Thursday, March 15, 2012

Three Cheers to the Railway Budget. Hooray!

Whatever it be said by the pundits, good or bad, I think the railway budget is good. As a frequent traveller by train, yes, right from those steam engine days, I think I have a right to wax eloquent on the subject. Those days local trains in Bombay were made of wood, not metal. Anybody remember that? I do. The seats were along the windows as they have in Metro rail. They were magnificent trains, which covered great distances with just coal and water to feed them. The railway men were also a courageous lot. I saw a guard dressed in white with a red tie and decided I would become a guard. Alas, how dreams fall by the wayside.

We kids used to fantasise about the trains thusly:

"The front lights are so powerful the driver can see till the next station, without any difficulty."

"The engine is so powerful it can even upturn an elephant in its cow catcher. Cow catcher! They should name it elephant catcher!"

"The ticket checker can enter another compartment by walking on the collision springs (those days there weren't connecting doors)."

Such like.

I say let's give the railway guys a fair deal. Okay, we pay you higher fares, but we need better services too. We need clean toilets, better linen (we were given used linen that stank in our last journey), we need clean platforms, we need escalators, we need airy coaches, we need more space to stand (forget sitting), we need good handholds, we need... the list is endless. 

Of course, I forgot one thing. How careless of me! We need good food, not the stale "pazham poris" and "vadas" dished out by the pantry car.

Also, we passengers need to improve. We shouldn't take bath inside the toilets (the toilets are for defecating, silly), we shouldn't clog the wash basin with fish bones, we shouldn't litter the compartments, we should always flush (we shouldn't wait for the other person who comes to use the toilet to flush our shit), we shouldn't smoke, we shouldn't play cards, we shouldn't watch movies on our laptops. 

Most importantly, we shouldn't pack up our entire home for a 2-week holiday. See, if you do, you don't know where you kept Chintu's swatter (sweater) and Pintu's chuddies (underwears). On that note I say "Two cheers for the new railway budget."   

I am @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. I blog here.

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