Thursday, February 12, 2009

Passing the buck...

Our President, the dour faced Pratibha Patil has never been a personal favourite. The last time she was in Mumbai, there were no less than 47 cars in her convoy. Yup. 47. I counted. We pay for them. But that apart, the convoy created the worst traffic snarls ever, and people were not amused. The next time, her minders advised her to take a chopper to the airport - and look what happened! A near miss with a commercial flight.... and a whole lot of buck passing since then. The most startling factoid to emerge from this episode is that there's no helipad at Mumbai airport! Can you believe this? India's busiest commercial hub does not boast of a simple facility like a helipad.... and the President's chopper lands unexpectedly on the airstrip reserved for passenger carrying jets. With an enquiry on in full swing, authorities are busy doing what they do best - covering their own derrieres and blaming everyone else. The Air Chief thundered that his IAF choppers were not at fault. Air traffic controllers insist they had no prior information about those choppers, while unnamed officials are busy creating ridiculous alibis. The point is, if this can happen to VVIPs, toh hamara kya hoga Kaliya?
Next week I am off to Colombo. The last time I was there, a few months ago, there was curfew every night, and bombs exploding every few metres. My daughter who was with me, got so spooked, she refused to leave the hotel . This time, I have another daughter accompanying me, and she is spooked before landing. Colombo happens to be one of my favourite destinations. And nothing will deter me from going there. Who says Mumbai is any safer? But it is the nightmare at Mumbai airport that scares me far more than rebel bombs going off in Sri Lanka. Each time I jump on a flight, it is with a small prayer on my lips. The security measures here are a joke. I met a Swiss lady who'd boarded the flight with her daughter with the wrong boarding cards that nobody had detected ! Yeh hai Mumbai, meri jaan.
Talking of cards, someone called me from Mantralaya yesterday to say, " Madam, last time your name was missing from the voter regstration system. Well, this time your name is there - but husband's is missing!" Wow!! Was I supposed to applaud? Call that progress?

29 comments:

Serendipity said...

On one hand we have cricket matches in all their fanfare, and on the other turmoil and deaths in SL. Such is the sorry state of affairs.

And buck passing seems almost a required qualification of our politicans, everyone's a master at it. Even our (friendly?!!) neighbouring country who'se still trying to find some bakra to pass off the 26/11 blame to. Im disguested. AND HOW.

Serendipity said...

err, disgusted i meant. Typo :)

KimyaShafinaaz said...

Maybe I love Mumbai because I visit on occasion. I dnt live thru the service delivery issues. At the very worse, I have to be concerned about stepping into the foyer of the Marriott drenched from the kiss of monsoon rains - but looking like a drowned cat. So. Just maybe... thats the reason. Sigh.

Bindu Nayar said...

tell me about it :-(

sathish vasudevan said...

certain things happens only in india and donot know how long the word SAFE will be there in our country..

Rahul said...

Look at Israel and stop cribbing...
well if u all are not very happy in India then perhaps sudan, uganda etc are there where u can really get settled eh....why even bangladesh and nigeria is also a good option.....

Umashankar said...

Why don't you call Raj (your "personal favourite") Thackeray and ask him to improve things for you :D?
I saw the Devil's Advocate interview (http://ibnlive.in.com/news/devils-advocate-shobhaa-de-on-mumbai-vs-bombay/76806-3.html)
which everybody is talking about.
And frankly, Shobhaaaaaaa, you stink.

Ruchi said...

ok guys enough is enough

I also saw that interview and did not agree with what she said which is my right and shobhaa has the right to say whatever she thinks.

Remember Fundamental Rights which Constitution gives us "Freedom of speech".

Its not necessary that each of us should agree with what she thinks but abuse is really LS.

Lavinia P. Gomez said...

People use certain expressions without thinking whether it actually means anything. "Enough is enough" is one of them. Shobhaa De uttered those words after the recent Mumbai attack and NDTV immediately picked it up and made it their punchline!
But it doesn't matter. Visitors to this blog hardly bother whether we mean anything at all, don't we :-)?

Ruchi, I agree to your point about freedom of expression.
But tell me: how can Shobhaa De pretend to take such high moral grounds after the Mangalore incident? Raj Thackeray is no different from Muthalik or Narendra Modi.

Balvinder Singh said...

The Presidential choppers rubbing shoulders with a passenger aircraft racing up at a high speed really sends shivers down one's spine. And then there were two more near miss in the air incidents else where which closlely followed this one. I think our air space has also taken the shape of our roads which is becoming overcrowded by the day. My advice, be it rail, road or the air, keep your fingers crossed.

Anirudh induchudan said...

India is becoming a less safe place to live,be it our streets or airports.leave everything even our lives in god"s hand and live.

