Monday, 8 March 2010

Ode to National Highways Department!!!!

The other day, I wrote about road safety and how trucks and lorries, ignore the basic road safety measures of tail lights or light reflective stickers during night travel…….yesterday I travelled from ranipet to vellore and today I went to sholingur and back, both small towns and was totally amazed at the commendable work done by the Highways department….These small roads connecting two rural towns, was so well maintained with all the road safety measures in place – like, good road, proper sign boards, etc.,

But the best part was about the light reflectors on the stones planted on road sides and also on the trees on either side of the road. It looks so beautiful in the night, as they glow reflecting the head lights. The beauty is, all these light reflecting stickers (on trees) and on d road borders are of STAR shape, so it looks lovely in a pitch dark road with all these glowing stars on the sides, giving an effect as if you are riding in space……

I have travelled many times in these roads since my childhood and last I travelled these routs were 2 years back when I was on vacation, so I could make out the huge difference the highways department have achieved, from what it was before….

Hope they put such measures into action all across India and maintain it well….

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Kalyugs spiritual leaders!!!!!

Paramahamsa Nithyananda………what a great guru, spiritual leader, enlightened human being, who shares his wisdom and knowledge to his disciples for the benefit of the human kind!!!! All went into drain after Sun TV exposed his affairs with one of his women disciple (An actress) on National TV couple of days back….This is what occupied all the regional news channels in Tamilnadu and Karnataka, with Nithyananda absconding, his angry disciples and some of the party members ransacking all the Ashram branches, burning his effigies, posters and pictures…..all expected, knowing the southern states politics.
My dad was introduced by one of my friend to this organisation and was very much mesmerised with Nithyananda’s speeches, Sat sanghs, Yoga sessions….each one costing him Rs. 1000/day and in whole he have spent 8K so far and was about to visit his main ashram near Bangalore next month. Though being a good orator and got immense knowledge on spirituality, Nithyananda lost the trust of thousands of his disciples. I have heard from freind of my friends that, he charges 1K for shaking hands, 5K for hugging and taking picture with him, 25K for self realisation course in Bangalore for IT professionals.
I have no problem, if 2 adults get sexually involved with mutual consent, as it’s their personal affair, but people like Nithyananda, who claims himself to be “Paramahamsa”, Have a social responsibility to LEAD BY EXAMPLE. Unfortunately, nowadays, this rule doesn’t apply to many of the self proclaimed spiritual leaders in the country. Just 2 decades ago we had “Premananda”, again a self proclaimed Guru, who raped his women disciples and got imprisoned for 40 years, found guilty of rape and murder. 5/6 years ago, it was Sankaracharya of Kanchi Mutt, who was charged with planning the murder of one of his dissident follower and the case is still on, with probably few more years before judgement. Last decade we had, the self proclaimed Kalki Bhagwan, who got a huge ashram near Chennai, was framed with charges of drug peddling, rape and hypnotising his women disciples to take sanyas… Though all these incidents were well covered in the headlines by media, people tend to have selective amnesia, that they blindly fall for the tactics employed by such people….I don’t know, whether it is mainly due to the change in culture in the Indian society, that we no more live under one family umbrella, that we don’t have any one to share our feelings and seek guidance, that we fall prey to such cunning criminals….or is it that our life have become so materialistic and the fast city life, that have resulted in making us so vulnerable internally, that we easily fall to the words uttered by such persons, though we have heard the very same words from our ancient scriptures and history. I don’t know, when this thing is going to stop, when the people are going to stop blindly believing in such criminals, that they allow themselves to be manipulated………
I believe there is a big political nexus, without whose support and guidance, such people couldn’t have grown in such short period of time. And I think this is what shields them for so long from the eyes of law enforcement agencies……the best example could be “The Golden Temple” in Sripuram, near Vellore in Tamilnadu. The self proclaimed God, claims himself to be d incarnation of Goddess Durga, built a temple for goddess Durga, with full external gold covering. The saddest part is, this self proclaimed god person was schoolmate of my cousin in Vellore. This temple was opened just 2/3 years back, and within months of its opening, new approach roads were laid, special bus routes were approved, special buses were run on regular basis from Bangalore and Chennai….And because of all this, now this temple has become as popular as Thirupati Balaji temple. All this wouldn’t have been possible without Some Political party’s support……..

