The Trains Strain

At the risk of sounding like Mahesh Bhatt, I must acknowledge that trains and railways have been an integral part of my life.

As Indians, we take some sort of pride in quoting off facts and figures related to the Railways. Largest network in the world, the largest employer among government agencies, has been running since 150 years, all of that.

And yet deep within, we all know the truth.

Indian Railways is the largest network of shitpiles running across the length and breadth of the country. Like most government amenities in the country, those of us who can afford to bypass the realities of our country choose to travel by air, or in AC compartments.

When the government announced the hike in train fares last week, the responses weren’t exactly what you’d call surprising.

The opposition cried foul and lambasted the anti-poor move, the ruling party said it was necessary to upgrade the railways, and Times of India quickly drafted an article called ‘5 Reasons why Katrina Kaif’s dog might be fucking Abhay Deol’s cat’.

But what’s done is done. The fares have been hiked and after a little grumbling, we will all move on to other things. What is surprising however, is that nobody is asking what really is the plan from here on. 14% is not a lowly figure by any means, and since the Railways are not auto-rickshaws where we can bargain and heckle, we have no option but to pay the amount.

But what really is the plan? What does the government plan to do with the additional choda pratishat that it is charging us?

One cannot discuss the Railways without feeling like Aparichit – The Stranger. Without feeling an intense rage to bash a few heads, and then dance with Sada in a blond wig.

I am a reasonably practical person. I am not asking for IRCTC to be running with clockwork precision. Surely I know the difference between being an informed citizen and a writer of fantasy. But have you wondered what could be done with the money?

Here are a few things to begin with.

  1. Cleanliness: Indian trains are grime-boxes on wheels. Go to any compartment (except 1st AC, of course – politicians travel in those), and you can see it for yourself. The windows have layers of brown-black hash all along the borders. The floors have a strange stink that people tend to romanticize as ‘the unmistakable smell of trains’.

People eat groundnuts and throw the shells on the floor, till that handicapped boy can sweep it off while he begs for alms. Hawkers, joyriders, and lovers of women and aesthetics pop in at any given station, sprawl themselves across seats and litter it like they are the descendents of Shah Jahan.

For how long?

If we as a nation are particular about cleanliness, we need to prove it. Modi is supposed to be finicky about cleanliness and hygiene. I wish he took a 2nd class journey from Vishakapatnam to Calcutta. It’d be amusing to see how clean his kurta would be at the end of the journey.

Littering trains is as good as pissing on roads and scribbling ‘I love Champa’ across historical monuments. How about running surprise checks and fining people who litter trains? It won’t even cost the Railways additional money. With the amount of littering we Indians indulge in, the Railways coffers would be overflowing with funds.

 

  1. Food.

Remember the days when food on the Railways was piping hot and lip-smacking delicious?

Yeah? You must have grown up in Australia, then. Because as far as I can remember, food on the train always sucked like an intergalactic vacuum cleaner. Every new Railways minister talks of measures to assure meals at affordable prices. But if you look at the Rail Aahar food, with their Shit-idlis and Crap-sambar menus, you will run straight back into your compartment and buy Tiger biscuits.

Chicken biriyani smells of egg and tastes of rubber. Vadas have oil on them, that has already been tasted by about 17 trainflies before it reached your berth. Daal was prepared by someone reading Oliver Twist, and rotis are prepared by expert craftsmen in Lacoste.

If all the food prepared on trains is outsourced to catering agencies, why should the 24 million people who take trains everyday pay the price for it?And even in the food department, there is a clear divide between the rich and the poor. The food in AC compartments at least smells like food. In Sleeper class, you have to close your eyes, think of your mother’s homecooked food, gulp down as quickly as you can, and then rush to the toilets.

railways lunch

With my extra 14%, will I be guaranteed better food?

 

  1. Security

We are no strangers to horrific stories that occur on trains. Women are raped, ticketless travelers are often pushed out of running trains, women are heckled at, and TTEs quietly add to their daughters’ marriage fund.

There are also stories where army men have raped women on trains, where dacoits have entered compartments at night to rob all the people in it. All this in spite of a well entrenched Railway Police Force that is supposed to look into the worries of the people.

And yet, all I have seen the RPF personnel on train do, is to take ‘rounds’ a few times in the night, to haul up ticketless travelers and smokers. If 72 people in a coach are paying 14% extra on their train fares, is it far-fetched to expect one security personnel for every two compartments? Can the government guarantee that much?

