Showing posts from September, 2010

Exploring the controversial freight ghat! (Part-1)

Since my relocation to Kerala in June 2009, my railfanning outings have been on an all time low. The number of dedicated trips too has hit the rock. The only recent one has been to the Punalur Metre Gauge line (read it here). After long 4-and-a-half months of hibernation (as in not railfanning), I was heading out for another one. This one was a long pending dream - a strenuous ghat section, where trains proceed up and down with utmost caution, and a line that was in at the eye of a controversy.

Some of you would have guessed it right. For the uninitiated, the talk is about the controversial ghat section between Sakleshpur and Subrahmanya Road. This ghats lie on the Hassan-Mangalore Railway Line. The ghat is being referred to as "controversial" since this ghat section has been cleared for operations with a lot of conditions - including a moratorium on operation of Freight trains when a passenger carrying train is operation along the ghat. The railways earn their bread from th…

Kerala's Road Habits: An Analysis (Part-1)

I have been driving since August 2004 - I am one who learned driving exactly after I turned 18, and took a licence 40 days after my birthday. Its been 6 years of driving now, and during this period I have driven in Maharashtra, a brief stretch in Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

I have been driving daily through a typical Kerala-style highway since January this year - a distance of about 66 kms daily. I believe these 8 months were enough for me to make a conclusion on driving habits. Keralites are among the most educated lot, and people here (am too a keralite) have a special sense of driving. Here are some brief notes on the most common habits I've noticed over the past few months of driving here: (The post does not intent to harm anyone. BUT, it certainly is intended to tease your wrongdoings.)

Habit #1: Dog in the Manger:
Most of us would be familiar with the dog and the cow story. There is one habit commonly seen among drivers in Kerala, which is awfully similar to t…

Do we really need Hartals?

Do we really need to "celebrate" hartals every now and then? It would be ideal to say Kerala celebrates four 'major' festivals each year: Vishu, Onam, Christmas and Hartal. The 'hartal' festival recurs more than once each year, and happens at short notice. I lost count of how many times has a Hartal occured in 2010 alone. In addition to the state wide hartals, we also have local hartals - district wise, taluk wise, village wise, etc.

Why did we celebrate a Hartal today? It was announced that it would be an All India Strike to protest some "policies" of the Central Government, and was spearheaded by a trade union supported by the central government - Why should the government protest against itself? The strike was supported by trade unions irrespective of their political affiliations, from left to centre to right, red to orange to green.

Like very 'All India' strike, Kerala celebrated this one too as a dawn-to-dusk hartal. The All India strike…