Indian Railways on money making tracks

The initial title of this post was Garib Rath experience and just thought of writing about my first experience in garib rath train from bangalore (yeshwantpur station) to hyderabad (secunderabad station). I found many good points in it and there were some things that I didn’t like. But yesterday night when I was coming back from hyderabad to bangalore by kachiguda-bangalore express, I was surprised to see a major change in the 3rd A.C. compartments which made me to change the title of this post and the content as well.

After getting into the train, I had put my luggage and was just waiting for the train to start. I didn’t give much attention to any new changes in the bogie. Just as the train started, instead of the normal 6 people who sit in the six side coupe, an additional person has come…a total of 7 were supposed to sit. I was surprised as to how come 7 would be sitting there because if someone had an RAC ticket, that would be for the side berth. Then when I turned towards the side berths, I could not believe my eyes……instead of the normal side upper and side lower, they had introduced an additional side middle 😯 . A side middle 😀 in a normal express train!!!!! That’s something we would definitely not want to have. It makes sense to have that in Garib Rath as its entire concept is different. But trying to increase the seating capacity in a normal express train by introducting additional berths is definitely not acceptable.

Actually, when I saw this kind of seating arrangement in Garib Rath, I really appreciated the innovative thinking of railways. They were trying to provide a full A.C. train and to recover the costs, had to increase the seating capactiy. Makes perfect sense in this scenario. But there should be a limit to the greed. Now trying to follow the same thing in normal trains is definitely not good. Even the T.C. in the train was saying that these people are making the A.C. compartments like general compartments now.

Now this reminds me of an artice that I had read long back about the reasons how Laloo could take indian railways to make profits (or rather just created an illusion of making profits 😀 )…..just to summarize two main points…. one was the increase of tatkal quota and issuing tatkal quota tickets from 5 days before the journey (now this is like selling tickets in black publicly)…..second one was related to the freight….the goods wagons were being overloaded much above the capacity that they could actually hold….this directly increases the profits of railways but what about the wear & tear of wagons and the tracks, the safety of the trains……all this just to show some profits in the short-term??? I could not find the original article where I had read about this but a quick google search led me to this article which also talks about the same facts.

And now even the passenger trains are not being left out……berths being increased in the existing compartments!!!! I really can’t understand where are these people heading to…. now this is what I say commercialisation….

What an amazing weekend it was!!!!

Last weekend I had a blast with my btech friends. For three days it was lot of fun. Its been a long long time since I had a good time with my btech friends. Those three days I had such a good time that I don’t feel like working now 🙂 (anyways I never felt like working 😉 ). I am still in that mood only. Thanks to nandini and bhavana who came to bangalore all over from hyderabad.

Initially all of us planned to go to coorg but somehow it got cancelled. So, we decided to go to places in and around bangalore. Let me start from Day 1.

Day 1:

What a day it was!!! Thanx to air deccan and BIAL (Bangalore International Airport Limited) it took my friend a total of 7 hours to reach bangalore from chennai 😯 . For me the day started at 5.30 AM. I had to first pick up my friend from railway station. After reaching the station, I came to know that the train is running late by one hour. And this is just the beginning….so to pass away the time I had my breakfast at comesum in the station..then had some tea…then went around the station for sometime and still there was no sign of the train 🙁 . At last I get a call from my friend that the train has arrived…what a relief!!!! 🙂 . After a long wait at last I dropped my friend at her friend’s place and came back to my room. Had a short nap and got up to go to the new devanahalli airport. Got a call from my friend in chennai that the flight was on time. So, started off to the airport immediately unaware of what was in store for me at the airport 🙁 . Thought of trying the new volvo buses to the airport. Luckily found one as soon as I reached the bus stop. For people who are not aware of these volvos and new airport stuff…..the scenario is that the new international airport at bangalore was opened on the same day and airport people had put these volvos in service to reach the new airport which was around 45 km 😯 from my place. It took me 1 hour 45 minutes to reach the airport. I thought my friend’s flight would land first. But the situation at chennai airport was that the flight got delayed by some 30 mins initially…then another 30 mins and then another 30 mins and then after boarding it was delayed by another 30 mins 😡 …..thats what is air deccan’s speciality. So ultimately the flight that was supposed to reach bangalore by 11.15 AM reached bangalore by 2 PM 😯 ….. thank god it reached 😀 . Just to pass away the time I had a sandwich, a cool drink and read the whole Economic Times paper 🙂 . So, today whatever the food I had was just to pass away the time 🙁 . Now again from the airport to reach the city its another herculean task. Took a volvo and this time it took almost 2 hours to reach our place. So, ultimately by 4.30 PM we were at our friend’s place. So, for my friend it was a total of 7 hours journey to reach the destination.

In the evening we planned to go to hogganekkal falls the next day. So, went out to book a cab and then thought of going to dinner from there. But thanks to these travel offices, it took us almost 2 hrs to get a cab……after a lot of arguments atlast we had to pay what they wanted us to pay 🙁 . And then after everything was decided, they could not get the vehicle we wanted and he kept us waiting in his office 😡 . Looks like today it was the day of waiting waiting and waiting for me 🙁 . Anyways finally we booked the cab and then went for dinner. Another friend was also supposed to join but thanks to the travel people who made us to wait so long that it was too late for her to join us. Anyways three of us had a nice dinner at bombay post on airport road.