 

  1. Advertising on Trains

This move has been discussed quite a few times, and every single time, a Left politician rises from his grave, dusts off his clothes, coughs ‘anti-poor’, and goes back to the grave.

Our trains run across a mind-boggling network of 115000 kilometres. If the government was indeed serious about greater revenues, how about doing the sane thing of leasing out spaces on the train for companies to advertise?

It has been experimented with in phases, but most trains in our country still have ‘I love Champa want sex call me I love you Pooja penis vagina I like sex do you?’ scribbled all across them. Train fares are a common occurrence in our times, with every 5 year term witnessing one or two hikes in price. Why not tap into a resource instead of hiking prices whenever conscious pricks through your expensive safari suits?

As it is, our politicians do whatever the fuck they want with the Railways – announce trains, coach-building factories in their native constituencies, and name trains after their favourite sons of the soil. Who can forget those horrific Duronto Express trains that were introduced during Mamta Banerjee’s times?

taarezameen01_thumb

 

  1. Toilets.

Frankly, I could live with any of the above not being implemented, if only this one issue was sorted out.

After 150 years, our trains still have holes for toilets. So if you summoned up the courage to go to the toilet, and are trained enough in anulom-vilom to control your breath for the entire duration, you get to shit all over the country.

In fact, if you take the Himsagar Express, you could shit all across the length of the country – from the Himalayas, to the Ganga plains, to the ghats. You can crap over waterfalls and plains and plateaus, and hills and rivers. The entire country is your dumping ground.

We want to ban manual scavenging, but don't mind shitting on the tracks. PC: Tehelka.

We want to ban manual scavenging, but don’t mind shitting on the tracks. PC: Tehelka.

Not if you’re rich, though. If you’re rich, you get to travel in 1st AC. In there, if you look down from your iPhone, you’d notice that your toilet has a system where your shit goes into a tank which is flushed out later at a station. Which makes sense, because you’re rich. Your shit shouldn’t fall on the floor like other commoners, to be eaten by pigs and stray dogs.

But like I said, if you aren’t rich, you can shit all over the country. Hate Maharastrians? Take a train, order chicken biriyani from the pantry car, and dump all over the state. Dislike Tamilians? Ask for idli-sambar, and watch down the hole with amazement as your insides melt into gooey yellow water and line up the entire state.

Ah! The little joys that the Railways bring to our life!

Frankly, it is quite astounding that after 150 years in operation, nobody even thought about it. Not one official in the Railways walked up to a minister and said, ‘Sir, do we need to do something about all the shit that falls out of trains?’

Which is all the more shocking because we are a country with severe sanitation and hygiene problems. And it is not like the trains run through our malls, cities, and expressways. Most trains run on outskirts of cities, where we can dump our shit in front of farms and slums, because who gives a fuck anyway?

 

If we have truly entered the era of responsible governance, surely there must be a plan to modernize the Railways? A quick 10 point agenda that the Railways ministry might want to share on their social networking pages (in Hindi if need be)?

If all the millions of people who are traveling on trains are going to pay 14% extra everyday, can they at least expect clean toilets?

Does anybody, for want of a worse pun, give a shit?

 

*

71 thoughts on “The Trains Strain

  1. gnkrb4u

    good article ..couldn’t help laughing at some points…after reading this blog I hope the current railway budget walks the talk as they seemed to have focused more on passenger comfort and cleanliness rather than starting new trains. I hope we have automatic doors and sealed windows to all the compartments as in trains abroad that I have been in Europe, Malaysia, Australia so that there is no way our tracks outside city are dustbins for biscuits and chips empty packets as they are not cleaned by anyone and plastic is dumped all over the country. Regarding the prices as one guy said about Germany it is not realistic as I have traveled in Italy. The prices of the commodities in various countries are different according to the living standards and the average income. However even if the prices are high in abroad the quality of travel is not compromised so if there is price hike here we need to get better quality service but as you said its always the same

