly about divorce immediately after a family holiday 2) that the concept of GPS was invented by a woman!