Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Trip away from Diwali Dhamaka

Life in Mumbai can be so hetic and tiring, so we decided to break away from the Diwali Dhamaka ( fireworks ) in our huge apartment complex.  We started early morning towards Alibaug with halt at Pen.  We reached Alibaug by noon, we booked a room on the seashore.  We could over the Alibaug fort, but could not make it to the Fort since the Tide was set to rise.  Next day we decided to proceed towards Murud Zanjira through Revas Danda.

We were enjoying a refreshing drive from Alibaug towards Murud Zanjira, the fort located in midst of the Arabian sea. Just a few kilometers, of before murud some archeological board was sighted at a distance. Well it was all barbed and fenced, we had to park our maruti 800  inside the muddy road, lest it gets stolen from the main road. We breached the barbed wire fence and started climbing a winding stairs for so called " mysterious caves " The caves were so well preserved that ASI is obviously doing some restoration work, because of destruction of natural forces, like rain and sunshine, etc. But vandalism has definitely taken place because, lot of statues are mutiliated and plundered.
These caves maybe contemporary to Ajanta, Ellora caves because of the crude nature of sculpture. We were enamoured but still a sense of insecurity was prevailing just imagine such a huge area and not a single soul except us. We quickly had a tour and took some snaps and returned to base enroute to Murud. Enroute one more spot belonging to Nawabs we discovered but entry is prohibited to the palace.

We stood on the hillock and took lovely photos, along with horses for the courses. Later i wanted to trace the history of the caves which was not available. Then with small clues from ASI, which has listed number of caves in Maharastra the trail began, i managed to connect to Gazette and from there on to independent research and finally I discovered the name as KUDA caves, may be these magnificient set of caves NO 26 nos will be thrown open to public.

 It dates back to ASHOKA period as per the reasearcher, being close to the port of RAJAPURI and CHAUL one has to see it as an exclusive tribute to adventure. Trekkers keep this spot on your radar you will carry memories lasting for ever for its discovery. I did explore in 2001 after 9/11.
This was one of the discovery of sorts of  in Nov 2001.  A trip we relished for the sheer adventure and added to the discovery trial.  We were privileged to be one of the early birds after ASI team had identified this spot as heritage area.  I would rate this as one of the best road trips undertaken so far.  If  we had a Mahindra 500 SUV, than probably we would have been re-assured regarding the safety of vehicle.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Paper Less Economy

The government of  India has taken a lot of initiative to cut down the usage of paper. The biggest effort to cut the usage of paper was undertaken by IRCTC for internet ticket booking.  Almost 5 lakh A4 size papers were used daily for taking print out.  Now with a declaration that SMS is valid for ticketing is a boon for travellers as well an eco friendly feature in the right direction.  The department of company affairs has mandated that hard copy of annual reports need not be published and circulated to shareholders instead soft copies can be shared. There is no need of hold share certificates in physical form which is under Demat, which has also lead to greater savings.

I feel the day is not far off when we get into the habit of reading newspaper on the net or viewing news on TV channels.  Further maybe even reading novels in PDF forms.  If this logical step is taken forward how long will it take school text books, research papers, examination etc are conducted online.  This would ensure that tonnes and tonnes of paper being saved along with the need for storage.  This will eliminate the need to slaughter trees, reduce chemicals in form of ink production and save storage space for the same.

The most essential credentials such as school marks card, degree certificates, property documents, recognition & awards etc which are vital needs to have hard copy, so that manipulation can be avoided.  The only flip side of these moves is that legally there can be manipulation when it comes to evidence production.  The present system of preserving the evidence in hard copy format helps in court matters.  However finger printing and retina technology will ensure that fake signatures are not incorporated.

Cash less economy too will help in bringing down crime rates.  The introduction of  internet transfer of funds, cellphone transfers and wire transfer of funds helps in reducing paper less transaction.  This will eliminate fake currency under circulation and eliminate crimes in the form of mugging to an extent.

I hope the day is not far when we are able to use less and less of  paper which will help in reducing deforestation.  This will in turn ensure that rainfall does not get disturbed due reduced green cover.  It will help us maintain the balance in flora and fauna too.  Overall moving toward paper less economy should be endeavour at each and every level of enterprise.  Only the accountants will have an issue in accounting I presume.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Startle Rattle and Battle

My aunt arrived in Mumbai en route to Paris to attend my sister's childbirth in 2001.  We discussed about various relatives and exchanged information regarding their status and whereabouts.  After a sumptuous dinner we hit the sack hoping to get up next morning and go for some shopping and sight seeing in Mumbai.  Alas our sleep was broken by a telephonic ring tone.  My aunt received the bad news that her son-in-law was no more.

Aunt was in agony that by hook or crook she wanted to be at her daughters side to pacify her.  She had lost her husband in a tragic railway accident while travelling to coastal Andhra at night.  He was trying to board a moving train and was caught between the platform and train gap.  He was killed in this tragic circumstances.  The cops had identified his body with the help of the identity card in his wallet.  They requested the family member to come over and collect the body.

Meanwhile we ran out of option to send my aunt quickly to Chennai.  The midnight air India flight was a blessing in disguise.  When we reached the airport the plane was still 3 hours from take off.  The Air India counter clerk was rude and asked us to come after half an hour, despite explaining the tragic circumstances.  We waited outside consoling our Aunt.  After half an hour we again approached the counter clerk, he asked us to wait some more time.

