It all started when the delightful Pepper and the lovely Mint of PepperMint ( fame had come home for dinner one day!

Apart from the myriad of things we discussed (midst which both found time to listen to R and stuff) GPS (Global Positioning system) was one of them.

Pepper sweared she couldnt function without it in the US. Mint thought it wasnt a great idea. RD was pretty impressed with it. Me? Well, honestly I didnt even know how it functioned and what happened till they took the pains to explain it to me.

For someone who is geographically challenged, it seemed a wonderful invention. But I forget, that I am technologically challenged as well. So I guess for people like me who are motor mouths, stopping the car, and asking ‘bhai, yeh bhayandar kaise jate hai (How do I reach Bhayandar) seems to be the best option.
Anyways, I digress. Midst discussions, Mint mentioned that its a technology that makes you dumb. Pepper agreed but mentioned that for her it was the best thing especially in the US where she used to drive to places she was not familiar with. RD agreed to Pepper, saying its awesome technology etc etc.

Mint maintained his stand and then we drifted to other topics πŸ™‚

And then, over the weekend.

Saturday, since my inlaws are leaving back for Cal next weekend, we decided to go on a small picnic with them to a place near Karjat. So RD takes out his phone, activates the GPS and inputs the points or whatever they are called and then decides to follow it.

I am bit skeptical saying, why do you need it when we both are here, and you know most of the way and we just can call up the picnic place guys and ask for the final directions.

Nah! lets do the GPS he says.

I keep quiet mostly because I dont want to get into an argument and honestly, he definitely knows better than me as far as directions are concerned.

All is well until we enter Thane.

He takes a turn and says oh I think this turn is wrong, (He knows its wrong but he is still following that GPS!!!)

Why are you taking it then, I ask him. But its too late. We are in trouble!

We enter the main market. There is hardly place for people to walk with both sides full of shops and vegetable fruit vendors, and the damn thing is taking us toward Thane station. This is really weird, I think, but keep shut, because the in laws are there as well and I dont want to create a scene.

As soon as RD takes the turn into the market, he says **** and says I shouldnt have followed the GPS. There is something grossly wrong with these directions!

and then RD is trying to maneuver between those shops when we just just behind a lady who is walking without looking back. I think the edge of our car touched her. RD brakes like crazy. The lady turns around, and looks at us, while I am trying to get out of the car (I had removed my chappals and was sitting comfortably in the back seat with MIL and R) She starts crying. Loudly. Howling. RD is panic.

I leave my chappals and jump into a huge pile of rotten vegetables mixed with mud (as seen in markets on rainy days!) and then go to the lady. She is not hurt but crying like crazy. RD is panic. We give her water and offer to take her to the hospital, house, whever she wants. There is a crowd but thankfully except one guy most of them realise she is not hurt. She stops crying while I keep holding her. She says she is fine and turns and walks around.

I get back to the car. RD gets back.

We are too stunned for a while. And then RD just starts the car and goes out of the market somehow.

The GPS is forgotten and its blinking or whatever because RD has taken a different turn or whatever!

In short, we stop just outside the market and the motor mouth me, asks for directions from a panwala nearby and proceed.

After our hearts have come back to normal, RD remembers the conversation we had with Pepper and Mint, and we recollect how the very smart Mint had remarked that technology often dumbs you.

RD knew he was getting into a wrong galli, and yet he took it!

Technology is good as long as you use the human brains along with it. I just hope we dont raise a generation of kids who are so dependent on technology that they fail to understand basic instructions. Sometimes I feel what Issac Asimov wrote is becoming reality.

So all, you GPS users, do use the technology, but ensure you all use your brains as well.

As far as the R household is concerned, we are looking at GPS with a lot of caution πŸ™‚

About R's Mom

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53 Responses to GPSing!

  1. Santulan says:

    I have personally used GPS many times, and it has worked brilliantly for me.

    However what I do feel is that many times I can take shorter routes instead of the that given by the GPS. GPS is intelligent but not smart.

