Thursday, March 20, 2008

Indian Railways

It was just another long weekend and I decided to scoot to Bangalore. I was catching the usual Lalbagh Express. It is so surprising to see that inspite of 7 trains plying bw B lore and Chennai they are always loaded with passengers. One almost feels that the Chennai express that leaves B lore dumps everyone at Chennai and picks another lot from Chennai and returns as Lalbagh Express! A five and half hour journey bw two prominent Southern cities is definitely not a joke..
As i enter the station and look around me, there is hustle bustle everywhere. On one side are the annoying porters and autowallahs who flock around travelers and pounce on them for their meek service while the other side has the heavy and humble trains earnestly waiting to pick up its dear passengers for another journey . There is always a perennial queue for platform tickets, open tickets and other tickets. People nudging each other and picking up petty fights while petite thieves making a profit by flicking someone's purse is such a common sight. The eateries such as Sarvana Bhavan, Hot breads, Pizza Corner at the Chennai Central Station are making crisp business by tossing pizzas, jostling coffees and dicing sandwiches. These joints not only serve the purpose of packing quick food for loony travelers like me but also a snackbar for people who wait for arrival of trains. The ones who make the maximum returns on any given day would be the Magazine seller and the water bottle - juice seller. Come what may, it is customary for most of the travelers to buy water bottles and books in the railway station!There is a sea of people around me intently looking at the main display board and religious listening to the automated voice that repeats the information in 3 languages. "Yatrigan krupiya dhyaan de. Gaadi number 6020 Chennai se Bangalore jaane wali Lalbagh Express Platform no 3 se ravana hogi" It still rings a bell in my ears!! I also occasionally see a bunch of cops lurking around and looking visibly bored.
What mesmerizes me the most is the number of people who are directly and indirectly involved in the business of railways..right from the sweeper to the caterer to the police station in the railway station even to the extent of the guy who collects bills for the parking lot outside the station!! It is not for nuts that people call Indian railways to be the single largest employment provider in the entire world.

Cheers to Indian Railways!!

Friday, March 14, 2008


This post is on a creed. 'How secular are we??' 'Secularism is a taboo' These are some of the contradicting views in the society. Purists are of various types and are generally looked up/down as for multiple reasons:

At the outset how difficult is it for people to take a few steps forward and appreciate other forms of religion. I've always seen purists in every field specially in theology who claim that they dont intend to look into other forms of religion cause their way of life is the best! Now dont you think it is far more appreciated that you should infact plunge into various types of religion, explore them and still claim that you follow a particular way of life?? Purists are like race horses with horse blinders, driven by people and society in search of the ultimate truth of life. They do not peer into any other religion and are constantly bogged down by society at large. Infact I might even be permitted to go one step further and comment that some of the so called 'purists' dont even know what they are fighting for! The drive, the momentum within them to achieve the goal is so vigorous and aggressive that the goal is lost in the transit. I am not claiming that all orthodox followers are that way but I can certainly vouch that there is more of a herd behaviour in such aspects. 'Half knowledge is always dangerous' Now these are very often the irrational so called 'purists' who lay ridiculos feats in front of our eyes..right from vagabounding shops on Valentine's Day to banish Yoga in School because it has religious sentiments attached to it. They are the ones who have no idea on what is the objective of their protest and disapproval but battle around for the sake of it because the elite society is watchful on their actions.
Before we all take conclusions on the dark side of such mainstream guys, I can give a hind sight about them too.
Although this is another class of purists,I think they are also the ones who help in keeping the torch ablaze. The conformist, fastidious followers seem to enforce every religious act/practise and ensure that it actually trickles down the generations! Isnt it true?? Each religion has its own identity and a way in approaching life. Isnt it not simple to simply follow the regiment without questioning too much on it?? No single life is sufficient to explore the nuances of any religion..let alone diversing interests on all of them! A code of conduct, a matter of faith cannot simply be 'Jack of all, master of none' Follow one; execute it scrupulously! Thats the motto of some of them..and in their defence they arent completely wrong.
Even stranger,aint it??
Well..thats life! Its all a matter of perception. It can be highly subjective and hence reflects the kind of person you are.