Day 2:

I had to get up by 5 AM 🙁 as we asked the car driver to come by 6 AM. This guy came in time. Picked up the other friends from their places and we started off to hogganekkal falls. It was around 160 – 180 km from our place. Reached the place by afternoon. To see the actual falls we have to take a coracle. We were total of 5 and for Rs. 600 we could get one. This guy took us near the falls…we had proper shower…all of us were completely wet. Initially none of us thought that we would be wet..but ultimaltely none of us were dry 🙂 . Initially we thought that this being summer there won’t be lot of water. But it was really good. Maybe in monsoons the level of water would be still more and the flow of the falls would also be more. But still the place was too good. The water going through the rocks, the coracles, the hills at a distance all made the place worth visiting.

Then we went around in the coracle for some more time and then were back. There was one crocodile rehabilitation centre also here. One can find lot of crocodiles here. After all this we were all set to go back to bangalore. The only problem in the journey was that the last few kilometers to this place, the road was bumpy and all of us had this vomiting sensation. Anyways by 6.30 PM we were all back home.

The plan for the next day was supposed to be decided over dinner. Had our dinner in mainland china on 100 ft. road. Here we decided that next day we would go to shivasamudram and this proved to be a very good decision.

Day 3:

Again I had to get up by 5 AM 🙁 . After pickingup other friends from their places, we started our journey. We took the mysore road and then the deviation at maddur. The road till maddur was too good…..ofcourse it was the bangalore – mysore road 🙂 . Had our breakfast on the way. Now from maddur though the road wasn’t that good, but the place was awesome….on either sides of the road we could see the paddy fields, sugarcane fields, the coconut trees all over, banana trees and many more. It was an awesome view. Just this bit of the journey made us feel like that it was a good decision to go to shivasamudram. After reaching the place we first went to see if we were allowed to see the dam. But visitors were not allowed 🙁 . By the way this dam was supposed to be the first one in South Asia..built somewhere in 1902. Then we went to the gagan chukki falls. The sight of the falls was too good. It was really really worth coming to this place. From there we went to bara chukki falls. Its around 14 km from here. On the way we stopped at the dam reservoir. Had some fun here by climbing trees, etc. We spent almost 45 mins to get on to a tree and get down 🙂 . Ofcourse if you look at the tree you would know why 😀 . Then reached the bara chukki falls. And here we can go to the bottom of the falls by walk. There were even the coracle’s to go in the waters but we were not interested in it. Thought of exploring the place ourselves 🙂 . After crossing the small stream and getting on to the rocks we went to the point where the falls reach the ground. It was worth the effort. Spent some time here and started to walk back to the top. Had real fun at this place when compared to hogganekkal falls. And as always all good things come to an end, we started off back to bangalore. On our way back I had to bear the three females singing at the top of their voices 🙂 ……..had no clue as to what happened to them 😀 . After having some food at forum went to yeshwantpur station to drop my friends and then came back home.

So, atlast it was the end of all fun and back to the same routine again 🙁

Will be uploading the photos soon……………..so keep checking.

Installed Gallery

Till now I was using picasa to create the web albums and then was uploading the album on my server. But atlast I decided to go for gallery as I will be getting more features with it. I will be getting a lot of features like allowing users to add comments, add descriptions to the photos, providing slideshows, creating new user accounts (users can upload their photos on my server)and many more. So, installed gallery on my web server yesterday. The first album uploaded through gallery is my shar trip album.

You can check out the gallery here. The link to the gallery can also be found in the sidebar on the right side (My Gallery) and also in the Photo Album page on the top. Will be writing my shar experiences soon.

Indian railways shining

Not sure if its a good topic to write about 😕 but thought of mentioning about my observation here. Yesterday I was coming from hyderabad to bangalore in kacheguda-bangalore express and one thing that surprised me was the toilets had proper toilet paper rolls 😯 Toilet papers in India 😯 and that too in indian railways 😯 !!!!!! great….. india is really shining now 😎 or rather its the railways that is shining after Laloo’s charisma 😀

I never expected this in indian trains….maybe its the train on which I was travelling might be a special one 🙂 after all its the train to silicon valley of India with all the IT professionals in it………lets see what other colours would the IT industry bring in here.

US Trip Contd….

Thought of posting every day about my experiences in US… but look at the dates when I posted about my Day 3 and then Day 4. Its a whole 2 weeks gap 😯 That’s a really loooooong time. Became so busy here that could not even update my blog. So, atlast thought of summarizing my experiences in the last two weeks at a time.

Actually I have got lot of things to write…..and I even forgot some…… On my first weekend here I thought of going to San Francisco but could not go as my friends here were shifting their house and I was with them helping to move things. Then on sunday we went to mystery spot…. about 30 mins drive from my place. Unfortunately after taking just two snaps my camera had some problem 🙁 so could not take pics any more 🙁 . In the night I went out along with my friend nandhini to go around Stanford University. She did her Masters from stanford. Had dinner at some Indo-Chinese restaurant. Food wasn’t that gr888. But stanford campus was too good 🙂 . This was my first weekend here in US.

