G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

No use splitting up

Asian Age Aug 15 2007 reports: “Londoners like Delhiites think their bus drivers are rude and blundering.”

In India, since we started administrative reforms we have got many things right (e.g. railway ticket booking) but some big holes remain. Lack of reliable public transport at most urban centres is one of the biggest of them.

I use Pune Municipal Transport’s (PMT) bus service about once in a week and it appalls me to find it as bad as ever. Most of the hardware, other than recently launched expensive BRT, is rickety. Most conductors are rude. Buses often don’t carry destination nameplates. Frequency of service on most routes is inadequate. There is hardly any timetable that is strictly adhered to. During peak hours, senior citizens can hardly reach a bus, let alone climb on it. During morning hours, I see school & college going children of all ages hanging on to bus door and windows perilously.

I feel sad because the neighbourhood Mumbai has had one of the best bus service- called BEST- on the offer for a long time now. Recently, BEST launched its website, one of the most useful and pretty I have seen. Visit it here.

When I was at Chennai from 1981-83, I probably used the best bus service- then called PTC- I have seen any where in the world. Particularly so if we considered the load on it and resources at its disposal. I remember an incident when the conductor of a very crowded bus got down to help an old woman climb on the bus. I couldn’t believe my eyes!

I had gone to Chennai after spending first twenty one years of my life at Miraj. At Miraj, I used bus service to get to my colleges from 1976 to 1981. Conductors on that service were almost cruel. We thought they derived sadistic pleasure by not stopping their bus at our college’s stop. We could never tell when we would get home after the college. It was a torture we could do without in those glory years of India’s socialism.

We used all the tricks like in picture below to get a bus to stop. Alas they almost never worked!


Artist: George Price The New Yorker Jan 11, 1947

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