    Reply
  2. kishore malani

    Hello HeartRanjan,
    A very insightful article.
    However, I guess Indian Railways is making some little efforts on the issue of toilets. Came across a few news articles:
    1. Oct’11: Initial trials in Chennai. http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/trials-over-rlys-ready-to-use-zerodischarge-toilets/863145/0
    2. Aug’13: Railways Now Running 1400 Coaches with Bio-Toilets in Various Trains
    http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=98833
    3. Jun’14: The railways has fixed over 7,000 bio-toilets in 2,774 coaches till December 2013, the report said.
    http://www.firstpost.com/india/will-eliminate-open-discharge-toilets-2022-railways-tells-nhrc-1627681.html
    4. Ongoing efforts toward ‘Environment Friendly Green Toilets’:
    http://www.indianrailways.gov.in/railwayboard/view_section.jsp?lang=0&id=0,1,304,366,552,1140

    I recall, a few years ago, Indian Railways had announced a competition at national level to come up with solutions for toilets management in railways.
    So, certainly there are some efforts going on in the direction.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  3. kishore malani

    Hello HeartRanjan,
    A very insightful article.
    However, I guess Indian Railways is making some little efforts on the issue of toilets. Came across a few news articles:
    1. Oct’11: Initial trials in Chennai. http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/trials-over-rlys-ready-to-use-zerodischarge-toilets/863145/0
    2. Aug’13: Railways Now Running 1400 Coaches with Bio-Toilets in Various Trains
    http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=98833
    3. Jun’14: The railways has fixed over 7,000 bio-toilets in 2,774 coaches till December 2013, the report said.
    http://www.firstpost.com/india/will-eliminate-open-discharge-toilets-2022-railways-tells-nhrc-1627681.html
    4. Ongoing efforts toward ‘Environment Friendly Green Toilets’:
    http://www.indianrailways.gov.in/railwayboard/view_section.jsp?lang=0&id=0,1,304,366,552,1140

    I recall, a few years ago, Indian Railways had announced a competition at national level to come up with solutions for toilets management in railways.
    So, certainly there are some efforts going on in the direction.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  4. Yu Ban

    1. Why is cleanliness and food quality linked to the fare? If the railway staff do their duty (from the rly minister down to each and every cleaner) diligently, we can have a spotless railway without spending any extra money. If the contractors do not use unfair means and the railway authorities stop taking bribes, food quality can be better without any extra cost. None of those are actually affected by the ‘choda pratishat’ increase.

    2. Safety and security is an issue that can be affected by spending more money, but no amount of spending can curb human mistakes and flawed processes, and unless that is done, neither ‘choda’ nor ‘bees’ pratishat rise can provide safety of trains and safety of passengers in trains. Thinking about the families who lost their children in the unmanned crossing today!

    3. In our country we the common man (not Aam aadmis of Dilli though) have got used to the chalta hai culture and we have not protested enough about any of these. Civic bodies have not been able raid base kitchens of railways and expose why our food is of such low quality. None of us have fought back when trains were delayed for hours and hours. For everything we have some one to blame, either the government or the minister.

    Reply
  5. FunnyGyan

    There are these people who post ‘hate comments’ on your blog, but keep praising people like Arundhati Roy and Bhagat for their ‘intellectual’ and ‘youth-concerned’ books respectively. This post his heartfelt and I hope, you do continue writing such awesome articles without bothering about these idiots. (I noticed similar comments on your Uday Chopra blog as well.)

    Very well done! Keep writing!

    Reply
  6. FunnyGyan

    There are these people who post ‘hate comments’ on your blog, but keep praising people like Arundhati Roy and Bhagat for their ‘intellectual’ and ‘youth-concerned’ books respectively. This post his heartfelt and I hope, you do continue writing such awesome articles without bothering about these idiots. (I noticed similar comments on your Uday Chopra blog as well.)

    Very well done! Keep writing!

    Reply
  7. Abhay Raj

    I must appreciate your hour in drafting this article.as few people already mentioned that 90% of the facts are already known and nothing new.
    but my questions to you are…
    1)why did you write this now? were you sleeping all these days or woke up from your sleep after the alarm of 14% hike buzzed you up? you should have mentioned all the points in brief back in FEB when this was all planned by the previous govt regime and the railway budget was announced, that this fare hike will be implemented post election of whomsoever ruling the country.
    2)The new govt never mentioned that 14% fare hike will be include your cleaniness,food etc.
    lets get the facts straight that this is just the base fare.
    3)Do you often write articles every year post budget announcement and made an successful attempt to draw the railways attention to improve their services?
    4)writing /using digital media doesn’t mean your article is highlighted to all corners of the country.
    not everyone owns a laptop/computer or even if they do they got plenty of things to keep them busy.
    5) Railways as its facing challenges had no other option but to digest the hike.
    6) if you travel by Bus(Road) back in 2004 , lets say Hyd – Mumbai the fare was around 500-600 bucks..but now the same ticket costs you 3 times more…so did you raise your voice at that time too?
    7) Food? then why do you get a same burger or a plate of meal for 400 bucks + taxes /person, when travelling by Air?

