Showing posts from June, 2012

Farewell, WDS4 locos!

The Central Railway recently condemned 20 WDS4 class of locomotives thereby sounding the death knell for them. The Chittaranjan Locomotive Works completed its first diesel shunting engine in December 1967: a WDS4 locomotive with 650 HP with 48% indigenous content and was commissioned into the Indian Railways network by Mr. C.M. Poonacha, the then Railway Minister on 5th January 1968. 

The demand for separate shunting locomotives was felt to improve haulage in longer trains. At present, there are four classes of WDS4 locomotives namely: WDS4, WDS4A, WDS4B and WDS4D. The WDS4C classes of engines are rebuilt from the previous WDS3 locomotives. In Mumbai, they were initially homed by Western Railway at the Bandra Marshalling Yard in 1979 in Bandra. The most common locomotives of this class are WDS4B and WDS4D which are frequently spotted in and around Bandra. 

Despite many employees from Central Railway requesting not to condemn the WDS4 locomotives, the Central Railway condemned them becau…

Inflationary Heights

It is summer holidays and kids living in a posh building-- "Inflationary Heights" are having great fun. Their parents have filled their pockets with money and the kids now have buying power. There is an ice cream parlour down the street. The parlour sells ice cream to all the children of the area. The man in charge of the parlour is glad for making all the children happy with his different ice cream flavours. There is a steady balance between the joy of selling and buying ice cream. 

This summer, something happened which disturbed this balance. The kids from Inflationary Heights full of notes in their pockets start consuming double the volume of ice cream that they normally do. The parlour man realizes soon enough that the children from Inflationary Heights have a lot of money with them and even if he were to increase prices, they would continue to buy them. He then increases the prices and the demand continues unabated. While the parlour man gets richer by the day, the other…

Movie Review: Page 3

The 2005 Hindi movie "Page 3" by realistic filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar refers to the popular "Page 3" culture which is exploited by tabloids and newspapers alike. For the uninitiated, the Page 3 culture is the name given to the tabloid culture where India's partying upper-class from certain specific Indian cities get featured on the third page of a newspaper, even if it means doing nothing more than attending parties and shows. Through the film, Madhur Bhandarkar tracks the rich and glamorous parties and later moving on to the dark recesses of the glitterati.

The story is narrated through entertainment journalist Madhavi (Konkona Sen Sharma), who is a Page 3 correspondent for "The Nation Today", a leading daily. In parallel leads, we meet Pearl (Sandhya Mridul), an airhostess who has a fiery tongue and Gayatri (Tara Sharma), an upcoming actress. Being a journalist in the party beat, Madhavi is a Page 3 regular and most of the socialites know her by nam…

Movie Review: Ajintha

The 2012 Marathi film "Ajintha" begins with an rivetting recollection of a hunting expedition in 1819 when Captain John Smith accidentally discovers an entrance to the world famous Ajanta (Ajintha) caves, which date back to 200 BC during the Satavahana dynasty. It is following this incident when Robert Gill, a British official from the Madras Presidency is called to recreate the paintings and enlighten the world about Ajintha's rich history and glory. 

Ajintha is a period film set in the 18th century which revolves around the truth of Ajanta and the untold love story between the British officer Robert Gill who fell in love with Paro, a tribal woman from the Bhill community. Paro, the dusky Indian woman belonged to the village of Lenapur which is closest to the world renowned caves. The film goes on to explore the important role the village played to find the essence of Ajanta which later became known for its exotic paintings, impressive architecture and a forgotten histor…

Deccan Queen Turns 83

To old timers and railway chroniclers, the very name "Deccan Queen" brings back to memory a transport revolution that the Queen brought about in the Bombay--Pune sector. The Deccan Queen Express revolutionized rail travel in India cutting down the journey time between the two cities of Bombay and Pune from a whopping 6 hours under steam traction to an amazing 2 hours 45 minutes with electric traction. There had been a Poona Race Train which had been scheduled to do the distance in 3 hours 26 minutes behind steam traction in 1901. This was including three engine changes and one reversal enroute. The 2 hour 45 minutes of the Deccan Queen was therefore revolutionary for a day train providing a regular service, unlike the seasonal race special. 

June 1, 1930 was a red letter for the erstwhile Great Indian Peninsular Railway (the forerunner of the Central Railway) which flagged off the Deccan Queen, India's first superfast deluxe train to run between the commercial capital Bom…