It was nearing 7.00 p.m. I along with my family were at Andheri west (a Mumbai Suburb) and  decided to visit a relative around three kms away. We looked at the Google Map and it showed a time span of nine minutes and the route.   I was driving.

We started  and soon found ourselves in a narrow and winding road and  in the midst of a fish market.  We asked for directions and they waved the hand in an upward direction. At a narrow turn, in true Indian Tradition, there were vehicles bearing  down  on us with seemingly no place to go. This is where Indian ingenuity sprang up. One old gentle man directed  us upwards with only millimetre of space to spare. My family members were sitting with their hearts in the mouth. Only my granddaughter   was staring with curiosity at the antics of adults.

My car cleared this obstacle and we were then perched on a steep ascent with some vehicles behind.  The Google map was referred to and we took a turn which soon landed us on the top of a hill with a temple on it. There was a taxi unloading some goods. I was wondering where we had reached, when my family members started screaming about a vehicle reversing suddenly towards us. I immediately pushed the accelerator and moved ahead with seconds to spare. If the vehicle (an SUV) had dashed on us, there would have been immense damage to vehicle and perhaps to passengers.

The people on that hill top kindly gave us the directions to go to our destination and also mentioned that the Gaodevi (Village Goddess) temple was a powerful temple. We were shaken with the journey so far and the near miss accident. We offered our mental prayers and thanks to the deity and proceeded to the  destination.

What I found out later was that there is a perfectly good road to our destination. But for some reason, the Google Map persists in showing a route which is perhaps visible only in the satellite. At ground level, it is hardly a road for any kind of vehicle.

I realized  that blind trust on such digital devices (Digital India is our dream) without prior physical corroboration can lead to such disastrous situations. If we are going to an unknown place, it makes sense to check with someone at the destination whether the road we see on the Google Map actually exists, is motorable and whether there are any better roads.  My son told me of a similar instance where he trusted  the Google Map and landed up travelling though rough village  roads with cattle roaming and even crossing a river  on a  ferry along with the car.

It is also a lesson that when you are not certain, using a public transport of any form is safer than adventure driving.

What however remains embedded in my heart is the moment where I averted the SUV dashing against our car. I believe that it was divine intervention more than anything else.

So no blind trust on Google Maps, discriminating and knowledge based use of vehicle when going to unknown places and above all ensuring that God is on your side.

While the first two are within our hands, the last one would remain an unceasing endeavour.



  1. Ashok Gupta says:

    Very true Mr. Anjeneyan. It happened two -three times while travelling to Goa n Nanded (Maharashtra) n indeed short, proper n better routes were available which could realize on the return journey with the help of locals. Just lucky enough for not facing hurdles as much you faced.

  2. GMaps is getting better everyday, but yes – its far from perfect. Especially in countries like India.

    I personally find it very useful though – probably, because I have the navigation skills of a 1 year old. 😅

  3. CKVenkat says:

    Ur reactions to use of Google map is understandable…unfortunately Google map technology of giving route and directions is not so suitable to Indian roads…in us a road is at least 20 or 30 ft wide..also Google map basically connects two points by shortest Chennai I had the experience of landing at a wrong address as there were similar named localities…use Google map with caution anywhere other than Usa…

  4. Very well said Mr. Anjeneyan. I did have similar experiences earlier and continue to have even today.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: