No, Ms. Shetty....

Shilpa Shetty's case has left a bad taste in the mouth. Had she stood her ground and returned to India quitting the much talked about London show, she would have turned a national hero and served a larger cause of national pride. Her U-turn after her loud protests against racist remarks has left everyone wondering about pseudo celebrities and the genuineness of celebrity tears on TV.National honour and pride are priceless. They cannot be measured in terms of dollars or pounds. Why do we still get carried away, and overawed, by the West? Why do we still think that white is always right, and better? And why are we still obsessed with getting a foreign tag when we have the best of everything right here in our country?

Yes, reach out by all means, but why be a captive of the outside world?

Colonel R. D. Singh,

Commandant, 213 Transit Camp, Jammu - 180 004.

Railways' ways

The Indian Railways undoubtedly have made progress in some ways. But what remains to be rectified to alleviate the suffering of those who criss-cross the country travelling for a minimum of two days or more at a stretch in a single train is the insipid food served to the passengers. My experience of a journey in a 3-Tier AC Sleeper of the Thiruvananthapuram-New Delhi Kerala Express on December 29 would prove this.

For breakfast, the choice of food available was upma and vada with a tasteless chutney, or bread and omelette. For lunch, very hard poories, rice, sambhar and daal, both with the same taste.

For dinner, it was the same old menu as for lunch, or egg biryani. Of these choices available, the lunch served was the worst, and the other items on offer were of average quality. The menu desperately requires improvement in taste and variety in keeping with the exorbitant rates charged by the Railways.

Besides, as the train was to arrive in New Delhi on December 31 at 1-30 p.m., one had to place the order for lunch the previous night! Because of the tasteless fare served over the past two days, I subsisted only on breakfast and starved thereafter.

Besides, I reached my destination an hour behind schedule, as the train progressively lost time from Itarsi onward, maintaining a constant delay of an hour from Jhansi.

Would the Union Railway Minister please ensure that wholesome and tasty food is made available on all prestigious express trains, and also see that trains run punctually? In France, for example, a refund is made to the passengers whose train arrives behind time, but we Indians are quite tolerant as we maintain IST as "Indian Stretchable Time", and not Indian Standard Time!

Premila Krishnan,

305, DJA Apartments,

Sector 13, Dwarka,

Delhi - 110 075.

What a mess!

It is a shame that we cannot keep our railway tracks and the surroundings clean at least in and around Delhi. Anyone who arrives in the Capital by train is confronted by the ugly sight of people relieving themselves on or near the railway tracks, heaps of garbage and plastics thrown helter-skelter and puddles of sewage water. It is a revolting sight.

A massive clean-up drive should be launched on all the approach tracks in and near Delhi. Let us clear the mess and provide decent toilets to the slum dwellers. This should be constantly monitored and not become a one-day or one-time exercise. It is to be hoped that the Railways, the urban/rural authorities and the ministries of the Delhi Government as well as the Centre take interest in this cleanliness campaign and remove the blot on the face of our Capital as early as possible.

D. B. N. Murthy,

378, Sector 37,Noida.

Munirka calling

Delhi certainly is not in the grip of any terrible power shortage this winter. Yet our locality in Prateek Market at Munirka has been experiencing power cuts of one and a half hours daily since November. The ill-timed power cuts in the morning mess up the busy schedule of officegoers like me.

Ironically, the waning of winter after Lohri has only made things worse. There has been an addition of another two and a half hours of blackout at noon.

If this is the scenario in winter, I shudder to think what it would be in summer.

I request the electricity authorities to take corrective measures at once.

Priyadarsi Dutta,

91/A/IInd Floor,

Sukhbir Sadan,

Prateek Market, Munirka,

New Delhi - 110 067.

Republic show

Cars aligned, bumper-to-bumper, door-handle to rear-view mirror, inching forward in the same rhythm, a left-right-left-right of gears-being-pulled and brakes-being-applied.

Smartly dressed cops wave their hands inelegantly, swiftly directing green-yellow buses from familiar paths into cramped lanes where bewildered passengers are evicted in single files. Smug auto-wallahs circle the roundabouts looking grim, then triumphant as defeated travellers shake their heads and clamber in. On a newly-cleared empty road, one more dress rehearsal begins.

The People of the Republic have a Parade.

Saba Sharma,

A-1, Kaveri Apartments,


New Delhi - 110 019.

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