    I would agree with Anupam Mukhopadhyay , Partha Biswas Ankit Goyal etc for their inputs to this blog.

    We always talk about we have right to ask for everything that we pay from our pocket, but are you equally responsible of it ?rather being pessimistic , corny and blaming the Railway board you should write article about the overpriced popcorns you get in a mall when you go out to watch a movie….have you every asked them why is a POPCORN around 140 buck? a 400 ml Softdrik about 80 bucks? a Mineral water bottle for 40 bucks?
    .so stop creating a big fuzz outta it and grow up and smell the coffee…apart from Railways there are many other areas which you could have seen rather pointing fingers and highlighting them …

    Reply
  8. K Oinam

    hahahhaha you made my day … here i was prepared to be all sad for being over qualified (MA, M Phil, Ph D) and jobless and try another batch of cake baking to take out my frustaration … hahaha … do you mind me sharing it on FB?

    Reply
  9. hantan

    errata: Why not tap into a resource instead of hiking prices whenever conscious pricks through your expensive safari suits? – it should be conscience right?

    Reply
  10. hantan

    errata: Why not tap into a resource instead of hiking prices whenever conscious pricks through your expensive safari suits? – it should be conscience right?

    Reply
  11. Vinish Unni Kuttan

    Wow, that was good,
    i agree with tat railway got these problems…
    Before posting something in public, you should think of the strains and pains from their side too…
    Talking and pointing faults on others ways s very easy and may give u joy…
    BUT… if u were put on as Railway Minister, can u change these in a night and make the whole railway a profitable business…?
    If ur answer s “Yes” then make ur way there and do what u wish…
    if its a “No”, then realize what u have done s of no use as u r the same.
    this is not to criticize u, its to realize wat the fact u r capable of n others r…

    Reply
    1. heartranjan

      I have never understood that absurd logic.

      So one should only criticise if one is able to do it oneself! This is not a cricket match where ex-cricketers get to comment on things, man. Come on.

      I pay for the tickets with my hard earned money, I pay taxes. I have every fucking right to complain. I don’t need to have to be able to do it better. It is not my job. The government doesn’t pay me to do it.

      And if your logic is indeed true, only officials of Railways should write blogs on such topics, right? Grow up!

      You and I are as much stakeholders in the Railways as an employee of the organisation is. You and I have as much of a right to complain as he/she does. It is not a us v/s them match.

      Reply
      1. Partha Biswas

        well man .. i think this is public forum .. you should refrain from using slang…..that much mental cleanliness you must have … i am not a railway beneficiary in any sense……whatever you have written in known by 90% of the people of this country … there is nothing new…yes you pay the tax and you have a right to ask question ….but right comes with responsibility …we always talk about our right and never our responsibility… come on grow up man (as you say to other)..shoulder some responsibility also ……the problems you have mentioned in next blog give at least one solution to each problem….then i will consider you as a sincere bolgger …… the problem with india is it is housing one fifth of world population with very low average income …. you are talking about the railway fare … i went to Germany and i fond you need to pay 11 euro to travel 60 km and with that money you can travel at least 1000 km in sleeper class so accordingly the service quality reduces…..so my request is if you have any means to improve the quality without increasing the fare please write to the ministry …..rather than writing blogs and wasting our time

        Reply
        1. heartranjan

          Yes, yes. You’re right. Sorry to disappoint you about not being a ‘serious’ blogger. I’m just a happy go lucky blogger who loves to rant. Also, sorry about wasting your time by writing blogs, because, you know, I called you up personally and asked you to read it.

