Saturday, 18 October 2008

Crisis in the Indian Cockpit

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The Indian aviation industry is at the crossroads. The withdrawal of job cuts by Jet Airways may be the proverbial lull before the storm. In India only 3% of the population flies in a year, hence, it is unreasonable to expect any airline to make profit. This figure has been achieved only due to a large number of budget carriers. It is known fact that aviation sector across the globe bleeds irrespective of whether the economy is surrounded by the clouds of bloom or gloom. The madness that prevailed in the aviation sector in India for the past few years was a sure sign of the impending disaster.

Primary Reasons:-
Aviation requires highest level of safety standards because even a minor lapse would mean a disaster. Ever since the twin tower destruction, the numbers of no-fly zones for the airlines industry have increased. Aircrafts are forced to take round about routes to reach the same destination compared to seven years ago. Thus, the operational costs increased manifold.

It is a part of our culture to consider aviation as a luxury because time is hardly money for large chunks of the population. Such being the case, the aviation sector is heavily taxed keeping in view the rules of the socialist circus and only adds to the losses.

ATF has been spiraling for the past 4 years and has showed signs of receding only now. This has lead to frequent revision of fares and pushing potential flyers to the comforts of Railways which has not increased the fares for the past many years.

Aviation experts over-read the urge of Indian population to fly. Indians on a personal travel like to take a train for a distance less than 500 kms. Unfortunately, there has been a plethora of flights on short distance routes and most of them were introduced indiscriminately.

Take the example of Bangalore; HAL Airport was adequately meeting the flying requirements. Such indiscriminate introduction of new routes by the new players leads to its congestion, necessitating the need for a new airport. The new airport came with its own baggage of increased user charges and added to the cost of travel. The new airport being located away from the city only leads to increase of local travel cost. This increased cost only spurned away even the business traveler for short and medium distances.

Secondary Reasons:

The salary boom in the aviation sector has been tremendous. The other day I was listening to Captain Gopinath and he made a valid point, when he started, he could get an efficient pilot at Rs.1 lakh per month, today even at four times the cost it is difficult to find one. New airlines in their eagerness to poach efficient staff indiscriminately increased the salary levels in the aviation industry but fares could not commensurately be increased due to increased competition. In the initial stages, it was easier to manage because of lower fuel prices but with the spiraling prices, the dripping of profits became a bleed to end up as a blood bath.

Certain airlines went berserk in the name of providing additional comfort to the passengers. I don’t find any logic for a personal TV on a three hour flight. These additional facilities could never be charged to the passengers because the moment you do, they will ditch you for the other airline.

Possible Solutions
Soft loans by the Government to the Aviation Industry with a commitment that the subsidized interest will be repaid at cost in the future.
Increase the FDI cap in domestic airlines upto 40%.
Authorize new routes only after an airline provides a complete feasibility report including profit model from second year of the operation. The same procedure has to be applied for purchase of aircraft and staff strength has to be increased in chunks of 5% only after the same is approved by an independent body consisting of aviation experts.
Limiting taxes (both central and state) on air-fare upto 15%.
Reduction in user charges in airports across the country.
Reduction in the number of no fly-zones for airlines.
Last but not the least, implement a social security scheme for all those in high profile jobs wherein in case of lose of jobs, their immediate needs are met atleast for a year. It pains every individual heart to see professionals weeping and protesting on the streets.

Hopefully, the aviation sector in India has learnt its lessons and will be once bitten twice shy the next time boom period comes. All said and done, it does not matter whether business is managed by the corporate sector or the Government, as long as it is not run efficiently and decisions are not made logically, the business is bound to capitulate. It is just not that the PSUs that make losses.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

There is something about the pink color

There is something about the pink color

When a lady wears it she is considered girlie

When a male wears it he is considered metro sexual

When it is painted on the wall it is considered refreshing

When a doctor says “you are in the pink of your health”, you feel elated.

When the same doctor says “you have a pink-eye” it means you have conjunctivitis

Last but not the least you never want to get a pink slip from your employer.

Back to the future

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Today morning I woke up to the alarm from my mobile. It stuck to me two decades ago alarm meant from a huge winding clock. I just thought how meanings of various terms have changed/new ones added. Being a compulsive blogger, I thought of keying down some of them. Here are some of them:

Mobile Phone – would have been considered an oxymoron because lifting the good old ITI phone itself required a lot of muscle.

MP3- A third time Member of the Parliament or a telegram code for 3 MPs coming to a certain place?

Mineral Water – Some sort of hard water or one which is released from Mines or steel factories.

Laptop – as in the phrase “She is his laptop”

Desktop – the top of a Godrej office table.

Pen Drive – Right hand drive or left hand drive can be understood, how do you drive with a pen?

Bluetooth – Yellow tooth is what you get because of improper maintenance of your teeth, Bluetooth is possibly what you get by seeing excessive number of B*** films?

www – one of those lecherous graffiti written in the men’s toilet or near public phones.

Broadband – must be one of those terms used in yellow journals to describe a guy with a **** *****, u know what?

Blog – must be a short form for brain clog. People who are obsessed with blogs like me should be having one.

Prepaid – the only thing prepaid those days was movie, bus and train tickets.

Cookies – the ones you got in a bakery.

Virus – the one which came into your body if you are not careful with your food and other habits.

Directory – a book which contained names and telephone numbers.

IT – Income Tax Department

Presentation – one which you gave in glossy colored papers in weddings and birthdays.

PowerPoint – one which you connected your electrical appliances like Radio, TV or Iron Box to make them work.

Attachment – affection and fondness you had towards people or things.

DTH – Did That Happen?

