Go Air has announced a direct flight from Pune to
Kochi ( ) The flying time being just 2 hrs. Cochin
I was just comparing this with how we used to travel from
Bombay to . The travel time ? Well let me put it this way, we reached the third day. Cochin
Oh yes we used to board the train in the morning around 8 am from
(now Mumbai Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus) Bombay VT
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.
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 signaling 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
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: