Thursday, June 18, 2009

Life line of the city…local trains

Yesterday I had an experience of my life. Because of some prior commitments I travelled from my residence to one of the extremes of Kolkata (I am still confused, although Kolkata is not so huge but it never ends also). My god, that entire travel was awesome. I somehow managed to reach Sealdah station to catch a local train, I said somehow because it started to rain while I was on the way and traffic came to a standstill. I purchased a ticket for my travel after so many consultations over phone with multiple navigators who were supposed to keep track on my movement. Amazingly the fares are still very cheap. For a travel of 45 minutes all I paid was just seven Rupees.

Incidentally this was my first ever attempt or first ever dare to travel in any local train. This was a mixed feeling of excitement and concern as I always prefer to avoid all this messy means of travelling. These are called as life lines of the cities they carry. Even my maid also uses this to reach at my place in morning. Although she has to start as early as 4.00 AM to reach in time. I always wondered how she was able to manage all this. So back to the journey. I entered the local and managed to get a place near the window. Each seat looked as it was meant for three people and four were occupying it.

The train started bang on time without any delay but by the time it started it was jam packed. It was a mixed bag of people, some returning from job, some returning from college, few were vendors offering various products like lassi, snacks and even ayurvedic medicine and very few like me travelling for the first time. But the situation was really pathetic as you can see in the picture below

local train Kol  

On reaching the destination, I completed my pre-fixed commitment and then moved to a Govt Guest house for taking rest. It was a location situated on the banks of Hoogly river. The location was an excellent one but very poorly maintained. The view of river was awesome.

IMAGE_036The overall feeling and experience was a good one. Although it was a pleasant one but I would always prefer to avoid travelling through locals in this city as it was not an experience I would like to have again.

I believe the guest house can earn a lot more attraction if it maintained properly and of course the situation in trains should be lot better. Also they should think of providing First class as in Mumbai locals, so that people can think of that as an viable option instead of wasting money and fuel on taxies and cars.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Yes Boss…

As per a business survey, India has got most corrupt bureaucracy. So we stood first again. Indeed a great news for my fellow countrymen. For those countrymen who get a chance to vote once in five years and who spend their full five years running around the same politicians they had voted for, the Babus who are there to ease their lives.

I myself had many encounters with these species known as “Babus”. While trying to renew my passport, they refused to accept my rented house’s lease agreement as my residence proof(which incidentally is a legal document accepted by Income Tax department) but are ready to accept address on my bank account passbook (if account is with nationalised bank). Interestingly bank also asks for a local residence proof. How am I supposed to get that if I am a employed guy working in a private organisation?. Or worse I can get my passport renewed if I can pay extra 2000 Rs. to the respected broker. I need to pay 250 Rs. to get a domicile certificate from my state, but that’s the price anyone can pay and get a domicile, even if he or she had never been to that state. I can’t get a new gas connection because the government’s own gas company is not giving new connections but I can get the same if I am ready to shell out extra 1000 Rs. I need to pay 1500 Rs to get a driving license even though I am ready to give all driving exams but that’s the price anyone can get a license even if he had never tried a bicycle, that too without any exam. I can’t get a entrance exam form which is being sold through one of the nationalised bank as they are out of stock but right outside the bank premises I can get that through a broker by paying just 100 Rs extra. Back in year 2000 one of my friend got his international driving license for 3000 Rs through one mediator gentleman when he was not even possessing a valid Indian driving license. The guy managed all the paper formalities. Even though I can’t get a confirmed train ticket by either booking online or by standing in a long queue for hours, the broker can get me a confirmed ticket by charging extra per berth.

This is what I had been watching for years and this is what you all must be witnessing too. This has became part of our life and we had already accepted this as normal process for getting any government document. Earlier at reputed ethical companies at private sector were untouched by this wave, but now they are also not untouched my this new concept. Unfortunately the same trend is creeping into private sector also. You are best performer of your team if you can say “Yes Boss” to whatever your boss says, who the hell cares for the work done. You can come to office at 11.00 am, sit around, give gyan to your teammates, hang around with your boss and can go home as and when you wish. If you don’t have a godfather you are worthless, year after year the so called appraisal process will be just a formality. If you are the boss’s blue eyed child, all the facilities will be provided to you. You don’t need to bother about your project assignment, your performance appraisal, your promotion and your growth. For everyone else they need to take initiative, they need to learn and they need to perform to prove themselves.

Any salaried person will die paying his taxes for nothing and will remain neglected living without proper road, water and electricity. But the bureaucrats will enjoy the luxury of free electricity, water, house and government paid telephones. I wonder how they manage to build their big villas in the salary and that too after paying all the taxes legally. All the salaried people I know till date never looked in a position to achieve all this in a span of 20-25 years of service which our Babu’s achieve within a short span of 5 years. How every Babu’s kid studies in top shot colleges while the meritorious struggle to pay for their fees. If you say that they are born talented, I am forced to laugh. I had seen one of such Babu kid and I understand how talented they really are. Why the policies enforcing reservation to meritorious poor students are not getting implemented and definition of creamy layer is getting redefined regularly.

I wonder why should anyone pay tax or for that reason why anyone should  believe in the system which makes him run from post to pillar to get what is his right.

Why can’t the money which is spent on providing luxury to these useless creatures be used to aid those colleges like IIMs and IITs so that the burden of fees can be reduced to a larger extent on the students who aspire to study and learn?. Why should a politician who can barely be considered educated gets more salary and perks than most of the much qualified youngsters who had spent their time and efforts for studying?. Why do we have categories like VIP and VVIP when they all are supposed to be public servant?.

Wasn’t this democracy supposed to be of the people, by the people and for the people??

I really wonder…….