Friday, August 7, 2015



After a gap of three months,I again traveled to Hyderabad by the same Duranto Express, that I travel each time. This runs on Wednesdays, Saturdays from Lokamaya Tilak station in Kurla, Mumbai. Last time when I traveled from the station, the station was a garbage dump, toilets were smelling dead rats, platforms were littered everywhere. I said to my wife accompanying me that unless there was change in attitudes of people, the "Clean India" was not possible. While returning I traveled by the same train from Secunderabad on a Friday and I displayed on SM photos of the station  that looked like one of the cleanest Airports in the world I saw, Armesterdam. I was happy message reaching people slowly.

Secunderabad Station. Tidy and clean.

Soonafter I returned, I tweeted to all concerned ministers, PMO India, wrote in etc., about pathetic condition of stations in Mumbai. Many might have written, as more people take upon themselves to see India clean and great.

To my surprise, I found the LTT station this time like a mirror , cleanliness everywhere, cleaning executives with brooms everywhere, dustbins in place and people taking care to use the dustbins. The tracks were being cleaned soon after a train left, the porters more courteous, announcements were continuous. This time around ten trains were cancelled due to floods in MP and there were long, serpentine queues in refund counters, with no GRP around, the people were standing patiently for their turn. Acche Behavior.Acche Din.

I got into the first class compartment. (Us both being senior citizens, we have shifted to first AC since one year, as we travel frequently and we want comfort and it is cheaper than a Tatkal in 2 tier AC. We are assured of lower berths in Ist AC, as it is always vacant and we get tickets in the last hour too). Ist AC in Duranto is spacious. I observed a pardigm shift in the attitudes of the attendants, catering boys etc., They are more courteous. As usual neatness is everywhere. A continuous collection of litter is the order of the day. People traveling are more responsive to the cleanliness drive. Upper class people in India think it is not their duty to clean their coupes. There is perceptible change now. 

Duranto caters food like breakfast, water, welcome drink etc., I got Upma, a Jain preparation without onion, garlic and bread etc., All were fresh and tasty, the coffee powder was fresh supply. I got an additional plate of Idly in Wadi Station on special order. What a change? I never tasted so fresh, tasty Idly or Chutney in a train in my hundreds/ may be thousands of travels across nation. Acche Din came. If people on top are good, it percolates down fast. Journey ended. 

Porter took me straight to the pre paid auto stand in Sec. Stn. Surprise! Long queues of autos standing there, mostly orderly auto drivers. There are other autos too fleecing new customers. The porter told they were strictly ordered not to take passengers to fleecers or they would lose licence.

With no stick for implementation, a ministry could ensure discipline by spread of a simple  message. The fare was Rs.140/-. I was given a computer generated slip with phone number for complaint if there was an issue.

Half a mile away, a policeman stopped the auto as the driver was not wearing uniform. The driver pleaded. The policeman asked for licence, the driver gave  a paper that did not look like licence. The policeman showed me the paper and said, "Sir! You see. Is this called licence?".  I saw it. It was, I felt, fake. I told the policeman to leave him as these guys stood in queues for hours and if needed he could note his vehicle number and ensure he got a licence. He directed the driver to the SI, who let him off with a warning. 

The driver told me a story when I asked him why he was not wearing the coat. They have a union for pre paid autos, mostly recent migrants from TG dists. They work very hard. These people are not bothered by the police as they are customer friendly, charge fixed rates and union ensures they are disciplined. If there is a complaint on errant drivers, union takes them to task. Acche Din. I asked him to get a genuine licence. He said they all applied and would get soon. So far so good. I thought if honest AAP MLAs got ministries on fake degrees, this could be excused for a few days. All in the rotten system. The policeman did not wet his palm nor the SI was rude. I thought, it might be because of one aspect, they could ensure, customer service courteous behavior. Achhe Din, hoping system takes care of other faults of the drivers. 

Most surprisingly, I saw that on the way by the side of tracks, there were cleaning executives, cleaning papers, plastic bags etc., and burning them there itself. Once every two KM, I found this happening right from Sholapur to Secunderabad. When did we see this in India? 

But shockingly, I saw mud roads leading to villages near Ganigapur road. I traveled in mud roads in the '60s. It is horrible during rains What did the disruptors of Parliament do to improve the lot of farmers in villages here? They talk they stand with farmers, sitting in Delhi. Stark truth is otherwise. I request Centre take up rural infra on large scale and provide good roads. They sow, they struggle, they harvest but have no road to carry their produce. Remove middlemen. Ensure farmers are happy. We can see real Acche Din and #CorruptCongressMukthBharat by 2019.

Good Luck India! You are on right path. Do not deviate. Ensure continuity. Your past glory is returing fast.