    But a a wonderful help when you don’t know how you’re going to get to where you want to

  2. Smita says:

    Hmmmm saved in nick of time….
    I turst GPS a lot, In fact we used it yesterday also…..Thankfully it has never failed us but there is a reason behind that as well. We reserach the route well before starting the journey. GPS throws the shortest route for you but ultimately it isn’t human. It doesn’t know which route is crowded or between the market place etc. so as u sau use your brain also!!!

    U said Karjat? We were at Matheran this weekend….don’t tell me u were also somewhere there πŸ˜€

  3. Varsh says:

    Uh..oh! You did that ‘I told you so’ thing with RD, did you? πŸ˜›
    I totally agree with Mint here. Technology sure dumbs you. We forget that the knowledge of any app is only as much as has been fed in it (its simply information), In India GPS tracking is even more difficult since it doesn’t get used enough to find out the errors in it.
    I rely more on Maps, though A makes fun of me for it. I feel it is better if I can get a general layout of any new place I’m visiting, that’s all. Even in Mumbai it helps me a lot. But yes, I don’t mind being a ‘motor mouth’ when need be. πŸ™‚

  4. And this is why I don’t like GPSes. I still prefer to use a proper street directory {maps!}. I agree with Mint in that it makes you dumb…I’d blogged about it a while back. A friend of mine relies so much on the GPS that in her previous relationship, she couldn’t get to her boyfriend’s place without punching in his address. And they’d been going out for about 8 months! You stop paying attention to things. This same friend had her GPS get us lost when we were going to a course. It took us a whole roundabout way and told us to turn right in a tunnel where there was no turn! I remember telling her it’s an expensive way to get lost!!! I’d rather use maps to navigate my way and if I get lost, I learn from it anyway!

  5. sandhya says:

    LOL! RD trying to maneuver the car through that market! It is home turf for me, a mere 2kms from my parents’ place, and even walking through is a chore! πŸ™‚

  6. K says:

    GPS is surely crazy eh? You know what when B got his smart phone and started accessing to GPS, he used to follow that each and every time, I mean, to the places where we have been like 100 times. At times I wonder, there will be a day when he will find his way from living room to bedroom πŸ™‚

  7. *I* am the GPS of this household. You cannot get lost(for long anyway) with me. I still use the GPS on my phone a lot of times. I guess over here, the roads and traffic is more organised and there are no nasty surprises of markets and roadside stalls or people living under a flyover and the sorts. So GPS works. Especially when we go on holidays in UK or in The EU.

    When we wanted to go to the EU visa office somewhere in London, we decided to use the GPS and reached the place in 30min. The next time when I had to go there alone, I used my brain and took a patli galli and reached in 5min. πŸ™‚

    I guess you were in the Jamblinaka market in Thane. I hate going there by foot. I can imagine the chaos by car!

    • R's Mom says:

      Wow! you are awesome arent you!!

      LOL on taking the patli gaali and reaching in 5 minutes hehehe πŸ™‚

      Pata nahi yaar what it was..but it was near thane station and going through it was a nightmare honestly!

  8. summerscript says:

    GPS once made me go around a roundtana twice!
    You are right! GPS+brain is a good combo
    GPS+ No brain+ No driving skill is a deadly summerscript combo.

  9. paatiamma says:

    Once a teammate said something on similar mis- adventures with the GPS.. And later she realized that the setting in the GPS was by walk and not by car..

  10. ashreyamom says:

    agreed.. technology and man.. i always smell trouble, but still live with it.. :)..

  11. That happened probably because the GPS usually tells the smallest possible distance without taking into the account its narrow lanes, haat days, market area or whatever. We have faced this too.

    I would still say it has been of great help for both TBH and me when ever we travel in new cities and hire cars to drive ourselves around. But I prefer it only second to human interaction, even with the GPS on I tend to ask all the bhaiyas, sabji walas, bhaisaabs, drivers just to reconfirm our directions. Not only I doubt the GPS a bit, and the frequency of google updating its map with all the over night todna – khodna in India but I am the epitome of self doubt as well and its mostly me being the navigator.

