Musings by Shekhar Nambiar
On a rush to the lavatory in a plane of a leading carrier recently, I found it amusing to see a flight stewardess busily emptying coffee and tea leftovers in cups into the sink. Nothing wrong with it except she had the door open, keeping the lavatory engaged light on ‘green’ that led to a long queue, and yes, it was a bottleneck up in the sky at 34,000 feet!
Now, we are used to bottlenecks on earth, aren’t we? A phenomenon observable these days is bottlenecks everywhere.
Also read: Pitfalls of flying
Nowhere else is it more apparent than on the roads. Travel to offices every morning and there’s ever-present traffic snarls.
It is the National Road Safety Week.
In the rush to get somewhere or the other there’s the ever-rising risk of road mishaps, not least due to speeding, rash driving or even lack of proper vision, the latter least paid attention to.
Some states have more accidents than others, attributable to bad roads, ill-lit streets and broken bridges, among them.
Also read: Winter idiosyncrasies
There are pile-ups even as you emerge from your house to the so-called elevated freeways and toll roads. It’s the same when you’re homeward bound.
The run to the school takes double the time now than a few years ago, so much so the child brings home warnings from school for reporting late every other day.
That is the story of our times.
India is on an overdrive with a massive infrastructure build-up of roads and highways. Full credit for that as we enter a new era of highly developed and modernised road infrastructure. There’s scarcely a place where new roads are not being laid: Gurgaon to Delhi and beyond, Delhi-Mumbai and elsewhere. What’s more these are being done at an accelerated pace. New rail lines and faster connectivity with more efficient trains are coming up everywhere.
Also read: Celebrating Muziris & Kochi
What I fail to understand are the bottlenecks. The bottlenecks are inexplicable. Traffic bottlenecks, the mad rush and scramble at airports have all been difficult to fathom. It is as if there’s not going to be a tomorrow.
The new roads and rail lines are all a happy augury for augmenting the transport infrastructure and help lead to increased safety and fewer rail and road mishaps.
Where to now?
There’s a surge in air travel it looks like. It is quite evident from the mad rush – frenetic at most times – at airports. If media reports are to be believed there’s an increase in domestic tourist traffic.
Reports and social media posts indicate that the surge is due partly, or fully if you will, to the dip in Covid-19 cases across the world. People everywhere are eager to get somewhere.
Also read: Winner takes it all
A perceptible change I have noticed now is the comparable ease with which you can walk into grocery stores. Even at pharmacies where once there was quite a bit of wait to buy your household medicine supplies, it is relatively easy to do business nowadays.
This is a spin-off from Covid-19, what with the spurt in online shopping, b2c or whatever, be it for your daily vegetable purchases, grocery needs, or for medicines.
Everything else is just as during pre-Covid days, if anything things are getting busier or worse by the day.
All good for the economy I suppose, even indicating a rise in the growth rate, economic boom et al.
Travel if you must
Back in the past, at the risk of sounding conservative and inward looking, we grew up with the notion that unnecessary travel needed to be avoided.
For the moment, though, travel if you must is certainly no and by extension, venture out only if you must is also a no-no.
Also read: Airports for tomorrow’s aviation