Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Indian railways improved??

Well, today i am going to baroda. The train is at 7:30. I called for a cab. The distance from home to station is around 20-30 min.

The trick here is how do you decide at what time you should call the cab so that the cab drops you at the station on the right time - neither too late nor too early. So, what you do is take a buffer of 30 minutes for boarding the train and give the cab a buffer of 30 minutes. So in my case, i took the target to reach station at 07:00 (30 min buffer at my side). And called the cab at 06:00. Bingo, so now as per IST(Indian Stretchable Timings), the cab would turn up at 06:30 and drop you at station at 07:00. The problem here is that the cab does not give a damn whether you catch the train or not. So at 05:55, buzzed the cab driver and ask him when he is going to arrive. Basically, you are acting as a wake-up call for the cab driver. He is not supposed to catch the train, you are, so it is your responsibility to wake him up and remind him of his duties and ensure that he arrives on time to pick you up. Just hope that the cab driver is not some person who does 2-3 snoozes to his alarm before waking up. So buzzed him again in 10 min to ensure that he is up and in his cab and driving. Also it is necessary to control your anger in such situations, else you may burst everything up.

So the cab comes at 06:35. The driver is aware that he is late, and since you have told him that you need to be at station at 07:00 to catch the train at 07:10 (just make up some time and have at least 15 min buffer), he will surely break all speed limits to achieve his aim of dropping you at station at the right time. So strap your seat belts and put your life in the driver's hands and wait. I think, more accidents & traffic jams happen due to the fact that people dont take into account the time that would be required in travel. For them, if they are late in getting up, they would try to make up for the lost time during driving. So over speeding and driving in the wrong lanes - results in either accidents or traffic jams.

Well, so i am again at the famous Indian Railways Station. Its crowded with autos. My cab is stuck behind the autos and unable to move ahead. Why is there so much jam here? Oh, people have parked their cars on both sides of the road leaving only a small path for a single car to move ahead. And the autos are trying to move back looking at the jam ahead. So traffic is crawling and there is a jam.

To talk about jams, i remember a jam where i was at the heart of the jam. I was stuck in the jam for around 1 hour. It happened just near a crossroad with bright red lights and the traffic police trying to control the traffic. Cars on either side of the red light covered both the to and fro lanes. Cars which were going to come towards us had no where to go cause the way was jammed up with cars moving in the other direction. And we had no where to go cause the road ahead was blocked with cars facing me. And to add to it, the bus drivers and cab drivers try to squeeze out of whatever place is available. Making the jam more jammed.

Sorry, i wandered. well, so i am at the station finally, totally crowded. No place to move. Its dirty as always. The enquiry counter has a huge queue. If i get in the queue, i will surely miss my train - by the time my turn comes. Why do they have a single enquiry counter and a very arrogant person at the other side. Maybe that is the bussiness model to reduce requests - poor UI. The only good thing is that this time the train is on time (i am lucky).

So after being on the station for 10 minutes, the train is here. All the doors are locked. People are standing and waiting so that someone opens the doors. Some guy with no uniform opens the doors and people start rushing inside. Again there is a jam, if you stand aside and give way to someone, you will have to stand aside till the complete batch of people have crossed. Cause no one is going to give way to you.

The caterer comes for orders of breakfast. Options - the same as always - omlette or cutlate. I dont think, indian railways has chefs. I order an omlette. The order is delivered after an hour and the omlette tastes burned.

Yes, there has been some improvement, check out the new power-plugs at all places in the train. Cool... So now i can plug in my lappy and maybe do some productive work or play some games.

So this time, we saw some movies and i sat on my lappy throughout the train. Though there was a problem with the electricity. As soon as i put my lappy on charge, the mouse used to move around automatically. But anyways, linux and windowmaker are good. You dont need mouse to move, everything is possible using the keyboard.

And yes another improvement in the indian railways, the variety of junk food. Last time when i was travelling they were selling burgers and pizzas. I did not dare to try one. And everytime they sell samosas and everytime i try these samosas. I dont remember them being good even a single time. I dont know why i try them, when i am aware that they would be terrible. And the ketchup they give with the samosas are so thin that it seems they have converted a single bottle of ketchup into atleast 15 bottles and added sugar to it. This time they were selling chinese noodles. It was ok - just too much oily. I did not dare to try the onion pakodas or potato vadas.

Now i am waiting. The train is supposed to reach vadodara at 22:00. I hope it is on time, though the train has been making a lot of unscheduled stops.

We are on time. In-fact 5 minutes before time... That is an achievement...

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