Archive for January, 2015

The humble Indian Railways …

Posted on January 29, 2015. Filed under: Business, Indian Thought |

They are a 161 years old – 16 April 1853. That’s a long time ago!

The trains got toilets after Indian Railways completed about 50 years! Back then, passengers had to wait till the next station to answer the call of nature! Thank Okhil Chandra for making Indian Railways do the needful. He wrote the letter to Indian Railways and finally, there were toilets in 1909!

Back in the old days, elephants were used to position the carriages.

Before Automatic Point System was installed, hundreds of guards lost their hands and fingers trying to fix it manually. Every time a train got delayed and we complained, an Indian Railways employee probably lost his limbs for us.

If the tracks of Indian railways were to be laid out, they would circle the earth almost 1.5 time.

A massively successful organization – running 11,000 trains. Indian Railways transports almost 2.5 crore passengers daily That’s nearly the total population of New Zealand, Australia and Tasmania put together!

The Rail Museum in Delhi is the largest in Asia. It has working and non-working models both.

The Indian Railways website gets close to 12 Lac hits per minute Hourly traffic on is more than annual traffic of some of the most popular websites. It can support almost 5 million threads at one time. But, we’ve got more people than that.

Loco-pilots (train drivers) are paid more than an average software engineer Salaries are the tune of Rs. 1 Lakh per month and more. No loco-pilot has abandoned the train even in the face of certain death.

The longest running train covers a distance of 4273 km between Dibrugarh and Kanyakumari: It’s called the Vivek Express

The longest tunnel in the country is 11.215 kilometers long! It is the Pir Panjal Railway tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir.

A train covers a distance of 528 km without a single stop. It’s Trivandrum – H. Nizamuddin Rajdhani Express.

Lucknow is the busiest junction in the nation: 64 trains come in and move out, every day

The slowest train goes uphill at the speed of 10 kilometers per hour. You can jump off the train, light up a smoke, take a few drags and climb on the train again. It’s the Mettupalayam – Ooty Nilgiri Passenger train.

Most unreliable train in Indian Railways is Guwahati-Trivandrum Express It is late on an average by ten to twelve hours. Gosh!

The shortest distance covered between two successive stations is 3 kilometers It’s between the Nagpur and Ajni station.

The station with the longest name is Venkatanarasimharajuvaripeta. And it’s sometimes spelled with ‘Sri’ prefixed. Quite a mouthful. The station with the smallest name is called ‘IB ’: It’s in Odisha

 The railway station of Navapur is built in two states; half in Maharashtran and half is in Gujarat

Indian Railways has a mascot – Bholu, the Guard Elephant

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Common Expressions ….

Posted on January 25, 2015. Filed under: Searching for Success |

A SHOT OF WHISKEY – In the old west a .45 cartridge for a six-gun cost 12 cents, so did a glass of whiskey. If a cowhand was low on cash he would often give the bartender a cartridge in exchange for a drink. This became known as a “shot” of whiskey.

THE WHOLE NINE YARDS – American fighter planes in WW2 had machine guns that were fed by a belt of cartridges. The average plane held belts that were 27 feet (9 yards) long. If the pilot used up all his ammo he was said to have given it the whole nine yards.

IRON CLAD CONTRACT – This came about from the ironclad ships of the Civil War. It meant something so strong it could not be broken.

PASSING THE BUCK orTHE BUCK STOPS HERE – -Most men in the early west carried a jack knife made by the Buck knife company. When playing poker it as common to place one of these Buck knives in front of the dealer so that everyone knew who he was.

When it was time for a new dealer the deck of cards and the knife were given to the new dealer. If this person didn’t want to deal he would “pass the buck” to the next player. If that player accepted then “the buck stopped there”.

RIFF RAFF – Riverboats carried passengers and freight but they were expensive so most people used rafts. Everything had the right of way over rafts which were considered cheap. The steering oar on the rafts was called a “riff” and this transposed into riff-raff, meaning low class.

COBWEB – The Old English word for “spider” was “cob”.

SHIP STATE ROOMS – Traveling by steamboat was considered the height of comfort. Passenger cabins on the boats were not numbered. Instead they were named after states. To this day cabins on ships are called staterooms.

SLEEP TIGHT -Early beds were made with a wooden frame. Ropes were tied across the frame in a criss-cross pattern. A straw mattress was then put on top of the ropes. – Over time the ropes stretched, causing the bed to sag. The owner would then tighten the ropes to get a better night’s sleep.

HOGWASH – Steamboats carried both people and animals. Since pigs smelled so bad they would be washed before being put on board. The mud and other filth that was washed off were considered useless “hog wash”.

BARRELS OF OIL – For storing the Oil they used water barrels. That is why, to this day, we speak of barrels of oil rather than gallons.

HOT OFF THE PRESS – The expression means to get immediate information.

FALLEN OFF THE WAGON – During the times of Prohibition in the 19th century, men often climbed onto wagons and took an oath they would give up alcohol. Later shortened to ‘on the wagon’.

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1947/48 War – Battle of Zoji La (1 Nov 48) …

Posted on January 9, 2015. Filed under: From a Services Career, Personalities |

Prior to taking over his command in Kashmir, Gen KS Thimayya, DSO, had walked into the then Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Gopi Chand Bhargava”s invite at Jalandhar, where he came across Mr Serbjeet Singh – an adventurer, film maker and painter. Taking an immediate liking, Thimaya invited him to fly with him to Kashmir the very next day.

Mr Serbjeet Singh also accompanied Gen Thimayya on the very first flight to Leh on 24 May 1948, which was piloted by the legendary Baba Mehar Singh, who flew his vintage Dakota without map and accessories and with rudimentary equipment, eventually landing on the make shift ALG on the dry river bed of the Indus River.

Parts of the following documentary were shot on location during the Battle of Zoji La and the liberation of Ladakh by Serbjeet Singh, Fortunately, Karamjit Singh, his son, has retrieved footage from the original film and supplementing it with aerial photography, he has created an authoritative DVD – “THE LIBERATION OF LADAKH”.

There are vintage visuals and voice recordings of Lieut General K M Cariappa, exhorting his Commanders on the battle-field and of course Major General K S Thimayya, DSO, who can be heard through most of it – specially when describing his troops with gems like “this is a supreme vindication of upright manhood.”

Also seen are Lt Gen Shrinagesh, Brig HL Atal and the Stuarts of 7 Cav under Rajinder Singh ‘Sparrow’ who later commanded the First Armored Division in the 1965 War.

Unfortunately Google Maps and modern technology may not have been available then and the quality of the terrain photography is unfortunately not that classy. With modern methods this can be indeed made into a great film. Any volunteers???

Vintage History.

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Lesson for Life …

Posted on January 3, 2015. Filed under: Guide Posts, Light plus Weighty |

 ‘Never save something for a special occasion. Every day in your life is a special occasion’.

The words ‘Someday….’ and ‘ One Day… If it’s worth seeing, listening or doing, I want to see, listen or do it now….

Each day, each hour, each minute, is special. 

Live for today. Tomorrow is promised to no-one.

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2014 in review

Posted on January 1, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,200 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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