When I went to Madurai, I went alone. It was quite an experience traveling alone after being married for two years.
Let us call this Jammy`s Law (like Bouyle`s Law) – “happy couples who prefer to travel together end up being unhappy”. There can be some exceptions to Jammy`s Law – for example, Rekha and I are happy in spite of traveling together for close to six years. But that`s beside the point.
During my travel I noticed how the transport industry is in for a major overhaul. When I say modes of travel …I mean…buses, trains, and aeroplanes.
Some of the busses we have now have washrooms and if left unattended (not the washrooms, stupid!) very soon all the busses might have them. We wouldn`t have to stop a bus in the middle of a jungle at 12 in the night if one old man has to piss. Or carry empty coke bottles for emergencies. Now you know why they say Coke has pesticides. Urea is what they mean; if only these activists get their chemistry right…all can live in harmony. Getting back on to busses, some of them even have train like compartments (those in Chennai would have seen them), which takes them a step closer to trains.
Train travel is being revolutionized by Laloo and his team of bureaucrats. They say very soon, in a railway station also you & your baggage will be checked if you sport a goatee. Somebody needs to alert Laloo and his team that ‘Goatee` is a French tradition.
If everything goes right for Laloo, very soon, you (and I) will be able to enter the railway station only if you have a ticket. What will happen to all those poets, writers and bloggers who visit the railway station for inspiration? What about all those beggers who eek a living at the station? What about all those pickpockets – how will they marry off their sisters? What about all those south Indian desperate men who like to see North Indian girls? How will they strategically position themselves near As1, As2, F1, F2 just before the Mumbai Express rolls in? More importantly, we will never have a quite laugh looking at the 20 family members at the platform, waving to a young man in a train.
They say we will make Train travel as good (and safe) as airplane travel. I wonder if the trains will also start taking the aerial route. Or maybe not. Wouldn`t the compartments fall off one by one?
The pity is, while they are trying to improve train travel – they are messing up big time with airplane travel. The Air Deccan toilets as good as a train`s. The Indian Airline peanuts are similar to the ones you get in a railway station. The magazines you take away from your airplane travel are not something you would cherish for years on end. More importantly, you won`t have an uncle who will always start off a story: “When I traveled by Indian Airlines in 1983….”