          Have a good day. On 2 Jul 2014 04:02, “Heartranjan's Blog” wrote:

          >

          Reply
        2. Anupam Mukhopadhyay

          @Partha: WOW !!! This is really an interesting piece of logic you shared. If 90% of the population know about an issue does it mean that the issue is resolved or the issue doesn’t even exist or one shouldn’t complain?? It’s our right to get a clean/hygienic berth whenever I am travelling by train. It’s our right to get decent foods when I am buying a meal from Indian Rail. But then does it mean I’ll have to travel with bottles of phenyl, bleaching powder and mop to clean the stations by myself or travel with my own cook and utensils and stove(oops!! that is restricted and punishable material to carry) to prepare the foods for myself. My responsibility is NOT to litter the berth, compartment and platform and NOT to carry the stove.

          Also if you don’t know it yet, 11 euro means 11×81.36 ~ 895 INR to either us Indians or someone who wants to exchange euro for INR, but for the Germans/Europeans it’s just 11 bucks. To travel from Asansol to Panagarh which means covering a distance of 58 KMs the least fare I get is 15 bucks by travelling in a 2nd class unreserved compartment in a Passenger train MKA HWH Passenger. If I choose to travel in the same 2nd class unreserved compartment but in a Superfast the minimum fare is 50 bucks!!!

          Reply
  12. Ankit Goyal

    just want to say one thing that the writer of the article has no idea about the challenges faced by an organization like the railways.
    At the end of the day he needs to recognize the fact that railway fares were increased so that the railways can mange to break even and not because Railways is engaging in crony capitalism.
    Railways does have major challenges facing it and believe me when I say this , the ones listed in the article are just the ones you can see. There are far major issues which need to be taken care of. Seriously can you reach from Delhi to patiala in 80 bucks on a non-ac bus? The fare increase was just to break even on account of increase in wages, fuel hike etc.

    s for the toiletes , a large problem is with the users. The green toilets can be installed but how do you check people from throwing garbage like cigarettes in them?

    With regards to cleanliness, there are dustbins everywhere on most big stations. People lack cvic sense and throw the junk on the platform. There is a need for civic education more than anything else

    Food, This point I can agree on but the recent hike in fares was not to accommodate for hike in food prices. Most people in India have problems iin paying 40 odd bucks for the train meal and people have varying palettes. Some people eat rice, some eact chapatis etc. So the railways ends up providing everything. However I do agree that there should be some improvements on this front.

    Advertising is least of the concerns for the railways , Its not as big a revenue generator as you may think. At the end of the day for a organization to survive it must earn from operations. This is just additional income and not the core product.

    Lets all stop exaggerating the TTE bit. At the end of the day the TTE doesnt ask you to board without a ticket. If you do and try to convince him to give you a seat by paying a few hundred bucks , you are equally at fault.

    I am not saying the railways is the best and it doesnt need to improve. It definitely needs a LOT of improvement. But the article is pessimistic and more full of shit than Indian railway tracks

    Reply
    1. Anupam Mukhopadhyay

      @Ankit Goyal: Let me ask you a simple question. I know that Railways has their own challenges but does it mean that even if I am not getting the decent service after paying the money, I should stop complaining because the Service Provider has their own problems??
      If I got it correctly the article was not written to oppose the fare hike. I guess the blogger isn’t a political leader who is in opposition now. Here nobody is questioning the hike but trying to draw attention to some of the common problems of the service we get from Railways. Nobody will be happy to pay the extra 14% if the service remains same as before.
      Also if the Railway is in mud and can’t manage to break even that’s because of the people who run it not the users who use it. Blame the political leaders who follow the populist economy and apply mascara to a burnt face.

      Reply
  13. Ankit Goyal

    just want to say one thing that the writer of the article has no idea about the challenges faced by an organization like the railways.
    At the end of the day he needs to recognize the fact that railway fares were increased so that the railways can mange to break even and not because Railways is engaging in crony capitalism.
    Railways does have major challenges facing it and believe me when I say this , the ones listed in the article are just the ones you can see. There are far major issues which need to be taken care of. Seriously can you reach from Delhi to patiala in 80 bucks on a non-ac bus? The fare increase was just to break even on account of increase in wages, fuel hike etc.

    s for the toiletes , a large problem is with the users. The green toilets can be installed but how do you check people from throwing garbage like cigarettes in them?

    With regards to cleanliness, there are dustbins everywhere on most big stations. People lack cvic sense and throw the junk on the platform. There is a need for civic education more than anything else

    Food, This point I can agree on but the recent hike in fares was not to accommodate for hike in food prices. Most people in India have problems iin paying 40 odd bucks for the train meal and people have varying palettes. Some people eat rice, some eact chapatis etc. So the railways ends up providing everything. However I do agree that there should be some improvements on this front.

