June 2007

Sri, Sri Sri, Sri Sri Sri, …

The salutation Sri is used in a very religious term in India. It is similar to Mr. in English. For information on this salutation, I would suggest this link from Wikipedia.

Quoting from Wikipedia, “Sri/Shri is often used as a respectful affix to the names of celebrated or revered persons. It is not gender-specific, but the assumption that it is gender-specific has resulted in the title of Shrimati (abbreviated Smt) for women”.

Now comes the real discussion.  Of late, many people seem to be using and applying multiple SRI before their names or before the name of thier Guruji. I know of the Kalki Bhagavan of Nemam Temple near Chennai was using the prefix like ‘Sri Sri Kalki Bhagavan’ till sometime back. I am not sure whether they still cling on to this prefix usage.Today, near Kamarajapuram bus stand, I saw a van of Sri Muralidhara Swamiji. I haven’t observed even Guruji’s official trust also using Sri Sri but this van was saying Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji. I have reported this issue to Madhuramurali and let me keep posted if any responses come back that way.

Readers: What do you feel? Share your thoughts too…

A Poor Man’s Deluxe Car

The Chennai city’s prime transportation line (Metropolitan Transport Corporation) seems to be getting innovative going by the day. Gone are the days when we just have bus that used to give rattling sounds, make the journey nauseating (vomiting sensation due to bad roads and strenous journey). At least from the second half of the reign of the previous Chief Minister Puratchi Thalaivi Dr. J. Jayalalitha and the current rule of Dr. Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi, the transport ministers are putting some diligent and focussed efforts to provide good bus services networking nook and corner of the city.

Not everyone can afford to have a car; Not everyone can hire a call taxi or a dedicated air-conditioned travel car frequently; Not everyone can just pickup an autorickshaw. We have a real significant of middle income group in the city who still depend on this public transportation system. And we should at least thank the Transportation Department and the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) for thier focussed efforts in bringing world class bus services to reality in Chennai.

At least, I feel that Vestibule and Low-Floor-Deluxe buses look like comfortable cars for me. It is about a couple of rupees (half a US dime) more than the normal buses but the advantage you gain being comfortable journey to your destination.

Technology-wise, I also appreciate the quick route maps in MTC website which enumerates tariff, routes between specified source and destinations. The website also discusses about the luggage allowed including free allowance per passenger and other proposed plans.

Of course, with these are the plus points, it is not MTC can just take rest. There are but scores of negatives and shortcomings that they have to address too. A few of them are:

  1. Security in buses is still a challenge. Even now, you can not comfortably keep your wallet in any of the deluxe buses in shirt pocket. You have to squeeze it somewhere deep in the hidden pockets to safeguard it from pocket-pickers. We have discussed sometime back a few tips to escape from pocket pickers.
  2. Eve-teasing menace and harassment of women passengers is still reigning high at least in the suburbs. While Chennai City Traffic police is giving tall claims of having plain clothes cops supervising, I don’t think they are anywhere near success in getting the eve-teasing menace under check and control. Before something like Sarika Shah tragedy strikes, MTC can be proactive in controlling this eve-teasing menace.
  3. Under the pretext of deluxe buses, a number of little bus stops are ruthlessly shutdown by the MTC. This acutely affects regular commuters, office-goers, ladies and kids, school students, patients to hospitals and aged people. They should adopt a trick like ‘Alternate Buses; Alternate Bus Stops’ instead of having a hard and fast rule like ‘Yellow Board (LSS) buses’ would stop here; White Board (All Stop) buses would stop here’. Currently, the All Stop buses have a very little percentage share of 15 per cent of the total MTC fleet, as I learnt from a weblog. We have a discussion on this in Consumer_Voice_India over here.
  4. Maintenance of buses is serious lacking. Already the very new buses too have started getting so much dust on the windows. The cleaning personnel at the bus station should be strictly advised and trained to clean and maintain the buses. This rule has to be enforced strictly. We have a discussion on this topic in Consumer_Voice_India over here.
  5. The staff has to be trained to be more polite and caring for the passenger. Even yesterday, I witnessed one driver in 21L, who when we requested for a bus stop, started to bark incessantly and stopped the bus after a while as if he is doing a favor for us, when he was actually doing his duty. Every staff has to be trained to remember the following slogan always:

    “A ‘Customer’ is the most important visitor on our premises.
    He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him.
    He is not an interruption on our work. He is the purpose of it.
    He is not an outsider on our business. He is a part of it.
    We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.”

    — Mahatma Gandhi

  6. Time management in pathetic. But I am sure that this issue can not immediately be taken up since it depends on multiple factors like road traffic conditions, political meetings, route diversions etc.

I do have a suggestion regarding the problems (1) and (2). MTC can consider having a separate police force dedicated to itself instead of depending on the normal police. They can have something like MTC Police with thier own access telephone numbers dedicated only for problems in MTC buses. Dallas Area Rapid Transportation (DART) actually has this setup and you can find more details of DART police here.

