Indian Railway : 22nd Century Up!

Indian Railway : 22nd Century Up!

(The Times Of India News Service)

Shri Ganesh to the 22nd Century!

Shri Ganesh to the 22nd Century!

New Delhi : February 26, 2013 : The Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal presented his first budget in Parliament today. Experts, parliamentarians and Aam Aadmi are universally hailing it as the most glorious rail budget ever made since the invention of the Steam Engine in 1781. This farsighted budget has, in a giant master stroke, erased the combined losses of Rs. 24,342 crores that Indian Railway has accumulated over the years, and transported it to the 22nd century much ahead of schedule.

The measures announced today are expected to effectively deal with expansion of passenger capacity, passenger comfort and rail safety. Revenues sourced from both passenger and freight services are expected to treble, with only a marginal increase in expenses. No fare increase was proposed.

In a bold and far reaching move, the Minister announced that every train, no matter how fast or slow, will henceforth be referred to as ‘Ultra Superfast Express’. Taking a leaf out of the French train naming convention, where such trains are simply called TGV (Train a Grande Vitesse, or Very High Speed Train), Indian Railway will title their trains as Tatkal-Tivrata or TAT-TI for short. Three trains have been shortlisted for immediate name change – Poorvanchal Tat-ti, August Krantikari Tat-ti and Shan-e-Punjab Tat-ti.

Interestingly, this change will not just be limited to name only. The locomotives pulling these trains will now bear new speedometers where a “0” will penciled in after each number on the dial. So a train running at 40 kms per hour earlier will now be deemed to be doing 400 kmph, easily beating the fastest trains from Japan, China and continental Europe. The fastest Indian train, the Bhopal Shatabdi Tatti, is now expected to gush at over 1000 kms per hour, comprehensively breaking the sound barrier.

“We are world beaters once again!” announced the Minister amid the din of thumping desks in the Lok Sabha.

An innovative approach to effectively deal with safety issues plaguing the railways has also been proposed in the budget. “Safety is paramount. I have a 3-word answer to deal with accidents due to signalling and human error (or Aam Aadmi Mishtake). Respected Madam Speaker, the answer is ‘Non-Stop Horn’”, declared the Minister. Non-stop tooting by the train engine is expected to keep the driver, passengers and everyone in the 25 km vicinity of every train wide awake and ever watchful. Experts agreed with this assessment. “Genius solution!” remarked Prof. A.K. Acharya. “Why couldn’t anyone think of this solution earlier? Was the government asleep?” he added questioningly. Prof. Acharya is Senior Vice President at Hasbro Toys where he manages the toy train sets division.

Unlike moribund policies of the past, the current budget proposes drastic changes to mop up additional revenue from freight. Goods trains will now bear open-air seating on their roofs, opening a brand new revenue stream for the ministry. Ticket price will be kept in line with 3-tier Non-AC. A ladder to climb up to the roof, and a raincoat, will be provided to passengers at nominal costs. However, to contain costs, no bedding or pantry services will be available.

Passenger capacity is also being augmented in other unique ways without incurring additional rolling stock expenditure. The Minister announced that all train toilets are being disbanded with immediate effect. These spaces will be refitted as sleepers and chair cars. In lieu of public conveniences, each paying train passenger will now be provided an earthen lota which they are free to use as they wish. Given that all trains make frequent unscheduled stops along our nation’s picturesque countryside, passengers will have ample opportunity of simply hopping on and off to answer a call of nature at their convenience. Most train passengers interviewed by this reporter heaved a sigh of relief at the new benefit, including those seated 100 feet around train toilets and had been holding their breath for several hours. Rama Devi, a passenger interviewed on the Patna-Indore Janshakti Tat-ti, seated a mere ten feet from the train toilet, managed to mumble “Fantastic news!” before succumbing to the odours in the bogey.

The Minister made it clear that, as always, in case of dire emergency, or whenever one felt like doing it, the ‘chain’ could be pulled to instantly stop the train and fifty others behind it.