    Advertising is least of the concerns for the railways , Its not as big a revenue generator as you may think. At the end of the day for a organization to survive it must earn from operations. This is just additional income and not the core product.

    Lets all stop exaggerating the TTE bit. At the end of the day the TTE doesnt ask you to board without a ticket. If you do and try to convince him to give you a seat by paying a few hundred bucks , you are equally at fault.

    I am not saying the railways is the best and it doesnt need to improve. It definitely needs a LOT of improvement. But the article is pessimistic and more full of shit than Indian railway tracks

    Reply
    1. Anupam Mukhopadhyay

      @Ankit Goyal: Let me ask you a simple question. I know that Railways has their own challenges but does it mean that even if I am not getting the decent service after paying the money, I should stop complaining because the Service Provider has their own problems??
      If I got it correctly the article was not written to oppose the fare hike. I guess the blogger isn’t a political leader who is in opposition now. Here nobody is questioning the hike but trying to draw attention to some of the common problems of the service we get from Railways. Nobody will be happy to pay the extra 14% if the service remains same as before.
      Also if the Railway is in mud and can’t manage to break even that’s because of the people who run it not the users who use it. Blame the political leaders who follow the populist economy and apply mascara to a burnt face.

      Reply
  14. Hemanth Bhat

    One of the most Spectacular Sarcastic Blog that I have ever come across, keep on with the good work Mr. Heartranjan, Sir.
    But I have certain issues which I like to be Clarified
    1. We, The Citizens, of India are also responsible for maintaining the Hygiene and not the railways alone.
    2. There is no Unity amongst us when one of our Female fellow travellers are molested.
    3. Nobody is willing to take the initiative of cleaning the Berth, at least.
    I am not trying to justify anything here, but I will be rebutted and snickered atIif I was to follow all the above attributes…

    P S
    My Apologies if I have swerved from the topic.

    Reply
  15. KTM Owners Group HYD (@KOGHYD)

    Thanks for this “The opposition cried foul and lambasted the anti-poor move, the ruling party said it was necessary to upgrade the railways, and Times of India quickly drafted an article called ‘5 Reasons why Katrina Kaif’s dog might be fucking Abhay Deol’s cat’.” I’m goign to have to wipe up all that coffee from my screen.

    Reply
  16. Aditi Pattnaik

    Read your article… It’s superb.. but somehow I feel.. only the negative points have been highlighted and few points are quite old too.. For example.. if you talk about toilets… Indian railways have now implemented bio-toilets.. every AC coach has an attendant… Double Decker Express been started between major cities, AC compartments are quite clean compared to older versions… Of course, there is always room for improvement.. may be govt planning to upgrade much more.. like wifi facility and FYI… towers are under construction at major stations.It’s always easy to point out and speak on what’s wrong… but at the same time, I feel we should keep enough patience to understand the positive sides too…

    Reply
  17. Mayank Kapoor

    Read your article after it was shared by a friend. all i can say is 14% increase in fare is needed just to make sure the raiways doesnt deteriorate any more and that it keeps running as is. with inflation at an all time high, shortage of cheap labour etc. any noticable improvement will be god send.

    Reply
  18. Gaurav Joshi (@GauravJ_09)

    Wonderful as always! I’m a fan of your posts. (Remember me? I’m the same guy who wanted to read your short stories) Well I did expect you to write something about elections but this was even better.

    Being a regular commuter, the rise in fare will definitely have a dramatic impact on my life and you have conveyed my feelings through your sharp and satirical tone! Awesome work!

    Reply
  19. Abdaal Akhtar

    Agree with most of the points. Luckily something is being done about the open toilets. Bio-toilets that do not drop crap off on the trackside are now a part of most Rajdhani trains. It should be extended to all Express trains in the next 3-4 years.

    Unfortunately, bio toilets are being fucked up by us. The last time I took a Rajdhani to Bombay, the toilet had choked up because some asshole(s) thought it proper to clog it with soap wrappers and shampoo sachets!

