Please don’t get into debates on ‘why call every high speed train a ‘bullet train’’. We love to call (proverbially) every wrestler (or bodybuilder) Dara Singh or Gama Pahalvan – every racer (or someone who walks too fast) Milkha Singh. For a long time, each vegetable ghee brand used to be ‘Dalda’ for us and every noodle ‘Maggi’, every soya nugget brand Nutrela and every fairness cream ‘Fair & Lovely’.
Likewise, every high speed train came to be called a ‘bullet train’ – the English nickname of the high speed Japanese trains Shinkansen – the world pioneers in the category. And it is said so the world over – even if we have seen other high speed rail services in different countries – like French TGV or German ICE or American Amtrak and so on.
I believe calling many names by some ‘name’ is in our genes and is not country specific – a simple principle of brand visibility – that every brand aspires to master.
So, how will a Delhi-Varanasi bullet train change my life?
I am born and brought up in Varanasi and I love my city. I am in Delhi for the last ten years but Varanasi is my priority to settle down.
So what if it is among the most polluted and dirtiest cities in India! So what if you find its roads stuffed with filth in many areas! So what if civic amenities are virtually non-existent!
If we have no reasons to believe in Narendra Modi’s words, we don’t have reasons to doubt his intentions either.
So what if the work to make Varanasi Kyoto, the Japanese temple town and a global standard in maintaining heritage with modernity, is yet to begin!
So what if Varanasi is still the same Varanasi that it was when it had elected Narendra Modi as its parliamentary representative in 2014!
At least his words have flown with all their might and I believe the day will come soon that will bring ‘Achhe Din (good days)’ for Varanasi – and all its residents like me!
Now with a feather in the cap – with this proposed bullet train corridor from Delhi to Kolkata that will take a part of it – the Delhi-Varanasi corridor on priority!
Like ‘bullet’ is used with anything that moves at a very high speed, I believe the Delhi-Varanasi bullet train will graduate me to a fast paced life. It will do so by removing the most pressing problem on my mind – of finding and maintaining a rented accommodation in the megacity Delhi that is getting expensive every passing year – burning a deep hole in your pocket. Add to that the annual 10% raise the house-owners put in the rent-deed. And above all, even complying with all the demands (and whims) of the landlord, you are never sure that your house-lease will be extended next year. When this is the situation of a borrowed life in a rented accommodation, one can easily imagine how expensive it is to buy a house in Delhi.
The Delhi-Varanasi bullet train will solve this life-threatening problem in one go. It will help me to go back to my home town without affecting my livelihood options in Delhi. I will again stay in a big-enough house that is my own – while commuting to Delhi daily. I have a good sized house back in my home town that is many times of my rented, squeezed in apartment in Delhi. And I will be making some very smart and much needed savings. After all, maintaining a good lifestyle in Delhi, and that too in a rented accommodation, leaves you high and dry many times.
The proposed travel time of 2 hours and 40 minutes from Varanasi to Delhi is something that you can easily make your routine every morning and evening. The nightmarish traffic of Delhi and NCR takes around similar time and when the distance is long, like from East Delhi to Gurgaon or Noida to Gurgaon or Ghaziabad to Faridabad, it can easily take around 2 to 3 hours for a one side trip.
So 2 hours and 40 minutes sounds quite good. In fact it can be a good time to have some ‘hours’ of power nap. Being a bullet train, obviously, it will be expensive enough for most people to afford. The Chinese high speed rail experience, with the longest high speed network in the world now, says that most high speed trains run with empty coaches there due to the high fare structure.
I can afford it when I see this in the context of the high cost of living and maintaining a lifestyle in Delhi. I believe a share of that can easily suffice my monthly travel expense by the proposed Delhi-Varanasi bullet train. I firmly believe that the opportunity cost will be favorably tilted in my favour. Then there is always this ‘very real’ probability that this travel time will come down further. The high speed trains have achieved a speed of over 400 km/hour in test runs and Delhi-Varanasi rail corridor is just within 800 kms.
Once I internalize the proposed travel time initially – I need so because my current daily commuting time to my office is around 1 hour and 30 minutes (to and fro) – it is then raining benefits from all the sides.
I will be able to stay in my home city where my family and other relatives are. One doesn’t need to explain how important and mentally healthy it is for you to spend time daily with family – that how important it is to regularly meet your neighbours and relatives. I will get home cooked food daily. I will have weekends full of family and fun time. I am sure the ‘quality of life’ will have ‘very real’ connotations for me then than now.
And above all, I will have company of good vibes – driven by the ‘high and mighty’ promises that Narendra Modi has made for Varanasi. There is always this wait that when Varanasi is going to be next Kyoto for the world – that when will it get dirt and filth free – that when will it become the spiritual capital of the world (and not just India) – and accordingly would get aptly suited civic amenities and infrastructure including a swanky new airport and the proposed Varanasi metro train line that passes through my house – and so on.
Someone has said ‘hope is probably the best thing to happen to a person’ and I thank Narendra Modi to give me another reason to hope for ‘Varanasi’s Achhe Din’.
I thank Narendra Modi for the good time that I will have while waiting for the ‘hopes of Varanasi’s Achhe Din’ and for a life with positive changes.