Thursday, September 16, 2010

Traveling time


Go Air has announced a direct flight from Pune to Kochi (Cochin) The flying time being just 2 hrs.
I was just comparing this with how we used to travel from Bombay to Cochin. The travel time ? Well let me put it this way, we reached the third day.
Oh yes we used to board the train in the morning around 8 am from Bombay VT (now Mumbai Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus)
This train runs with an electric engine upto Poona (now Pune) The ride upto Pune was real fun, passing through the Sahyadiri ghats, passing through 22 tunnels hauled up by 2 engines from Khandala to Pune. When we pass Pune we could see rows and rows of cycle parked outside Shivajinagar station. It was a feast for the eyes as we never did see so many cycles together. In those days Pune was known as the city of cycles. From there onwards it was the steam engine which hauled us through 4 states, almost touching the east coast of the country.
India Agra 9th June
It had a halt of 6 hrs at Arkonam station. Passengers used to go out have a bath, have lunch, venture out to see a MGR+Amma movie, and be back to continue the onward journey.

The hazard of trying to look out from the window was another thing. You had to do it at the risk of small specks of hot coal going in your eyes.

But you get to learn many things along the way, like how the signaling system used to work in those days. They had those huge ring shaped hoop, something like the shape of a huge tennis racket (with no guts) in which the key was enclosed in a pouch near the handle. When the train passed a station where it did not have to stop, this hoop was held by the signal man at arms distance at the station, which was scooped up by the train driver or fireman with his extended hand which was held at 90 degrees bend at the elbow.(Its done vice versa when the driver had to pass it on to the station) In UK they had a gadget fixed on the ground to take the loop.
This key was delivered at the next station by which the signal was opened for the next following train.  

A simple system, and once you understood it, you will realise how completely fool proof it was. Maybe that explains how there were hardly any accidents in those days compared to the present electronic signalling system.
It was also interesting to observe the shunting and the precision with which they attached one bogey to another.

As the states changed, the languages changed and so did the food. But we did get good hot food from the passing stations. Once the train passed Ottapalam you know you have reached Kerala just by the greenery and the fresh air.
Now the same traveling time will be cut down to just 2 hrs by the announcement by the airlines. Incidentally Go Air is owned by Jehangir Wadia, the great-grandson of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founding father of Pakistan

Talking of airlines,  I saw a news item in yesterday’s paper about the new look that they are planning to give the Indigo air hostess. They will sport a chic blue tunic, a stylish cap and a special hair cut. Those who don’t want to cut their hair can wear a wig, it says. 
The things they have to do to keep up with the competition.
Talking of competition, here is something on upmanship in advertisement:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

And we flew away

I am the youngest of the three chicks and I think I better wind up this long story, as some of you may be getting bored with this story of the birds.
The eldest one flew away 4 days ago. I don’t know exactly what happened but she was suddenly found out of the nest. She hopped on to the pudina (mint) pot 

and from there on to the bamboo fence and then flew into the tree nearby. 

(Mrs H clicked the above two pictures) So mama had a double job of feeding us as well as the one in the tree.

Mama is a stickler for keeping the nest clean and when ever she does that, one of us chicks has to step out. So there I stand outside while mama does the house keeping.

Mama is so busy with the cleaning that papa flies in to feed me. Now that is what I call a family photo, well almost, with all four of us in the frame (except for the eldest one who flew away)

After the feeding session papa flew away. But before mama flies away, she just hangs around to see that I am safely back in the nest. 

In one of the cleaning sessions, the middle one decided to stretch her wings and just flew out.
That is me and papa looking at that daring act by my middle sister.

She had a safe landing next to Mr H (by which he could click these two shots) After ambling around on the terrace for some time she hopped on to this wooden chair and from there on to the railing.

The tree close by must have been very inviting for her as she too flew into it. Mama and Papa were very concerned and followed her. There were a few crows around and  mama & papa had a tough time chasing them away.
That is them taking a respite and making sure that the coast is clear of those pesky crows.

Now it is only me and I am kind of feeling lonely and sad.

Don’t I look like the boy who is punished in the class room and made to stand in the corner.

Enough of hanging around the nest. I think I too will take that flight to freedom.
So I follow the same pattern that I saw earlier this morning. I too land safely on the terrace. 
Aha so that is the kitchen.

I try and try and finally hop into the kitchen. 
Does that picture make me look angry? Maybe I am giving Shantabai (the maid) a mouthful. “Shantabai, this is the first time I am coming to your kitchen and you have not made anything special for me?” 

Just joking. Actually she too is one of the household members who used to keep a keen watch on our progress.
But my entry into the kitchen had mama and papa in a panic. They too entered. Here you can see me on the floor and mama sitting on the meal safe. 

Papa got in and was stuck at the window and did not know how to get out.  

Finally I hoped out and so did mama. But papa was really stuck (finally Mr H had to slowly slide open the glass window so that he could fly out) 

Miss Pigeon sitting on her pedestal outside was all perplexed by the confusion that was going on.

I sat in a corner for some time where mama used to come and feed me from time to time.

Hopped on to the big slippers and rested there. 

Walked under the big wooden chairs (does all this remind you of the movie “Honey I shrunk the kids”) 

Is it a bad bad  world out there ? 

But that is life. One can’t always be under the care of the parents for ever.
So that is the last you see of me as I too am going to join my sisters in that tree. Maybe mama will feed us for some more days till our body is fully formed and then we are on our own.
Who knows I may come back here one day to make my own nest !!

But before I go I would like you to see that picture which was termed as yuck by my elder sister in the second episode of this story. (as both of them are not around I can show it to you, and yes that is me in the shell, still to be hatched)

For those of you who have missed the earlier two episodes, they are:
Episode one :   Choti Chidiya
Episode two :   The Eggs have hatched