Radio Taxis in Delhi

Yesterday, for the first time, I travelled by a radio taxi in Delhi. The journey lasted about 40 minutes. The experience of travelling from South Delhi to Connaught Place (a distance of about 15 kms) was quite pleasurable.

I had to travel in to Connaught Place at short notice therefore had to take a taxi. A friend suggested I take a radio taxi. He gave me the number of Ezee Cabs (Contact Number: 011-43434343). Knowing how things sometimes work in India I kept my expectations really low especially when it came to the booking service and the cost.

The first pleasant surprise was the taxi booking process. The Customer Service Representaitve was quite helpful and the taxi was booked within minutes. She asked me whether I knew about the fare structure and when I said that I did not she explained it to me clearly. I got a confirmation sms on my cell giving me the details of my taxi. Within minutes the driver of my taxi called up to ask for exact directions to my house and confirmed that he would be there in some time.

The taxi arrived 10 minutes before the booking time. Again the driver informed me of his arrival.

The taxi itself, while not luxurious, was clean and well maintained. All these taxis have satellite navigation and GPRS datalinks. The jobs are sent via the GPRS datalink. The meter was very clearly visible and it gave both the current cost of the journey as well as the distance travelled.

The driver was curteous and soft-spoken. He asked me straight away if I wanted the A/C switched on (there is no extra cost for the A/C). He also asked me to confirm that the meter was set to zero. The journey itself was quite pleasant with the driver neither rushing nor taking any risks.

I arrived at my destination a satisfied customer. The fare was what I expected it to be.

The fare structure is very simple: for every 1 km they charge 15 rupees. Waiting costs are extra as are the night charges (applicable after 11pm).

There is a funny twist to this story. The driver did not know the directions to Connaught Place (CP) or how to use the GPS equipment to get the directions since he was new to the job. While this might be a bad thing for  someone new to the city I felt quite pleased with myself when I managed to navigate to CP without making any mistakes after almost 1 year.

On the whole would recommend radio taxis to anyone as well as would pray to God that future experiences remain positive!

Quotes from Journey to the West

Journey to the West is a Chinese classic. It is an epic (fictional) story about how Buddhist teachings were brought to China.

The English Language version (Chinese Foreign Languages Press edition translated by W.J. F. Jenner) is full of amazing quotes. I will be posting my favourite ones here.

Quote 1: Chapter 26

“If you don’t fight, you can’t make friends”

Quote 2: Chapter 31

“If a man has been your teacher for a day, you should treat him as your father for the rest of his life”

Quote 3: Chapter 33

“A tall tree invites the wind; The wind then shakes the tree;

Whoever strives for fame; destroyed by fame is he”

Quote 4: Chapter 44

“In the dust under one’s eyes are three thousand worlds”

Life in a few lines…

The roar of life is in my ear,
The roar becomes a song.

Life is a blur,
The blur becomes a painting.

I go deep within myself,
I become the egg,
I become the shell.

These above few lines were written by me on the 15th of October 2008.

The Great Indian Truth: Ignorance is Bliss

“In 2008, stampedes have killed 360, blasts 156” – A news item on the Times of India website (1 Oct 2008, 0354 hrs IST) (Click here for the article)

Still thinking why we should have to die from a terrorist bomb?

Death has many forms and one cannot control it. Every form of death has a cause.. and more often than not another human is the cause. With respect to terrorism there is just a clearer connection between the hand holding the smoking gun and the bullet which killed the victim…

This terrorism nonsense is highlighted just because it has deep political implications and for some reason people are scared of bombs. This can be used to focus people’s attention and to increase your votebank. It has another handy side-effect: people give up their civil liberties without much of a fight. It makes people easier to control. Entering a PVR theater in Delhi feels like entering a high-security prison.

More people die every year because of smoking cigarettes than bombs. But we don’t see politicians making a universal smoking ban a hot issue. That second hand smoke you are breathing in while partying in a nightclub is more lethal than a bomb.

If one dies of a heart attack sure enough the cause of death can be traced back to things like bad eating habits, smoking and alcohol abuse. All these point the finger at the person’s parents who could not prevent these bad habits from developing within their child. So how different is the above incident (see link) where surely a local politicians as well as civil servants are to blame along with the temple administration and local police authority. What makes them so different from the so called terrorists?

The funny thing is we GAVE these people the power to kill us. We ELECT the politician and the civil administration which then kills us slowly day by day. At least in case of terrorists they were not given power by us, voluntarily.

In the end I think that is what really hits us. Terrorism is like being stripped naked in public where you know you are being looked at by 100 different people.

Whereas failure of civic machinery is more like a hidden camera movie of someone changing clothes taken by people they trust! The person remains blissfully ignorant of the fact that within hours 1000s of people are downloading a video of them changing and life goes on normally till one fine day when they find out what has been happening behind their backs. But by then the excitement is over, ignorance is bliss and the incident is best forgotten.

In case of a terrorist attack we undergo both the incidents described above. We feel naked and exposed when terrorists hit at familiar everyday locations like a market. We get angry. But for some strange reason we don’t get angry at being decieved by the people we trusted to take care of us.

Ignorance is bliss. Life goes on. One day at a time. Till the clock stops ticking.