My adventure with unconfirmed ticket

One way flight from Delhi to Patna was costing Rs 20000 for one person for immediate booking and about Rs 5887 if booked two weeks in advance.  Train was costing Rs 1500 to 1800. But it was still out of my budget.

Next day I checked Indian railways site and got 2 tickets booked @Rs 1300 which was reasonable price and within my budget.

My friends and relatives had warned me that saving on tickets might cost me more. But I was adamant. They could spend Rs 5000 just for the sake of convenience and luxury but my pocket didn’t allow steep price.

Everyone has a budget that should be kept in mind before spending money.

We had planned 2 months earlier but couldn’t go due to tragedy in our family. At that time both plane and train tickets were easily available and that too in very good price and confirmed tickets.

But you cannot fight with destiny.

Presently the train was good but tickets were not confirmed. Waiting list for me and my wife was 12 and 13 respectively.

This was 2 weeks back in 4th week of March. We were happy that tickets would be confirmed in any case till our travel date.

We packed our luggage. I was excited.

We had to shift to Patna as I had decided to do business with one of my friend. I was not finding Delhi interesting anymore may be due to traffic jams, long distances, and pollution among other things.

I wanted to settle in a small city and earn reasonably to fulfill our needs and serve society.

My friend was from Delhi and was into business. He had established another shop in Patna as there are more traders in Patna than anywhere else in north and east India and has a very vast potential for earning.

I was not worried about accommodation.

It took several days to decide what to pack and what to leave. We started packing and took couple of days in completing packing. Finally our travel date arrived and we checked all our belongings.

We were surprised to see 5 luggage bags that we had to drag with us in the journey. We had not expected so many bags. We tried to empty some of our belongings but everything was important. It was not a leisure trip. We had to settle in Patna.

My parents also wanted to come with us to the railway station. I said, “Please relax at home. We will manage”. But they didn’t listen.

My wife thought of checking PNR status.PNR status is allotted by Indian railways against tickets booked and gives details of coach, seat numbers and confirmation status among other things.

We had planned to go by Delhi metro but finally decided to take cab as we had to go with parents.

Now time was very short and we had to take calculated moves.

4.00 PM

PNR status was opened. My heartbeat went down and my wife was surprised. Tickets were still not confirmed but waiting was still 2 and 3 respectively. It had never happened that tickets booked earlier were not confirmed even after 2 weeks.

We were frequent travelers and last time waiting list of 17 and 18 was confirmed only after a week.

My father was angry after knowing the ticket status. He simply said, “Why confirmed tickets were not booked”. It was difficult for me to make him understand why confirmed tickets were not booked. We silently listened and kept quiet.

5.30 PM

Cab arrived in 5 minutes at 5.30 PM. We had booked cab keeping in mind train departure time which was scheduled for 8.00 PM.

Cab was small and we were 4 people with 5 luggage bags. Radio cabs are allowed to carry maximum 4 passengers and 2 luggage bags. I decided to go by metro if the cab driver refused to take all of us. I requested the driver to open boot space. Boot space had CNG cylinder but thankfully there was some space. The driver arranged 2 luggage bags in boot space. My wife and my parents sat at the back with 2 bags. I was left with one bag.

I sat in front but could not keep bag. There was no space. I came out and kept the bag. Now I could not sit. Everyone laughed and I was embarrassed.

The driver came and kept the luggage on the floor mat. Then I sat. My leg was between the bag and the gear box. There was no space for another leg. The driver asked me to adjust my piece of leg between the door and the bag. It was adjusted after much efforts and cab finally moved.

After 15 minutes I felt uneasiness in both legs and pain started in thighs. I couldn’t do anything. My left foot was inclined downwards and I couldn’t keep it flat. Right thigh was tilted right towards the gear box and I couldn’t move it. I cursed myself.

It was better to travel by metro.

I could not express my feelings when I saw traffic jam in Google maps. I laughed at my fate and thought of sleeping to ignore leg pain. Half an hour distance stretched to about 45 minutes.