The following week was a bit hectic. Got busy with work. Booked my flight tickets to Vegas. Was planning to go to Vegas, Grand Canyon and LA. And by second week itself I started eating mexican food…..chalupa chicken and cheesy fiesta potatoes in taco bell were good. Also tried many other things over the week.

Now comes the interesting part of my trip…. my weekend trip to Las Vegas, Grand Canyon and Los Angeles (Disneyland). When I started out for Las Vegas I didn’t knew that hoover dam was on the way to Grand Canyon. I was so happy and so excited to know that….. bcoz going to hoover dam was like some dream come true 🙂 ….. yes , I mean it. I was a big fan of it since the the day I watched its construction in Discovery Channel some 9 years back. Maybe the dam might not be the biggest in the world but that was the first time when I saw the construction of a dam in such hostile conditions….its like my first crush 😀 ……….after that I had seen so many programs in discovery and NGC but hoover dam was always special to me 🙂 ….maybe you might be thinking that this guy has gone mad 😡 ……talking more about hoover dam than the casinos in Vegas….but the fact is that I felt more happier to see the dam than the casinos in Vegas 😎

Let me talk about the vegas trip now 🙂 …..we took our flight from san francisco at 11.30 pm. The flight time was about 45 mins. Then took our car from the avis office at the airport and started off to vegas strip…. for people who don’t know what vegas strip is…its just the whole stretch in vegas where we have all the casinos, hotels, etc…….basically the actual happening place in vegas…. more to come about my vegas trip in the next update 🙂

keep watching……………………………….

Day 4 in US

As usual had a nice breakfast in the morning and went to office. Booked my tickets to new jersery. I had to postpone my trip to NJ to 28th as I could not find any good deals for tickets to travel on 21st. It was actually my uncle who had booked my tickets 😀 . I should say I am really lucky as I have an uncle who books my tickets to NJ, a friend who takes me all around san jose, takes me to restaurants, weekend trips, driving lessons, etc 🙂

Today I had a chicken pizza for lunch and this was the first thing I liked here after so many days. In the evening I went to my uncle’s place san ramon…..its around 30 miles from san jose. Had a nice time over there. Atlast had good indian food cooked at home 🙂

Day 3 in US

Things started settling slowly………one thing I forgot to mention was about the breakfast in my hotel……I must say this is the only part of the meal that I enjoy the most 🙂 ….rest of the day I just eat to fill my stomach 🙁

Anyways today I found some indian dish for lunch in the cafeteria…..took that but as usual it wasn’t that good….then later in the day I went back to cafeteria again as I was too hungry….. and this time there were very few options and I had to settle down for a salad 🙁

Imagine what kind of a situation it would be wherein a guy who never eats any green salads had actually bought one for $3 😀 . I used to call it ghaas-poos 🙂 when I was in India and now I am forced to eat it. Anyways I din’t like it and just had half of it. So, by evening I was so hungry that I left my office and went to my friend’s place. We went to McDonald’s and had a burger and fries.

And for dinner…..looking at my situation my friend took me to another indian restaurant swagat which was supposed to be a good one. Here we ordered an egg biryani. My friend told me that this restaurant was running for more than 17 years now and the person who came to take our order was working there for the last 17 years 😯 . This time the food was good….but not that great. Anyways I had very less time as I had a conf call and had to go back to hotel soon. So, did not go out anywhere after dinner.

Was feeling vey sleepy…so went to bed immediately after my call……

Day 2 in US

This was my first day in office…..took a shuttle from the hotel to office. Met my manager….he showed me all around the office…..then got settled in my cubicle…..In the afternoon, went to the cafeteria for lunch with my manager and other team mates. This is where the real problem started 🙂 ……there were so many food options but not even one that suites my taste 🙁 ……there was pork, beef, tukey, chicken, salads n a whole lot of other stuff….ohhh I forogot to mention they even have burritos 😀 Atlast after going around all the counters twice I settled out for a chicken sandwich….and luckily in the deserts I found my all time favourite chocolate mousse 🙂

In the evening went out to meet another friend of mine…nandhini. We had dinner at an indian restaurant called Bombay Garden. Was happy to see some indian food….so I happily ordered a rogan josh……..but you know the burrito was much better 😀 …..the mutton pieces were like pieces of rubber…..except the gravy there was nothing to eat 🙁

So, for the first two days, the dinner I had was hopeless……this might be the first time that I had spent around 1200 rupess (ofcourse I should not actually convert the $ into rupees) for each meal and ate almost nothing 🙁

Lesson#2: Never order any mutton dishes

Also I had taken a new at&t connection in the evening….a prepaid connection for a month. It costed my $25. Also talked to some more friends of mine.

Forgot to mention….today I actually drove my friend’s car. That was the first time I drove in the US. Its definitely going to take some time before I can get used to driving here. Once I start thinking of the rules n lane changes, I tend to forget abt keeping to the right and vice-versa. Anyways its just going to be a matter of time before I would be comfortable driving here.