    Reply
  20. Anupam Mukhopadhyay

    This is the first time I am going through your Blog. I agree to the points you raised except few things –
    1. Surprise checking for Clean train without food litters, groundnut shells and erotic one liners in bathroom: – I hardly agree that surprise checking will be of any good use here. You can schedule a surprise check to catch WTs, but you’ll hardly catch anyone or maybe just a few littering in train. Coz they’ll be extra cautious and will check the surroundings before doing what they usually do. If you can’t catch them red handed you’ll be never able to fine them. Also simply forget about catching those people who write those one liners in bathroom. Do you propose to conduct surprise checkings in bathroom too?? !!!
    2. “horrific Duronto Express trains” – I am not a Pro Mamata, not an anti Mamata either. But I simply can’t agree that the duronto initiative is bad. Take NDLS Duronto, SDAH Rajdhani and Kolkata Rajdhani and for most of the days you’ll find Duronto has less availability than other two especially for 3A. 1A is out of question as Rajdhani 1A is still a status symbol to many people.

    Surely the Million Dollar Question is what we are going to get with the added 14%?? I would encourage you to keep bringing these kind of matters to public discussion.

    Reply
  21. Dagny

    I just came off a train today morning. My only point of disagreement with your piece is that AC compartments aren’t all that clean. The toilets specially could make the strongest amongst us shudder.

    With 14% extra, I’d be very interested in knowing what ‘modernizing’ steps will be taken. As you said, I wonder why they can’t think out of the box for additional revenue generation.

    Reply
  22. Dipanjan Chakraborty

    2 points: The RPF is entrusted with the protection of Railway property. The passenger security is the responsibility of the GRP as law and order is a state subject. And, the Durontos are not all that bad.

    Reply
  23. palakchhabra31

    I am an ardent follower of your blog but this is the first time I have commented ( I am just lazy xP) . You always write with just the right mix of intelligence, humour and bad puns ! The inherent point in each and every blog post of yours is highly commendable and you do a better job at commenting objectively at the socio-political realities of our country than most of the so called self appointed “commentators” that we have in our nation who just further their own agenda.
    However I have a teeny-tiny point. I notice that you are very Anti Times of India. i agree that it reports with a bit of mirch-masala (which makes drab news interesting) , but it does report all that there is to be reported, I might sound like the daughter of Vineet Jain, but I am prepping for the Civil services exams and I read 5 newspapers daily and do not find TOI trashy at all. You might have a problem with their filmy portion, but thats what it exactly is for – film news. The main newspaper with it’s editorials is quite good.
    Just saying! You know freedom of speech and all that shizz. (Better take advantage of it till we can on social media!)

    Reply
    1. heartranjan

      Hi Palak,

      Thank you for commenting.

      You could be right. There are worse newspapers than Times of India, but since it’s the largest, I use it for representational purposes. Mentioning Asian Age might not have the same ring to it, does it?

      If you DO happen to be Vineet Jain’s daughter, Hey, how’s it going, baby? 😉

      On 23 June 2014 15:04, Heartranjan's Blog wrote:

      >

      Reply
      1. palakchhabra31

        Ahahaha! Well I’m not, unfortunately. If I was I would probably be in yash raj studios seeing the filmfare awards, wearing a designer gown. Since that is all that I practically see Vineet Jain doing . :/ without the gown, albeit. *ewww bad mental image*

        Reply
  24. Geeta Nair

    A brilliant article that lays out the ills afflicting the Indian Railways. Wish the PM and Rly. Minister would read this and do some soul searching.

    Reply
  25. Ghata

    A brilliant article. As serious the issues are, the article is funnier. I really wish the concerned people get to read this!

    Reply
  26. Raj Nandini

    this article is just BRILLIANT. Love your articles!
    The suggestions are all valid and reasonable, and coated with a thick layer of humour, which makes it a delight to read!

    Reply
  27. sudhindra srinivas

    I have said this before and I will say it again. With your ability to pour the frustrations of living in this majestic country and mould out these fine vases week after week, you should have published a few Rupa or Lux editions by now. Please consider this and keep my name handy in your page that is devoted to “The Creeps who made this novel possible”.

    Reply
  28. Amit Tiwari

    Hilarious!!! I won’t be sending it to any official because nobody gives a shit but the “Hasyaasan” through this post might give me strength to use railway’s toilet during my next train journey!
    Keep it coming dude.

    Reply
  29. Aravind Balasubramanya

    Very thought-provoking! The bitter-pill has been sugar-coated with humour but it definitely feels potent to the reader. Just hope that streams of passion like these add up from all directions into a massive river which can really clean the crap out of the country….

    Aravind

    Reply

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