6.15 PM

Finally we reached railway station. We paid Rs 378 to cab driver and reached inside railway station. First task was to get a general ticket so that it could be converted into confirmed ticket by TC (ticket checker).

Ground floor had 3 counters and we stood in queue in one of the lines. 10 minutes later one guy came and informed that general ticket is issued on 1st floor.

We went upstairs. There was neither escalator nor lift. There were 5 queues and we stood in the shortest queue. We approached the window and asked for general ticket. The counter guy said, “This ticket cannot be converted into confirmed one in such a short time.”

We thought of taking risk since we had come all the way from home and there was no point in looking back.

We paid INR 540 and took ticket. We went downstairs, took our luggage and we all four started for platform.

6.45 PM

There was benched on one side and we found seats on one of the bench. We inquired about the train. The train was already there on the platform. We found three tier AC coaches and luckily we were sitting on the bench facing three tier AC coaches. After 5 minutes, I inquired from a local vendor for TC and when gates would be opened.

He said, “Gates will open at 7.00 and TC will come at 7.30.”

We waited for 15 minutes. My wife went to northern railways staff man standing in front of another AC coach and inquired the same thing. He said, “Gates will open at 7.15 and TC will come at 7.45.”

We were feeling uncomfortable as time was running out.

7.15 PM

The gates didn’t open and there was no sign of TC on the platform.

I saw another railway staff man and inquired. He said, “Gates will open soon but TC comes 10 minutes before departure of train.

My father again was angry and shouted at the platform, “I had told you to get confirmed tickets. Now see what’s happening.”

7.30 PM

Gates finally opened and everyone waiting for AC coach went inside. Very few people left on the platform.

We became somewhat nervous as we had 5 bags and it was not easy in10 minutes to get confirmed ticket and board train with 5 bags.

7.50 PM

The TC finally came. We could recognize him by his white shirt and black trouser with a black coat neatly worn on shirt.

We requested the TC for confirmed ticket. He said, “Ticket cannot be confirmed as there is no seat available.”  We again requested. He said, “Please talk to sleeper class TC. He may have seat.”

7.53 PM

We went to sleeper class TC but he had same answer. Now my heartbeat jumped and I became nervous. TC informed us to board sleeper class and contact him at Aligarh station. We could get confirmed ticket either in sleeper or AC coach.

7.56 PM

We were in confusion as it was not sure that we get confirmed ticket at Aligarh and it was 15 hours journey from Delhi to Patna.

7.57 PM

We boarded the sleeper class as we didn’t want to go back after so much had happened. We had not travelled in sleeper class much especially my wife who always travelled in AC coach. There was smell of urinal and people were sitting on the floor between seats on either side of the coach.

We could not bear this. We immediately got all 5 bags out of the coach. Now we were on the platform.

7.58 PM

We discussed if we should board the train or not. We decided not to board the train as it would have been a nightmare travelling for 15 hours without a seat with 5 bags.

8.00 PM

The train started moving and we waited on the platform for the train to go.

8.05 PM

It was a frustrating moment for all of us.

We moved out of the platform and thought of going back by metro. But it was difficult in going till metro gate and moreover we had to change metro to reach our destination.

Finally we decided to take a cab as metro would have cost at least Rs 150 for all four of us. Cab would cost somewhere around Rs 400.

Cab was booked. Cab was again small. Only 3 people could sit inside the cab.

My father shouted at the driver and asked him to open boot space and show him why luggage could not be kept. Boot space had CNG cylinder leaving no space for the luggage.

My father made all of us sit in the cab. I sat in the back seat along with my mother and wife and of course 4 bags.

Father sat in the front with bag on legs. We could fee he was not comfortable. My wife was also not comfortable as 3 bags were kept behind us blocking the rear view. One bag was kept on her legs.

Finally we reached home at 10.00 and paid Rs 438. We all felt relaxed after deboarding the cab.