‘Fresh Brand’ Stores in Chennai

Today while travelling into the city from Tambaram near Velacherry I found a new cloth banner indicating the inauguaration of another ‘Fresh Grocery’ shop in Madipakkam. Already, the ‘Reliance Fresh’ chain of stores have triggered so much of turmoil in the state and other parts of the country.  The protests at least in Tamil Nadu were so intense that the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Dr. Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi himself intervened and he assured the small traders that he is going to write a letter to the Center to see if something could be done to control the setting up of these ‘Fresh Stores’.

You see diversified reviews in various blogs and media websites using your favorite search engine but the bottomline is simple — the entreprenuers who are setting up these type of stores should think of saving the lives of small traders whose livelihood is significantly compromised.

Let us hope, at least Tamil Nadu is saved from this stupid concept, after Karunanidhi gets some response from the centre.

Misuse of Mobile Phones

Moble phones are by far the most valuable electronic gadgets that are being used by a larger number of people. During my travel from Maraimalainagar to Tambaram, in the bus I have made an observation of a guy who was busy playing around his mobile and downloading all sorts of cine star photographs from various GPRS websites. A few of the photographs that he was seeing in the crowdy bus were so very obscene too.

With Airtel trying to increase and push its GSM boundaries, there are still people who make the most abuse of mobile phone gadgets. We can not that easily forget the case when a Delhi school girl was clipped in a MMS Porn scam. Again, the cops themselves never fail to strike the headlines in sending abusive SMSes to thier counteparts.

I think the Government should bring in more staunch and focussed action towards bringing in a perfect discipline of using mobile phones only for constructive use.

It is paining to see the closed shutters of Standard Motors

Driving down Tambaram on the NH45 just about five kilometers and in the postal area called Perungalathur, you can see a big industrial house called Standard Motors. Of course, the sad part is that this industrial house had been remaining in the closed state for more than ten years due to lockouts and various administrative, financial cum political reasons.

This time while travelling from Maraimalainagar to Tambaram I was thinking of writing about this. The current Government of Tamil Nadu, which is so eager to open up so many industries around Sri Perumbudur, can consider even reviving Standard Motors. It is really worth to consider reusing the resources than developing from the scratch in everything right. Of course, I admit that there is one issue which would be challenging. If Standard Motors is opened just like that, Unions might be placing demands for payments during the closure period also, which would really run into allocation of crores in the expenditure.

However, I still feel that the government can put some thought into making Standard Motors limp back into normalcy. Rather than wasting time over political vendetta over various futile feud attempts, I think the authorities can constructively think something over such perspectives. For some reason, the government is too much concenterating on Sriperumbudur and trying to dislocate small land owners there, deriving sadistic pleasure in the same. Would the authorities act with more humanitarian consideration and act for the national cause?

Missing Water Bottles of 500ml

On Thursday, I thought of purchasing a good 500 ML water bottle from McRennet Supermarket in Saidapet. He regretted but gave a pointer to the neighboring eatout. When asked, he was showing only the 2 Litres bottle. And one good thing with the small eatouts in Chennai is that with as  little bit of enquiry, you can get tons of information. And he added a bit of information — ‘We stopped ordering 500 ML bottles for this Summer since there is any way brisk sales of 2 Liter water bottles’.

The following are some of the points regarding the water bottles:

  1. The 500 ML water bottle is very handy. Also it can be used as reusable bottle since it is very sturdy and good material too. On the other hand the 2 liter water bottle is easily crushible and you have to forcibly throw it off and purchase a new one.
  2. I agree that easy-crushible water bottles are good since miscreants can not use them to make easy bucks with ordinary water as mineral water but at the same time, sturdy small water bottles are great ones for our personal and domestic use. Even if we try using the 2Liter bottle for normal use, it is very inconvenient because of its shape and size. Also the nature of plastic it contains, the water seems to get smell after sometime.

The Chennai shops should also consider ordering 500 ML water bottles but they are currently making busy bucks in the hot summer. Might be they are following the proverb “Strike the iron while it is hot”.

J Walking — Most Common Feature in Indian Roads?

I just thought of this unique syndrome that has afflicted almost any Indian roads — J-Walking. Yesterday,  during my trip to temple, I observed a huge lot of people resorting to this practice. And you know where? The busy Sardar Patel Road – Velachery Tambaram road intersection (also known as Halda junction). Interestingly, this stretch has been made one way from both Velacherry and Adyar direction.

I don’t find a single cop in this traffic intersection even at the busy peak hour evening. The free left from Adyar towards Velacherry almost makes crossing virtually impossible besides the nonchalant people involving in reckless JWalking.

The Government of Tamil Nadu, which has tried bringing in a statute enforcing Mandatory Helmets for the safety of public can also try bringing in some rule to ‘contain’ this menace of JWalking. Would the traffic authorities wake up from slumber?

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