This infuriated me and I uttered they want to make money out of the tragedy also.  This got the clerk's attention and he was furious.  He thought i was accusing him of  trying to make money by expecting bribe.  I was worried whether the fares would be hiked up.  Than I clarified that he was trying to make money for the airline concerned.  He was kind enough to explain that this is unlike private airlines.  The midnight flights are heavily discounted.  At last the misunderstanding was sorted out.  He issued a flight ticket for Rs 2200 which was much lesser than Rs 3600 which is the normal fare.  We paid for the ticket through credit card and ensured that my aunt boarded the flight at 3 am.  She was thankful that we sponsored her ticket to Chennai in the hour of crisis.  We got of the clutch of being targeted by the airline official for accusing them of making money.  Thus quick witted think got me out of a sticky situation.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Where is the Party Tonight ?

I remember in early 1980's New Parties was full of fun with booze and dance flowing freely among the youths. The crowd which used to gather in and around the pubs in Brigade and M.G. Road was limited and manageable  We used to park our vehicles discreetly, so that we can get away quickly get back home after the new year countdown is over and greeting the friends is over.  Hotel Imperial used to be famous for parties with their famous Kebbabs.  Booze was never officially served over there, we are supposed to bring in our own bottle and serve ourselves.

Cops used to enjoy the revellers antics and celebrations.  It was never a crime to booze and ride or drive.  But one of the new year we had a tragic news that our common friend passed away in a bike accident, after that at least i decided that i will never drink and venture out in general.  All the New Year celebrations either used to before on 30th instant and used to encourage others too be along with their family members on New Year Eve.

The situation had changed so drastically in Bangalore that the crowd swell at Brigade and M.G.Road was tremendous, i happened to out in 2008, and to my surprise i found all the roads leading to bridges were closed by the cops.  It was the fear that 2 wheeler riders might have an accident on the flyovers which are mostly curvy in design.  Further the cops have started fining heavily if anybody is caught drinking and driving.  It is not worth paying the fines and getting humiliated on a new year day.  Some of the pubs and bars have drop arrangements too on paying the price to overcome this factor.

Timings for the bars have been relaxed this year upto 1 AM, which is a good sign.  Even the metro trains are supposed to up and running upto 1 AM.  In Mumbai too the bars will be open upto 5 am officially, and by that time the local train is ready to drop one to their sub urban home.  We never used to feel the pinch of partying in Mumbai particularly with the fantastic sub-urban train service linked with auto facility at the station.

Hopefully Bangalore will witness better celebration this year.  The weather too seems to be chilled out due to cyclonic effect on the Bay of  Bengal. Guys have a blast during this new year whether at home or outside.

Wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Flying Straight

The common sense approach to my earlier post in resolving the crisis faced by various airlines after a systematic study are presented herein below :

Scenario 1 :  If the International airline had code sharing arrangement with Air India which was scheduled to depart in another 2 hours time, they would have saved the accommodation cost and reduced the inconvenience caused to the passenger.

Scenario 2 :  The airline concerned could have charged the difference in the fare which amounts to 37 k and accommodated the passenger since he was using their own flight.

Scenario 3 :  It is very to replicate this type of gesture unless the executives are trained to spot the crisis.

Scenario 4 :  Almost all passengers could have been accommodated in the four flights which took off on that day.  All the flights had 30 to 40% booking even assuming 8 flights were cancelled, if there was co-ordination among airlines all passengers would have flown without cancellation.  Majority of the passengers cancelled their flight because the rates charged were exorbitant.

Scenario 5 : Atleast accommodation could have been provided by the airline for the passenger who had to return to their hotel for overbooking.

Scenario 6 :  When airlines are unable to find customers or manage their schedules by code sharing some private enterprises would take charge of their business and messing it up further.

Scenario 7  :  If this airliner can cancel one flight and club two flight passengers they have saved valuable fuel and reduced their losses by 50%. The same logic can be carried forward in code sharing arrangements.

Scenario 8 :  The concerned airliner could have charged the difference and offered the customer the benefit of frequent flyer.  The regular tariff for this route is 25 k and the difference amounts to 13 k.

Scenario 9 :  Travel portal needs to pass on the benefit of no fees for postponement of ticket to frequent flyers

Scenario 10 :  Clarity on ticket pricing should be prevalent.  Dynamic pricing when there is demand amounts to black marketing which should be avoided.  Cancellation and postponement policy should be clearly mentioned on the ticket.

Considering the facts that airline industry is undergoing serious demand crisis, it is time for introspection of their policies.  Pricing of the tickets is the primary issue :

Basic cost without over heads :     Rs 2000/            60 days plus in advance      15%     30 seats

Costing with overheads covered:   Rs 2500/           30 days plus in advance       15%     30 seats

Cost plus profits                           Rs 3000/-          15 > 30 days plus                30%     60 seats

Premium Profits                           Rs 4000/-           Less than 15 days                40%     80 seats

An average realisation of              Rs 3175              100% occupancy

Cancellation charges                                              10% to 25% of the ticket value
Postponement                                                        No levy or 2% or difference in fare.

Well another scenario in case of  low demand equivalent to only 15 to 25% occupancy.  Than it is ideal to club the flights or use code sharing with other airlines.  This would result in grounding of 3 aircrafts and effectively only one airline will be flying turn by turn.  This would mean that losses for all the airline are cut, and it provides an opportunity for maintainence and upgrading skills of pilots.  It will cut fuel consumption by 3/4th which in turn will put pressure on the demand for crude.  Lesser the demand the crude prices are bound to plummet.  The pollution in the air will also be reduced considerably.

All the head honchos of the airline industry need to ponder over how they are going to manage their affairs during recessionery trend.  During boom times no one will be bothered to look into costing and code sharing.  Rather it would be a situation of managing over bookings.  When the flight is being over booked like in railways, it should be known that the passenger is aware in advance that he is booking against RAC.  Who knows safety norms permitting, We may find takers who are willing to stand and fly too for short distance Lolz.