India Opinion Transportation

Safety on trains cannot wait

I was trying to imagine the ill fate of those 32 who perished in the Tamil Nadu Express fire today morning. What wrong could they have done, to have found themselves on the S11 coach of the train? The scenes of the fire were rather gory, pictures seen across the media houses of the country over the course of this day. Many more have been injured, some miraculously escaped through the skin of their teeth and the rest were not lucky enough to get through this. For a railway network, which focusses on new trains to the home state of the railway minister amongst other states and some other measures, safety could be one of the core issues which might require an urgent look in and addressed in the truest of senses.
This is not an attempt to point fingers at the Railway Ministry or the officials in the Railways or even the government over their usually callous attitude to everything that happens around them. But this incident could have happened in a general compartment next door (since S11 should be presumably next to the general compartment, in a 24 coach train such as the Tamil Nadu Express) instead and it could have been catastrophic. I believe, that at any point in time, there are atleast 150 people, if not less travelling in these general compartments. That is no way a justification that something like this could happen in a sleeper compartment and we be mum over the issue.
I had read a couple of months ago, at the prospect of introducing fire proof coaches in the mails and express trains of the Indian Railways. Tamil Nadu Express, being a priority train for the government (Yes, there are always trains from a state which have higher priorities over the others. For ex: 12623/24 Trivandrum – Chennai Mail has a priority over every other train running in that section) should have been one of the first beneficiaries of this, had the implementation been properly executed on the ground. And maybe, this article may have never even come up here. Railway authorities may point out that the number of accidents have decreased – as they have tried to show here right after the accident, but there still is room for making sure this issue of safety completely foolproof to a very good degree.
India Opinion Politics

One more fast-unto-death, Mister Anna Hazare??

So, this joke called Anna Hazare decides to go on a fast-unto-death from tomorrow, his second or third fast with absolutely no results one must point out. Relentless. Earlier, the government used to atleast budge a little to his demands. That was until he did not have corruption in his own backyard. And once that got proven, nobody ever gave him a fuck too. That is actually the story of our country. We have a grand beginning to anything that happens. Although its a matter of time until it fizzles out as well. I had predicted this as early as August last year, in my article here.
In this case, any sensible man would have taken to account the sheer impossibility of the objectives, anna had set during his campaign. His dream of being a second mahatma, riding on the wave of a corrupt free India backfired for the first time really when we discovered the contradictions and the varying opinions coming out from the Anna camp. It gave the impression that the team had immense differences in opinion and never had a sound agreement over the core issue. His second mistake – joining hands with Baba Ramdev. Baba Ramdev himself has unaccounted assets worth billions in both land and money as far as the Scottish Isles. Ridding the country of black money would have had to start from their own backyard, something which is shameful enough to begin a possible downfall. 
Third and the most lethal one in my opinion was his dream of being a political alternative. Although it sounded very well, considering how much this country is fed up with the two major political powerhouses, one still cannot accept the reality of seeing a third alternative. And sadly, the third alternative will always be seen as the third best in this country. That explains the lean crowds that he has begun to experience for the first time since the campaign took off. He is not used to the thin attendances. And I am pretty sure there won’t be many takers for his fast-unto-death drama, starting tomorrow. With the recent digs at the media as well, apart from the political babus of the country, I believe they have managed to dig a deeper hole into their miseries. One wonders why they still vouch for media presence when all they have been doing is to trash them including. Subramaniam Swamy called them naxalites, in one of his recent meetings. I wouldn’t say the term naxalites is descriptive of team Anna and their campaign, but they sure seem no real alternative in this mega cauldron geopolitik environment prevailing in this country.   
My thoughts today are with those people who might eventually turn up for his fast-unto-death hoping for a change. This word change was first defined by Barack Obama in his political campaign in 2007. To be honest, there was no change at all since his election into office, if not for more wars and bloodshed. I would just like to tell these people that the change is a myth that certain people promise you, in lieu of seeking few personal benefits for themselves. The verdict is already out in the open for you all to take it and make an informed sensible decision on this regard. Its hot in Delhi – so sit back at home and relax with friends & family. Learn to accept the realities of life as they come in front of you and try to accommodate them in the best possible manner.   
Airlines Airports

Unified Terminals and the easyJet Model

Two interesting articles on Airport Business, in my set of reviews for today.

One talking on the emergence of Amsterdam Schiphol as a major force in Europe and on their vision for sustainable growth. Schiphol has been a pioneer of the one – terminal concept – one of the factors, to which they attribute their success over the years gone by. Innovations in ground handling, recognizing the need for making frequent flyer friendly facilities for passport control and realizing the need for the airport to play a vital role in the growth story. What also caught my interest is the response by a certain, Roshan Lal who tries to talk on the present Indian context of the airports scene. Read the full article here.
The second one talks on the success story of the easyJet business model. Contrary to the other low cost airlines, easyJet intends to directly compete with the legacy carriers by focussing its services on the primary airports instead of the secondary and regional terminals situated elsewhere. The model has worked well for the airline which has grown from being a UK centric carrier to have bases on a pan European basis, the latest being in Lisbon. Read the full article here.
As for my research, Schiphol and the easyJet model could be perfect, if only they complied with my requests for an interview and subsequent observations into their respective cases. Low cost airlines need to ensure their sustainability and that will come about only if they serve airports with larger possible capacities – a reason why I believe the easyJet model makes sense than the conventional Southwest to me. Sure, Southwest has been an inspiration for almost any airline to dream of flying low cost, but it needs to be understood that times such as this, call for a rethink and a re-evaluation of strategies.

On the maya beheading and some real filmy burglars

Maya’s statue got beheaded in Lucknow today. And very soon after the incident, there was a message from memsaheb addressed to the cadres. She, in a message to the cadres requested them not to take law into their hands it seems. And this group which damaged the statues, demanded her arrest and also pleaded that the statues be demolished within 72 hours to save the swabhimaan of the state.

I was thinking of this gang which did the beheading of the statue. So kind of them to give a trial run before they go about working  out their trade on flesh and blood. 

There was also this incident in Chennai where miscreants returned 70 sovereigns worth gold and other valuables which they had stolen from a home after breaking into it last week. They returned the complete amount and also enclosed a sorry note along with it, addressed to the victims. I don’t understand the source of their goodness now. Maybe they went into the wrong home. Or maybe they wanted to test their skills before the real deal. Oh come on, who am I kidding?! Filmy burglars.    

Love in the time of cholera….

So, one of my very good friends for a long time announced that he got married to his girlfriend of a year today morning. I was not ready for this, to be honest. What was otherwise meant to be a normal, fine day despite the hang over of last night, turned on its head in a matter of minutes. Yes they have been going out and everything for a year, but to be out of Facebook, friends for almost 6 months and come back on, announcing to the whole world of his wedding was indeed Jab We Met level dramatic.
I am not heartless enough, not to feel happy for the guy. I am happy for him ofcourse despite the fact that he hurried off to get it legal at 24, instead of living life a few more years and getting it done a bit later. This indeed portrayed the naivety with which people decide to get married out of the blue. Not all of these work, if you ask me. And then, in no time, you are trying to “make it work“. Well, I hope he doesn’t have to go through this now.
But it was not the whole marriage bit which had shook me. It was something else. I am not quite sure they had invited family over for the occasion. Maybe he had his own reasons not to be having them – I have no clue. But then, I was imagining the predicament of the parents who are not invited for the special occasion. They bring you up, buy you all the good things in life, set your life up in more ways than one and they are returned the favour of not being invited for their kids wedding. How befitting. They will indeed forgive him, if need be because that’s how nice people they are. My thoughts are with them, today.