My friends had been calling me but I didn’t want to answer calls. They would ask, “Where have you reached.”

We had dinner and went to sleep. I was feeling very tired and tried to sleep but it seemed as if sleep had eluded me. I was lost in thoughts.

I should have opted for confirmed ticket even if it was costing Rs 200-300 extra. I had ending up paying approx Rs 1400 extra for general ticket and two way cab.

I kept on thinking about this and not sure when I slept. Soon I started dreaming of looking next available date for confirmed ticket.


Electric flights coming soon

Possibility of operating all flights on electricity is being explored and Norway will become the first county in the world to have all electric flights operating in domestic zone including other Scandinavian countries.

Norway has set Year 2040 as the deadline for all electric flights at least the domestic ones.

Chief executive Dag Falk-Peterson of Avinor, the public operator of Norwegian airports said “we think and wish to make all flights lasting up to 1.5 hours electric so that it becomes a solution and not a problem for the environment”.

This way the cost of operating flights will almost be halved resulting in nose diving of ticket price. People will travel more and will have more fun.

Norway is the largest oil and gas producer in Western Europe but is equally focused on transport sector and is a world leader in electric transport.

Falk-Peterson told the media that use of intermediary technologies, such as bio fuels and hybrid fuel would be a challenge. These challenges need to be addressed for making electric flights successful.

Water Alligator


Have you ever seen aquatic plants that are sprawling grounds for Alligators?

These were spotted at the side of Salado river, a tributary of Paraguay River and is an off the beaten place that provides a hiding place for small Alligators.

These are giant round water lilies spanning over 1.5 meters (approx 5 feet) that was believed to be extinct about 12 years ago and have given a boost to tourism.

These wonderful plants which are a queen of water lilies are native to Paraguay which and appear every third or fourth southern hemisphere summer.

The scientific name of this plant is Victoria Cruziana. These are also called Alligator Lilies because they are large enough to hide small Alligator.

These lilies are very good in tea making as these fight asthma and bronchial issues and hence authorities have issued warnings to fine anyone who tries to harvest this plant.

Faster than sound car-Bloodhound SSC launching

First road test of Bloodhound SSC (supersonic car) is being launched at Newquay airfield in Cornwall, UK. This will be launched after intensive experiment of about 9 years. Experiment started on Oct 28, 2007.

The Bloodhound will be launched on Thursday (26th Oct 2017).

This pencil shaped amazing car will reach a maximum speed of 320 Kmph over 2.7 Km runway. The speed is expected to skyrocket to somewhere 1609 Kmph which will be @4X than the speed of some of the reputed present day racing cars like Porsche, Lamborghini, and Ferrari. Currently these sports cars have speed of 400-500 Kmph.

This project is aimed at setting new record of land speed of 1000 Kmph and also to inspire next generation about science, technology, mathematics and engineering.

The car is 13.4 meters long weighing 7.5 tonnes and has 135,000 horsepower engine powered by EJ200 from a Eurofighter Typhoon.

This car will zoom 0-1609 Kmph in 55 seconds.

Earlier the record was set by Thrust supersonic car having speed @ 1228 Kmph. The test was done by Wing Commander Andy Green in 1997.

Bloodhound will also be tested by Green.


Norway-1st country to become 100% electric powered

Norway will become the first country in the world to be run on electricity and will be known as the first fully electric powered nation.

Electricity outage is very common in India and many other developing countries across the world. It causes difficulties for a common man.

Everything is being automated now a days and electricity is the core foundation or base of this.

But there are some countries where government puts primary focus on energy sector and designs, formulates and implements policies and laws that give priority to electricity.

Electricity is going to be the lifeline of each one of us in the future.

Energi Norge, an industry advisory body in Norway published a 24 points plan for the switch to electricity, including providing free charging for electric cars across the country and tax exemptions for drivers.

A full conversion to electric cars would require considerable effort within the transport industry.

The body suggests that Norway will operate entirely by using clean energy by year 2050.