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Ah seeni sambol and hoppers! Walking along Galle face in weak lemonade sunshine in the monsoon. The best beaches I have ever seen in Trinco. Attentions of a dashing very young Singhalese man in Naval whites. Memories, memories of teen years. So long ago. Aiyooo, I am feeling so middleaged now.

Have fun, but do be careful. Until they find Prabhakarans head somewhere things are still apt to be dangerous.

As for mid air collisions... IAF is never wrong. Not publicly anyway! Heck, we dont spend all this money at NDA and Secundrabad training schools for human error and poor navigation. Do we?

No helipad at Mumbai airport? Thats laughable.

NANDINI said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nandini said...

Well, progress it is for you, & rightfully so...at least you have succeeded as far as getting your name on the list. I probably will have to stay content with filling the forms...cause there has been no response from the authorities till now. Surprise & disappointment will have no place in my dictionary from now on, because I've realized that everything is a game. Elaborating on the security measures taken at the Mumbai airport, let's say, u, I & everyone else share the same story. I find it absolutely ridiculous to whine or complain, it makes me feel stupid. Again, everything is a game. Strangely, in this game, there are no winners & there are no losers. I wonder if there is a consolation prize...

-=A.R.N.=- said...

Two things:
1) I never knew you had a blog
2) I never knew this was your blog

Coming to the topic, you're right about Ms. Patil's popularity among the public.
And I guess this isn't the first time either.

Sidhusaaheb said...

The queen should remain confined to her ivory tower er...Rashtrapati Bhawan...as far as possible, I would say, for the greater good of us, commoners.

NAT said...

Shobha,

We all know that these misfits waste our precious money on running the Country.
Someone should make them understand that it is cruel, a waste to (besides the Carbon Print) spend so much sending the President, or for that matter any other VVIP all over the Country just to open/inaugurate some monuments visit her home town etc. Sure they have some better work to carry out in their own offices, rather than upset the locals daily schedule.
Using a Chopper also cost money.
They should send a representative for these sort of openings and oversee the same through the various visual techniques that are available in the Country.
They would avoid adding so much of misery for the Citizens, who are already upto their zenith with problems. And last but not the least, no security issues and no passing of the buck.
Guess we are all living on providence.
There are a lot of Good people in Mumbai.

Norman

Mahadev Kapuskari said...

Shobhaaji,
I always imagin about the secret of gracefullness and the shining of your personality.It is a god gift and you are very lucky for having this gift.U r really a cheerfull person and your writting is also same like you.GREAT....

secondfiddle said...

Enough is Enough! lol

Oh said...

Pahn Chot!!

Sanket Korgaonkar said...

Ma'am my apologies - for this comment has nothing to do with the existing post. I am writing here - for it is a means to communicate to you - You absolutely have to write an article on 'The Pink Chaddi' campaign.
I think it is time people realize India is changing.

*Aham* said...

eventuality define processes and measures of the world. events define actions in india.. and events of a catastrophic kind. had the president died... how ever unpopular she is... there would be spotlights on the security system for a while...

I wonder do we wish that "small" disasters keep happening in india so that security personnel are on guard????

Anand said...

Hi Shobha, I've listed ur blog link (with a thumbnail of ur blog homepage..yeeahhhh)in my blog as one of the popular blogs people like to visit and read.
Consider this my way of expressing the fact that U r liked by me.
Anand. :-)
http://helllottalinks.blogspot.com/

sydney said...

Have a safe and lovely trip!

also, please consider taking the word verification off. it is a pain, because I have to type the word correctly nearly 4 or 5 times (!) before the system lets me through. I don't know if others are experiencing the same, there must be something faulty with this blogger function.

A_N_Nanda said...

Quote "And frankly, Shobhaaaaaaa, you stink."

Well, Umashankarji, you've to really wait till madam Shobhaa De ji revisits her blog to favour you with a response on your comment.

Nanda
http://ramblingnanda.blogspot.com

phr said...

Madam your article in today's deccan chronicle is very interesting.
Thank you

ankur kakkar said...

nice one maam.... btw, happy valentine's day !!

Soul Searcher said...

I cannot help but disagree. During my travels I have been in touch with Both Srilankan tamils and the Sinhalese.

The general consensus is that things are going to get worse once the army offensive in the North dies down. More suspicion on Tamil civilians, more suicide bombings, more suspicion, more funding from abroad and the vicious circle goes on. I wonder if these will ever end.

The only struggle I remember which came to an end was the Khalistan one. All others seem to carry on endlessly.

To compare the fears one feels while boarding a plane with a struggle that has spanned decades and claimed thousands of lives is not done.

Hope you have a safe trip

Anonymous said...

yeh hai Bombay meri jaaan!

I wish you'd do a little discuss of Mumbai/Bombay, why, what, etc.

I confess to liking Bombay, because while Mumbai is aamchi, Bombay is aapan chi. Yes?