  12. Amit says:

    I think you should use GPS only when you are in an unfamiliar terrain. I have used it in UK and it worked brilliantly. Also, I think it works in India only on main roads.

  13. I am directionally and technologically challenged, just like you. πŸ™‚ I believe in the good ol’ method of asking for directions. The OH used to, till recently, when he got a smartphone with GPS and all. I don’t even know how the damn thing works! Can hardly type a message on it. 😦

    Whatever did Isaac Asimov say?

    You are so right – we shouldn’t be so dependent on technology that we stop using our own brains!

    • R's Mom says:

      Gee! you are exactly like me πŸ™‚

      Issac Asimov writes a story in which he talks about humans being so so dependent on machines that a guy who can do mental mathematics is considered a freak!!

      I think the book is called nine tomorrows or something

  14. Ashwathy says:

    First-time GPS users eh? Yep, happens. The problem with GPS is that it shows you the shortest way closest to you… even if you have to squeeze your way through a bustling market place and small little gali. So in that respect it can be a pain. It has to be treated with some amount of caution. Basically, do not blindly follow it. Combine it with your general sense of direction, ask if required, and then follow it. That’s what I do.

    Technology does make you dumber in a lot of ways. You stop applying your own mind and let the gadget do the job. But that doesn’t always work, does it?

  15. I usually know my regular routes and don’t use GPS, but when I am in a new city or have to explore new places in my city I do use my gPs, these days I am using my phone GPS, I can plan my route based on the traffic. But we did get into major trouble trusting GPS blindly, some lesson we learn only when we experience . In India I find best way to reach a destination is by asking , but here you hardly see any people on the road .

  16. The Bride says:

    Ironically, on the weekend, the opposite happened to me – I was arguing for vetoing the GPS because I suspected it was misdirecting us, but it turned out it was right and I was wrong. We were amazed at how accurate the GPS was even in really remote parts of Hong Kong. In fact, it’s probably less accurate in some of the built-up areas because it cannot get the signal properly is what I’ve heard.

    • R's Mom says:

      LOL on that one :):) Oh I didndt know that its less accurate in built up areas…I thought they are yet to track India’s galis πŸ™‚

  17. Smitha says:

    I use the GPS here, and it has always been very effective. Yes, sometimes, there are new changes to roads which have not been mapped yet, but then that’s what road signs are for πŸ™‚ We can’t really leave our brains behind while using a GPS or any other technology for that matter πŸ™‚
    I mainly use it when I go on new routes or for long distance drives. Husband, on the other hand, will punch in the address first, no matter where he is off to πŸ™‚

  18. Smitha says:

    But that must have been scary while it lasted! Thank god the lady was not really hurt!

  19. Pingback: When I go walking.. | Any Excuse to Write…

  20. telugumom says:

    I rely on GPS when I need to go to a new place. My brother was saying it is pretty good in Bengaluru. I am not sure about the other places.

    Hope you had fun at your picnic after all this hungama…

  21. Pepper says:

    I won’t show this post to Mint, I know he will come up with the “I told you so” bit.
    Well, what can I say.. I agree GPS makes you dumb. But for people who are already dumb when it comes to directions (me!!), it provides great assistance. I said this that day over dinner too na.. πŸ˜€

    Also, asking people on the road is something i do too, but that works for me only when I am not driving myself. When I am at the wheel, then I find it hard to keep stopping, taking U turns, finding locals and asking them the way at every turn. It is easier to have some automated voice telling you where to go.

  22. pixie says:


    I know what you mean!! I use GPS very regularly here and though it has worked like a charm, I have got lost, walking for miles or taking the wrong bus all because of GPS!!

  23. anisnest says:

    GPS is definitely a blessing esp. in USA where routes are marked eons ago and there are frequent map updates.. It has helped us in many many situations but I don’t like to use it always.. I always challenge M to drive without GPS at least the 10th time we visit the same place. I like to remember routes that will be revisited but this guy will use GPS even for the very familiar route that annoys me sometimes…

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