Hydro power is currently the source of over 96% of the nation’s electricity and there are more than 110,000 electric cars used in the country.

The country’s ministries have recently declared that no vehicle will be run on any fossil fuel after 2025.


Plane-longer than a football field

Microsoft has developed an airplane longer than a football field and has a wingspan of 385 ft. It is named as Stratolaunch.

Yes, this is the world’s largest plane weighing about 1.3 million pounds.

It weighs 500,000 pounds without fuel and it can carry fuel weighing 250,000 pounds.

It has 28 wheels and has six 747 jet engines.

The aircraft is 238 feet from nose to its end and is 50 feet from the ground to the tip of its vertical tail, its highest point.

This plane developed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen unveiled it for launching satellite toting rockets into space. This was unveiled in California’s Mojave Desert on 31st May 2017.

The plane is not developed to carry passengers but to carry and launch rockets into space.

This project was being developed for last 6 years and is expected first launch as early as 2019.

This innovation will reduce cost of launching small vehicles into space.

Adventure journey in the dark

It was night. Time to leave office.

Cabs start moving at 9.15 PM though shift ends at 9.00 PM.

This is the typical life of a BPO employee.

We were 4 people all hailing from Rohini. We asked driver to take route via Delhi Cantonment and Tilak Nagar.

The driver was adamant and suggested that he would take us through Kapashera and Dabri Mode and we would reach home earlier than other days.

We told him that we were not aware about this route but he said”Sirjee you need not worry as I know the route”.

We sat comfortably and waited to reach home.

We generally take Delhi cantonment route where the cab travels through Hari Nagar, Janakpuri District center and finally reach Rohini via outer Ring Road. We generally reach home by 10.30 PM.

The cab crossed Kapashera and we reached road which was clean and very wide resulting in fast movement of traffic. We entered Dwarka and thought we would be hitting Dabri Mode soon and then Janakpuri District Centre.

There was a dead end and the cab slowed down. We all thought cab would turn right. But the driver took left  instead. We told him, “Bhaiya you have taken a wrong turn and should have taken right turn”. But he said he knew the route and was going the right way.

The cab started moving through congested roads and there was very slow movement of traffic due to narrow roads and market.

At one point the cab came to a standstill and remained idle for about 5 minutes. The cab started moving.

Suddenly a two wheeler came from the opposite side and hit our cab from right side. We felt that the cab was hit but the driver did not stop the cab. Another two wheeler coming from the opposite side shouted that the cab has been hit and bumper has come out a bit. The driver stopped the cab after some time where the traffic was thin. He went out and checked the bumper and after 30 seconds came back on his seat.

We were happy!

We all were waiting to say something as the route was very long and we were going through congested roads.

One of my colleagues said, “Bhaiya time and efforts were wasted as you have taken a long route and now your cab has also been damaged. You will have to spend money to get it repaired. You should have listened and have taken the recommended route”.

The driver laughed and said, “Sir Money is not a problem. I was earning Rs 3 lakhs in 20 minutes sometime back and repairing cab is not a problem. You sit comfortably and enjoy the ride”.

I became curious and asked how he earned so much amount in 20 minutes. He told us that we would not be able do it. I asked if he could tell me, I should at least be able to earn Rs 1 Lakh in 20 minutes.

He laughed and said we would not be able to do it.

I insisted if there was any specific reason. He simply said that was illegal work.

I laughed and told him that it could be illegal thing only otherwise it is not possible to earn Rs 3 lakhs in 20 minutes.

He was convinced to speak and said, “Sir I arranged to get license of weapons and hence earned so much amount”.

We were surprised and kept quiet and looked at the driver with suspicion.

Meanwhile the cab moved through isolated narrow road that seemed to be countryside village. There was no light on the street. We informed the driver that he had taken a wrong road but he did not accept it. Finally we hit Sagarpur road and then the driver realized and said, “I had missed one cut earlier and hence taken the long route”.