The Minister lamented that passenger comfort had taken a back seat in the past few budgets and was eager to bring it back as a key focus area. To that end, he proposed a repainting of the interiors of all bogies to be carried out on a war footing in the current fiscal. A dual-tone colour scheme has been selected. From the ground to a height of 3 feet, all train surfaces will be painted a shade of reddish-orange. Surfaces above that height will now bear the inviting shade of dark brownish-greyish-black. The new paint scheme is being called ‘Bhartiya Rail Rangoli’ and is expected to uniquely complement the millions of passengers who enjoy oiled hair and paan, and like to touch and feel things around them constantly.

Politicians cutting across party lines gushed at the “best railway budget ever”. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerji tweeted, “Best rail bhaajet : beeg ween for TMC”. Later, however, she retracted the tweet, possibly after realizing that her party was not in the government any more, and called the Minister a Maoist.

Earlier in the day, before the budget was even presented, there was an air of exhilaration pervading through the Parliament. Many Members of Parliament were seen locked to their iPads cancelling impending flight trips. “I will use my rail quota myself instead of giving it away to my in-laws,” said Kumari Selja, when asked for her expectations from the budget. The minister, considered to be single until now, however refused to divulge any details on the ‘in-laws’ despite persistent questioning.

Comments

comments

56 thoughts on “Indian Railway : 22nd Century Up!

  1. janu

    You always amaze and amuse me. The railways will provide a free lota. …magar paani?? Yeh toh mineestar ne socha he nahi!

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    i shall take all my budget updates from you atleast i can understand the finer points in details !! Economic times always confuses the shit out of me !!

    Reply
  3. Ruchira

    oho Rickie .. if they disband the toilets where will people travelling without ticket hide when the TT enters the compartment 😛
    So from this week onwards I would be travelling in New Delhi – Chandigarh tatti 🙂
    Remind me to eat nothing in the train !

    Reply
  4. Akanksha Dureja

    And the Akhil Bhartiya Rajiv Gandhi Railway Wi Fi Yojna will provide internet access to passengers on agreeing to the terms and conditions which will be written in Bold, Caps, as dictated by Kapil Sibal. People who don’t adhere to these guidelines will not be allowed to travel.

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      The ABRGRWFY is already a reality! Oh, and since Starbucks functions only when it has at least a 100 people thronging around it, all railway station platforms will now be required to have a Starbucks!

      Reply
  5. Amit

    And what will they call the Shatabdi Tat-ti in English? The Shatabdi loose motion train?
    I was thinking that they will start triple decker trains under the Rajiv-Gandhi-Chalte-phirte-garib-ghar yojna. The homeless can actually live in those and it will remove the burden from our roads.
    You made me laugh out loud in the office. Now that is rare.

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      That sounds like another apt use of the “Rajiv Gandhi Yojna” tag!
      And I am sure you didn’t laugh because of the post. It’s probably hysteria – at the mere thought of what mindboggling antics your fellow cab passengers might be up to this evening!

      Reply
  6. Rachna

    Rickie, seriously hilarious :). It is only apt that the trains be named tatti after we get ample darshan on the tracks, at stations and in toilets. Looks like all people in power do is shit on our sensibilities. You quite literally brought shit to centerstage. Nothing about the icky diarrhea-inducing railway khana :)?

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      You guessed the main thought that kept bouncing around in my head when I started writing this…and especially after having made a less than stellar train trip back from Kolkata in December last year. Our group had romanticized about a ‘Train Trip’ (bada maza aayega!)…so we went Delhi-Kolkata by air, and returned on the Howrah Duronto. The first 2 hours were great…and after that I couldn’t wait to get off that godforsaken shit hole. And this is the experience on probably one of the most premier trains we have! 😀

      Reply
      1. Rachna

        Raj-shit-dani! And you’ve no idea how frightening the toilet using experience is for kids. My younger son cried so much when he had to do potty in the train that even one day after the journey he could not shit. They get instantly constipated at the thought of using the toilet in the train :(. The stink is nauseating. Just thinking about it makes me want to puke. I have heard such horror tales about the food that I’d rather eat homemade puris for a day but won’t touch the crap they serve with a barge pole.