Friday, 5 March 2010

Road safety!!!????

I was astonished and amazed at how much rules are followed by the enforcing officials and the general public, when it comes to road safety, especially with regards to vehicles. I landed in Chennai airport in the early hours of Saturday, my dad came to receive me with a friend. So we got all my bags in to the car and headed to Ranipet, my hometown, 120 kms from Chennai on Chennai-Mumbai NH4 and that’s when this shock struck me……it was 0300hrs and pitch dark and the highway was filled with mostly trucks transporting goods from Chennai port to Bangalore and other parts of the country. Of all the trucks that we passed or overtook, 9 out of 10 didn’t had the tail lights ON (either its not working or its not there at all……) and the worst part is, they don’t even have any light reflecting stickers……I was thinking aloud – “Where is road safety???” Its one of the utmost necessary and a must in any vehicle, especially in a vehicle like trucks, which are known for serving logistics to so many industries by transporting goods throughout the country, day and night.

Where were all the law enforcement agencies??? what are they doing??? Starting from the Truck owner, whose responsible for having Tail lights in place for the safety of his drivers and other road users….

RTO, which officials are supposed to check all the safety aspects in a vehicle before authorising it for road usage…..Traffic cops and the highway patrol crew, whose job is to ensure that all the highway users are adhering to the traffic rules, have all the safety measures in place with respect to their vehicles and drivers, etc.,

No wonder, there is so many deaths in India due to Road accidents……India is growing as a country with no value for human life…..Such a sad state of affair…….

My driving lessons!!!!!

I started my driving class here in Ranipet from a friend of friend, who is a licensed driving instructor. He was bemused with my idea of just learning driving in 10 days with no applying of license here in India. My plan was to learn driving as much as possible over here, so that when I get back to London and start taking classes there, I could save at least 20 hours there and the money……But now, when I think of it, I laugh at myself…..

The first day I started my class here, the instructor just explained me about the gear, clutch, brake, accelerator, indicator and that’s it….i started driving right away in a busy highway in Maruti Omni – for those of you who don’t know this vehicle, when you sit in the drivers street, just after the steering wheel, it’s the road….there is no bonnet or engine in the front and that’s why most of the driving instructors choose this vehicle, as one can clearly and easily see the road…And, funnily, I am learning the old generation vehicle, with clutch and I think its good in one way, as it will be easy when I get back learning in London on automatic vehicles….

My first driving experience was funny….i had no problems with starting the vehicle, gettin on with first gear and then second, third, etc., But couldn’t get a hang of my vehicles alignment on the road, that my instructor was steering the vehicle and me, pissed off with him steering, held on to the steering wheel that he literally requested me to hold the steering wheel loose, so that he could guide me to handle it…….i was nervous too, you see and had nothing else other than the steering wheel to hold on to….

Learning here is so easy, as there are no lessons on looking for road signs, nothing on road safety and rules yet…..its all about driving, driving and driving without getting your vehicle hit by other vehicle….First 2 days were horrible, with my instructor steering the vehicle for almost 70% of the drive. Today was much better, I somehow got a hang of it and he just helped me some 20% of steering the wheel, with just verbal guidance to go left and right….i feel proud, that some how I managed to get it to certain extent, though I got a long way to go now.

My request with the instructor was to concentrate his usual 30 day training into 10 days, so that I could learn fully. Unfortunately, he have all his slots so full that, he just filling me into gaps here and there, 10 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the evening and so on. He have promised me that he will spend couple of hours with me alone on coming Saturday and Sunday as a special case…..hope he fulfils it and I get to make most of it, as the funniest part is, in his one hour slot, he got 5-6 students and each one get to drive 3 kilometres, taking turns, for 25 days. So far I got 2 turns every day and hopefully this weekend get more individual attention and teaching…….Hope this works out as I planned and am keeping my fingers crossed!!!!!