Tag: Delhi

Let’s wake up!

The recent heinous incident of rape in Delhi, where the girl is still battling for life with infections in intestine, has caused a mass outrage among public and for a change, supposedly in politicians too.

There has been cries for severe punishment of the convicts, which I (and everyone) perfectly agree with. Castration? Would not befit the crime! Death Penalty? Yes. Life imprisonment? Yes, as long as its till the “life” of the criminals. All I know, is there has to be a severe punishment with a special fast track court to pass on that judgement. It should not get lost in the ultra-slow legal process of our country, because, that in my opinion, dilutes the idea of judgement.
The punishment, how severe, will not “undo” the crime, but it will show that as a society, as a nation, we will not let the convicts enjoy a simple or rigorous imprisonment for a few years, and then again join us back in the free. We have to set an example. Public lynching is not the answer, since we are a civilized society. Nonetheless, it should not mean that we’ll go soft on the punishment for these deranged psychopaths. 

We fail as a collective, as a society in protecting women. Time and again, I see and hear incidents, where people were just dumb and mute spectators to acts of eve-teasing. 

By asking women to not venture out after sunset, is letting them know, that we are not responsible for your safety. I feel, it’s a statement of accepting failure to provide a safe and secure environment, and more than that, it’s a statement to let women know that, we’re not even concerned about you, cowering down to the criminals in our society.

Once, I was traveling alone in Delhi metro in somewhat crowded metro, when I hear two people talking about, why there is need for a reserved coach for women. How it is empty. Why can’t we enter it when it’s empty and all? They did not actually enter. But, what got me thinking about this that time was, about their mentality, that there’s no need for a reserved coach. That they were even thinking why not enter it? They were thinking, some actual do it, and some of those some, actually eve-tease or try to physically assault. Don’t deny this, as this happens a lot. If you would have noticed, there are always people who try to somehow “touch” a female, either during standing, or their best chance comes while boarding/de-boarding, esp at a crowded station.

Today, I read in the newspaper that, when the rape victim was dumped with her friend, there was a crowd onlooking, but not even a single soul out of that crowd had the decency to hand them a piece of cloth to cover them up. A crowd is always there just for tamasha in India. They seldom help, they seldom show signs of empathy

Let’s make this recent case a starting point for having better and stricter laws, having special fast track courts, more policing on our roads and streets. Let’s expect the police to gear up and be more aggressive and for the God’s sake. Let’s not crib when the police stops our bus or car or private vehicle for a checking at a check post. We, as concerned citizens of the society have to “help” as much as we can. We have to be alert. We have to understand that tinted glasses in the vehicles is a security concern. Maybe you want comfort from the sun outside, and you argue that I am not a criminal, and I am and will not do anything illegal. But, if it would have been that simple to figure out who is and who is not a criminal, then this matter would not have come up. Please, help police in ensuring the safety. Don’t be a crybaby for tinted glass, for checking (doesn’t matter how many times), don’t show your displeasure over not having curtains in the buses. All, if you are really concerned, and not just trying to show your fake concern over social networking sites. After all, it’s someone from our society who commits such crimes.!

A (really) quick trip

It was Friday, 1:30 PM. I was devouring Sub of the day in the office cafeteria (which was Chicken Tikka Sub) at lunch with friends, when I got the call about my visa status.

2 hours later, the manager who had called, came to my cubicle and told me that I need to travel on Saturday for a short business trip to attend to some meetings at client location. This IS my shortest notice travel plan so far.

The next day was almost a nightmare for me in terms of work which needed to be done. I kept running here and there the entire day till 07:00 PM, when I actually started packing. It was at 8:31, that I finally relaxed after loading my luggage in the cab! Phew!

I was travelling on Air France this time, with a hop at Charles De Gaulle, Paris. Checking in at T3, IGI was easy and so was passing the immigration and security. As you all know, the new terminal is really great and of global standards. I noticed that there’s no longer free wi-fi at the airport. The service provider has changed from Airtel to Aircel and only 30 minutes demo is free. That was sufficient for me to tweet, psot FB updates, check Gmail and official mails. The rate for hourly surfing was just INR 60 per hour, which is not really costly.

Nevertheless, there had to be a let down and thanks to the food court near B gates, I found my let down. There were around 8 vendors, and even though they were having a range of offerings, from which you could have chose from, almost all of them were serving just one or two items out of the big lists. Every vendor was supposedly selling 500 ml and 1 l bottle of water, but none of them had the 1 l bottle! Anyways that’s that.

Air France flights are good when it comes to comfortable seating and leg space – things which matter on long haul flights. The food was let down though. Nonetheless, the leg space made for it (at least for me).

Best part of the flight was supposed to be the time spent at transit airport in Paris – Charles De Gaulle airport. It looked to me that the entire area of the airport is quite huge, as I noticed it took us considerable time from landing to reaching the skybridge dock. CDG airport from the inside is quite awesome starting from the interiors to the shops to even the carpets! I could not take any picture but will definitely take some on my way back home. The stores lined up all around the terminals are the best upscale brands, which you so much want to shop in – Ralph Lauren, Yves Saint Laurent, Coco, and a lot more similar companies. The perfume shops, seemed to to be selling the best brands only!

