When I used to live in India, Pappa used to hand draw maps for me so that I could learn the roads and get around the city on my own. His all-time favorite story is that when he first came to Ahmedabad many decades ago, he had first walked around the streets as that was the best way to know the streets of the new city.
Right now I have come home on a visit after couple of years. Ever since I left, the outskirts of city, especially the areas surrounding our then new apartment, which were hardly visited at that time, have now become prime areas of the town. There are new roads and new buildings everywhere. Many of my known landmarks have also changed. While I recognize all the old roads, I am lost in the world of new ones.
Yesterday I decided to take out my old scooty and go for a ride on my own in Pappa’s spirit of exploration and get a sense of belonging. (Of course) I got lost on the way back home. Ended up going in a huge loop around the city only to return home by following the only road I recognized, simultaneously staring at all the new buildings around me, trying to put old and new pieces of this puzzle together. Upon reaching home, I got very excited about my mini adventure and told Pappa, who got an anxiety attack hearing this. An hour later, he very enthusiastically came to my room scratching his head with one hand and holding two papers in the other. (See attached picture).
“This is still a work-in-draft” he explained, “I have to put some more landmarks and roads in it, but let me show you how the new roads work.” He was also a bit worried because one of the roads that flowed from the top paper into the bottom one was slightly mis-aligned when both papers were kept together. He intended to re-draw the entire map after showing this to me.
I reminded him that while these maps were worthy enough to be send to Google Maps and that he needed to be sent on a boat from centuries ago as a cartographer along with the world explorers of that time, he need not re-draw a more perfect map!
This, is my genius dad, whom now I have put to task to draw maps of some more of the other newly developed parts of the city and he is thrilled about this new assignment :)