        Reply
        1. Rickie Khosla Post author

          You remember that Sholay dialogue – Beta so ja, nahi to Gabbar aa jayega?
          Reading your comment, I was visualizing you scolding your kids with a – Beta so ja, nahi to hum fir se train mein jayenge!

          Reply
  7. C. Suresh

    Sorry to be striking a sour note here but the Bhopal Shatabdi Tatti is not safe from accidents despite ‘Non-stop Horn’ since it has comprehensively broken the sound barrier 🙂 Nit-picking of me to cavil about one train when all other trains have been safeguarded – or have they considering that the sound barrier is not as high as 100KMph? 🙂

    Rickie, you outdo yourself every time and I unfortunately cannot do the same in adequately expressing my appreciation 🙂

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      Knowing your adventurous nature, I feel you’ll be going for the roof-travel on the Bhopal Maal gaadi next time you have to go there!
      And, don’t worry, Suresh…you are already doing awfully well with the compliments! 😛

      Reply
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  8. Rahul Aggarwal

    ROFL .. this is hilarious …

    TAT-TI …lol got to be very careful from now onwards as to whether to eat anything or not before i start my journey coz it’s gonna be TATTI all over 😛

    Reply
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  9. mamta khanna

    RICKIE ,it is mind blowing nd i can ensure that if mr. bansal ever read ur blog would not hesitate in consulting u for d changes. oh god! ur ideas of TAT-TI , goods train nd d lota r amusing. hats off.

    Reply
  10. alkagurha

    In fact, Railways deteriorated after Madhav Rao Scindia left as the Railway Minister and thereafter it was a steep downfall from Jaffer Sharif to Laloo to Mamta. My dad retired as CMS Northern Railway, so I know the inside story.

    Reply
  11. inducares

    Now what can i say-it has all been said!I must say you have a unique approach to things–should we,or should we not vote you in as the next Railway Minister?
    Who knows what you will think of next!!!!!!!

    Reply
  12. purbaray

    I was having my breakfast when I decided to read your post. Bad idea! Someone compared Indian Railways to the largest toilet track on the world and rightfully so.

    But I still feel Mamata Di’s exit was the best thing to have happened to Indian Railways.

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      I would say that’s a fairly typical reaction. Once you read of all the exciting changes on the anvil, who wants breakfast!
      So, will you be going for the Duronto Tat-ti for your next Cal trip?

      Reply
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  13. manjulikapramod

    On a serious note… this one tickled my funny bone..
    I dint read the railway budget so seriously like I did your post..
    The non-stop horning, the new color scheme, renaming that we are so good at, the toilet goes missing…. Ha ha ha … I can’t stop laughing..

    Reply
  14. My Unfinished Life (@MyUnfinishedlyf)

    for someone who has worked in the railway consultancy sector in India for some time now…i can tell you that the Ministry of Ralways babus need to speed up their thought process by 100 years!!!

    ministers have no or little knowledge of the technologies and this is one ministry run practically by babus!!! and if they dont change, nothing in MOR will!!

    MOr has been deemed a difficult client by almost all consultancies who are working in railway sector!!

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    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      I’m sorry, I don’t know how I missed your comment!
      This is indeed sad. Sad that we can take something so spectacular and run it to the ground. My family, friends and I made a trip to Kolkata last December. We went by air but decided to make a train trip back on the Duronto for old times sake – we just thought it would be a charming experience. I was travelling by train for the first time since 1996! My verdict? NEVER AGAIN. Ever!

      Reply
  15. kanchana1971

    laughing all thru…only one bad thing..I have been dreaming about taking the rajdhani to bby. for old times’ sake. now i dont think so. do keep posting. superb writing as always.

    Reply

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