On reaching JFK, it was like coming to second home! Yeah, it feels like that at times. What made the tiring journey worthwhile was an opportunity to drive 🙂

I am tired but don’t want to sleep and screw my body block. Trying to keep awake by watching tv and wishing that the clock shows me 10 PM ASAP, so that I can hit the bed.

That’s all from my end guys. Keep tuned and maybe I’ll try to give a daily update of the stuff here.

Au Revoir

Swechha

After thinking, discussing, deliberating for almost two years over the fact that I should somehow contribute to the society by joining some NGO, I took the first step today and visited the Malviya Nagar office of Swechha. I and 6 of my colleagues were hosted there by Amrita Anand, who has been associated with Sweccha for more than an year now. I and the 4 of us were grouped for this sessions by Abhinandan, who had participated in the recent Flash Mob for Please Mend the Gap, which is an initiative for promoting gender equality in public space.

Amrita took us through the history of Swechha, the different programs it runs, the partnerships and related things in quite detail. We signed up a one pager form for one of their intiatives, Pagdandi, a volunteer based program to supplement education in children from marginalized society (resettlement and slum colonies).

Amrita then asked us to join for an evening session, where the children from nearby Jagdamba camp, were going to be told about “Right to Information” and then was to be play-acted. This was to be followed by a Karate class by one of the volunteers. We reached the park and there were around 40-50 kids and 5 volunteers. We were told that some of the kids have gone back to their villages so the number was expected to be around 50.

The Children were first told about Right to Information What it is, how and where to use it, why is it needed. They were then split in small groups of 5 each and all volunteers were assigned a group. Some of the groups were more than 5 too. The volunteers were asked to think of situations where the children could use the RTI, and then the same had to enacted. We sat with the kids and then thought of situations, roles and then practiced. After that, they were supposed to enact their acts before all groups, but time did not permit every group to do so. I reckon that they are supposed to perform at a festival next week (as far as I remember).

The Karate class followed that, and we witnessed that too. Half way in that, we left.

What I observed during all this is – the string sense of determination you need to be part of such activities. Believe me, children can be very very tough to manage. You can’t a group of 40-50 odd kids to listen to you, to maintain decorum. Never, period. I noticed that the volunteers (who have been part of this from long) had a lot of determination and cool. It’s not that I felt loosing my cool, but I felt loosing my determination in keeping the kids at one place, in asking to sit, in trying to have their attention and a lot more. At a time, I felt that I don’t have that much determination to be able to conduct such workshops/activities. May be all of the current volunteers started like me, but I don’t know that as of this moment.

Another interesting thing and a really good thing, was seeing how much determined Amrita was towards this cause and her job. She was speaking back at the office how she and others at her office are going to try to go to each household in Jagdamba camp, and check that they are accounting for all children there. When we were going to the park, where the activities were supposed to take place, I noticed that at two instances she stopped the car, when she spotted some kids, whom she knew, and where from the camp. Now that is what is called honest determination towards your duty. Not boasting her in any ways, but seriously hats off Amrita for the great work you’re doing. Keep it up! I’ll try to help in any possible way I can.

An app for public transportation?

I was reading the GTFS specifications a few hours back and then I realized that in India, no transit authority publishes any such information.

Seeing the commonwealth games this year, I guess and hope that DMRC and DTC can publish transit information in GTFS format, so that the developers can come up with some web, mobile and iPhone applications. These applications will for sure make it much easier for everyone to commute and find the modes of transportation. The biggest benefit will be for the foreigners, who can use these apps to locate a metro station, get the schedule information, locate bus stops and get to know about timings and other gamut of information.

Most of the transit authorities in USA are using GTFS specs to publish information for the developers to come up with commuter friendly applications.Now is the time for DMRC and DTC.

Commonwealth Games & Public transportation

The Commonwealth games are around the corner and I still don’t see much improvement in public transportation in NCR.

Delhi Metro has been expanding into Noida and now recently entered Gurgaon. Nevertheless, the load has been so much that you will remember the ride for the discomfort rather than an easy and fast ride to your destination. Even since, the Noida lines were open, I have seen such a huge crowd all the time on the trains, inbound and outbound, that I wonder when will DMRC increase the frequency or have more coaches on the trains.

DTC, which is the largest carries when it comes to road transportation in NCR is far behind. The low floor buses have somewhat got jinxed in recent past. Government is still struggling to phase out blue line and white line buses. I seriously would not like for the foreign visitors to ride a blue line or white line bus to witness an ordeal for themselves with the unruly drivers and conductors, more than the passengers. Increasing the number of buses and frequency on the routes will be the only solution for getting a better response from the tourists.

Auto rickshaws can not be counted as I don’t think government can enforce them to ply by meter. And why will they, when the government is not tightening its noose on them as of this date. Auto Rickshaws in NCR are the biggest problem for domestic and international commuters in NCR. They NEVER go by meter and charge really odd amounts which is far more than what should be taken. The public is held hostage as you can’t find another one who will take you by meter. The traffic police is never concerned about this problem. I think, maybe cause no one gives it a damn to what happens.

But, just think what will happen when the huge influx of foreign tourists land in Delhi for the games. How good or bad an image will out public transportation leave in their minds? What looks of now is that it will be a lot of trouble for them to commute!