We had no choice. We simply said, “Bhaiya take your time and drop us at our home”.

The driver continued his conversation. He told us that 1275 cases were registered against him.

We all looked at one another and then at the driver. For few minutes it seemed we were sitting with a criminal.

The driver told us that he could not get be released from the courts in Haryana and finally was released from Chandigarh High court after paying Rs 22 lakhs in one go.

Naturally it was possible for a driver to pay Rs 22 Lakhs when he can earn Rs 3 lakhs in 20 minutes.

The cab finally reached Janakpuri District Centre and we all felt relieved as now it would not take much time to reach Rohini.

I was thinking how this driver could be financially well. You will always find difference between a driver and an owner of a cab in terms of dressing sense, language and attitude among other things.

I realized that the same cab driver had come previous night who was not allowing us to switch on AC of the cab. He insisted that he did not have instructions from his supervisor.  The AC was switched on after about 20 minutes after having discussion with the transport department and the supervisor of the driver.

How could a person who had to ask supervisor to switch on AC had told us about earning such a large amount.

We all were realizing that the cab driver had cooked up the story so that we do not feel bored in this long journey.

But we all enjoyed this trip. Seemed to be an adventure in the dark.

Finally we reached home at about 11.00 PM about 20 minutes later than other days.

I could not sleep for an hour and kept on thinking about the driver.

Had it not been a cooked up story then we would have landed in a difficult situation.

The company should have records of background verification of each person driving the cab so that we all feel safe while reaching home.


Flying Cars

No traffic jams. Imagine travelling in space to reach office. No traffic lights, no jams.

Yes this is possible with flying cars that have become craze.

Just sit in the flying car, start engine and it will take off just like plane. Reach office in 10 minutes, land car on the road, stop engine and park it.

People imagine flying cars with full automation where it can do whatever human mind thinks.

People are also imagining vertical take off and land (VTOL) of car just like planes and fighters that will be VTOL functional in the near future.

Flying cars will save time and fuel. But it may require licensed pilot to fly a car since this forms part of aviation. If control is given to anyone irrespective of the skills required, it may result in accidents and will not be a safe transport.

Let’s hope for the best.


Bermuda Triangle-Mystery in deep Ocean

Bermuda Triangle.

There are many things associated with this. But one thing never escapes our mind which is vanishing of ships and aircrafts once it enters Bermuda Triangle.

This lies in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Scientists believe that this happens due to very strong electromagnetic waves that forces ships and aircraft beneath the sea and pulls it down very deep onto the surface of the ocean. Even signals are lost in this process and hence no strong evidence has come till now even though scientists across globe are doing research on this.

One more thing- Believe it or not. The Bermuda Triangle had been described earlier in Rig Veda & Atharva Veda also.

VTOL-Future planes

Have you heard Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) technology?

This is the future of planes, helicopters and fighter jets that can land and take off vertically. This is just like standing and sitting on a fixed place.

This is especially useful where runways are not very long or where airports and helipads are built in hilly areas like Hong Kong, Bhutan and few other countries. There is very little space in these areas and planes have to hover in the sky for a long time before final take off.

Few planes who successfully tested VTOL include Lockheed Martin F-35B, Elytron 2S and few flights by NASA.

Few benefits include:

  • Can take off and land vertically, as a helicopter would, without any support equipment such as a catapult launch or capture nets
  • High aspect ratio wings result in 24 hour endurance which is unmatched in the industry
  • Longer flights than a helicopter and can land in an either horizontal or vertical flight configuration

This technology has many potential applications that include the following:

Military applications such as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance

Commercial applications where extended mission UAV capabilities are beneficial, including law enforcement, firefighting, crop surveys, pipeline surveys, or oil field management

People with extremely deep pockets will also use this instead of cars and this may become reality somewhere around Year 2030.

Elon Musk, pioneer in technology (that includes Hyperloop) has plans of inventing VTOL electric planes that will use electricity instead of fuel.