Spam – Sp(iced H) am , tined meat product made from Ham

Wallpaper – the nondescript design sheets that used to be put up in restaurants.

Screensaver – The screen was meant to save you from the harshness of the weather outside, so this term made no sense

Paint brush – an implement used by the painter to spread the paint across the wall or door.

As in the case of my other blogs, this is a hastily written one without any in-depth research or conviction with the sole intention of increasing my blog counts. A lot of terms have been unnecessarily represented here only to prove my non-existent intelligence.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

The amazing family functions

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Joint family system is a thing of the past and nucleus family is in to stay. The only occasion we get to mingle with our extended family is during family functions like wedding engagements, naming ceremony, house warming, birthdays to name a few. Nowadays they have become public functions like marriages. The simplicity and fun is lost.

Family functions in India begin with deciding the menu and invitee list. Each member of the host family has his own favorite dish which he/she would like to be served. If one person’s dish is rejected, the sensitive ones stop talking to other family members for days but everything falls in place on day of the function. Next important agenda is an invitation. Never go uninvited to the function and most insist for a personal invitation (not being served a personal invitation tantamounts to not being invited). Nowadays invitation by phone, email, SMS is also acceptable.

I for one don’t miss to attend a family function, no matter what animosity I have towards the host. The main reason I go to a family function (apart from food) is you get a chance to interact with your immediate and extended family in this otherwise busy, mundane urban world. Family functions provide a great opportunity to strike marriage alliances. It also provides a window for love to develop new romances and sometimes rekindle old ones. It is the best moment for burying old hatchets and sometimes creating a new one (for reasons as trivial as I was not invited in a proper way, payasam was not served to me, etc, etc).

Family functions provide a platform for displaying your wealth and be snubbed by that odd relative for being too greedy in life. Family functions also help you to update on the latest family gossip (read how bad is the new daughter-in-law of the fifth cousin’s family or how bad are the relations between the husband and wife of a relative). There is always an estranged or busy relative who never comes to any of the functions and becomes a butt of everybody’s jokes who is present in the joke.

Food in a family function is such a delightful stuff. Always there is the discussion how good was the vegetable pulav served in “vijaya aunty” grandsons naming ceremony. In my younger days, I remember food in a family function used to be prepared by the relatives themselves. Often the food would land up half-cooked because nobody is used to cooking in such large quantities. Still it was pleasure to have the food and also to take a dig at all those who were in-charge of the cooking. Nowadays everybody goes for catering. Even dishes have become hi-fi and ice cream with gulab jamoon has become boringly mandatory.

All said and done, family functions are such a pleasure exercise more so in modern times. It gives us to interact and let our hair down with our very own in a light hearted way. There maybe the odd squabbles but that only adds to the fun. We should teach our younger generation the need for attending and organizing such functions or else they may end up seeing cousins on the email attachments and remember their mobile numbers more than the names. Religious customs permitting please organise family functions on weekends or public holidays. It gives an opportunity to everybody to make it to the functions and enjoy the revelry. Never let go an opportunity to attend a family function.
I don’t know if there is concept of a family function in the West, even if it is there, it may not be with the frequency we have in our country. Family functions as organised in our culture are unique and lingers in our memories for long. Feel blessed to attend or organise a family function.

Monday, 13 October 2008

A letter to Dear Colonel from a Dada fan

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Dear Colonel,

You have said that Dada will get his reply and more after the Australia Series for the alleged comments he made about the previous selection committee. Since you are neither a player nor a selector, you could have very well made your comments now itself. If only this team spirit you had displayed during your playing days, Indian dressing rooms which you had featured in would have had a pleasant atmosphere. I understand you have serious objections to Dada’s fielding standards, physical fitness, commitment and even form. I am a great fan of Dada and believe that even in your heydays, you would not have had even 1/10 of the fans Dada has (even after discounting for the media publicity that cricket has these days). We agree that being a retired cricketer it gives you lot of power to indiscriminately criticize anybody however you want. We can understand if such criticism is resorted to by a Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Mohinder Amarnath and Ravi Shastri. These people were either talented or used their potentials to the maximum. However they are far more discrete in their comments, proving right the good old adage “Filled pots seldom make noise”

Sir, I would like to know from you the following details:-
a. Is it true you took a lot of test matches to score your first century and very few have a clue how you managed to survive without any notable performances?
b. A batting average of 40 separates the men from the boys. Is it true that you could achieve it only in the later part of your career?
c. What were the reasons for you opting out of the 1989 Pakistan Tour? I remember to have read some reports at that time that you were worried about facing Imran, Wasim and Waqar, kindly clarify if I am wrong.
d. You played nearly for 17 years, in how many consecutive years you achieved an average of 40 and above?
e. Dada has groomed quite a few cricketers in his playing time and they will serve Indian cricket for some time to come. How many did you groom during your playing days?
f. Is it true that during your playing days, leave alone the opposition, not even your team members could get along with you? If
I remember correctly during the 1987 SL series, you had publicly expressed your displeasure for Kapil Dev being given a man of the match though you had scored a century, please clarify if otherwise?

Sir, we know your fielding abilities was more the case of ball catching your hand rather than otherwise. We also remember very well how meekly you stood when the Australians were sledging you during the 1991 series. Sir, Ganguly has done the country proud in every year of his playing and in all the aspects of the game. As a captain, he has given us the gumption to fight and taught us to fight fire with fire. Many a players have benefited from his guidance and inspired leadership. Sir, just turn back the pages of history on the day when you decide to give Dada more than what he asked for?


An Indian Cricket Fan

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Banglaore, Karnataka, India