Monday, August 8, 2016

indian railways - exchanging confirmed berths - things to take note...

This happened recently.

My mother and I were travelling to Bangalore from Calicut. She had a confirmed berth - but it was in the middle. At the time of reservation, I had no choice; there were no lower berths available. So out of the urgency of that travel I had to accept what the system auto-allocated. I did what any other Indian would with other passengers for a lower berth so that she could sleep comfortably.

Fortunately, there was a group of women travelling along with their kids. They had their seats reserved in the same coach, but different, but adjacent compartments. When I requested they casually obliged. And the exchange happened peacefully. I made sure I exchanged with a party that was going to drop off in Bangalore. And they had confirmed tickets. I never bothered to check their tickets however.

But later, after probably Shornur station, the berths we (my mother and I) were occupying got allocated to another party (who were in RAC status). When the ticket-checker came and allocated, he did ask about the seats and my ticket. When he understood that I had a confirmed ticket, he asserted in the most callous way: I have allocated the berths...all of you please co-operate among yourselves and see that you are berthed. He never made an attempt to find out if the berths were claimed. According to him, he has diligently marked those berths as 'not allotted'. It was nearing Palakkad. The station where the ticket-checkers usually interchange as their shift comes to an end.

The people who were alloted the berths were students. I explained them the issue. I was sure that the checker made some mistake. Even they were sort of convinced. But we couldn't find the checker anywhere. He disappeared. Even those three didn't make an effort to find the ticket-checker. Finaly we agreed we'll clear it with the next checker.

And the time came, with a little trouble waking everyone up, we presented the tickets. Thats when I understood the problem. The lady who I had exchanged with presented her tickets. They were two tickets. But they were stapled together. So when she presented it, it looked as if she had presented only one ticket.

That diligent (b*****d) of a ticket-checker (who was in the previous shift) only marked the berths in the first ticket. He marked the ones in the other compartment (the one which I occupied, and which were in the second ticket) as not allotted. And he, obviously not guilty of the previous crime, further went and allotted them to three RAC passengers.

Well, the now on-duty checker thankfully realized this problem. And he gave consideration to the family and told the three students to kindly adjust. Luckily those three, only asked for one seat so they could adjust and travel. He also gave the story of how someone from S8 coach, without getting his ticket checked, went to join his family in a different coach, and finally got his berth marked as not-allotted. Thus problems ensued. I don't know how they resolved it.

Such screw ups happen inside of trains. I only pray the ticket checkers are more considerate...Hope this story has given you an idea of things to put in your checklist before exchanging berths.

Now what if you don't have a physical copy of a ticket? What if the ticket was just an sms? How will you ensure that the ticket was checked by the checker?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

the star killer base

While watching Star Wars the Force Awakens, it looked like I was the only one who was left curious about the Star Killer base. And, dear lord, I was...

Watching a lot of these scifi movies lately it just gave me the impulse to get curious about it.

It sucks up the whole star, yet people walk on it like people walk on earth (with normal gravity).

Okay, according to present astronomy knowledge, what do we know that can practically suck up a star. A black hole - a body of immense density that is capable of sucking light too.

If you are a space documentary fan boy like me, you'd also probably have imagined accretion discs, and gamma ray bursts.

People over at scifi stackexchange have some pretty convincing answers touch.

If you are fascinated with providing theoretical answers, fascinate me too.

Au revoir.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

ARP date calculator - indian railways - irctc - train reservation


Advanced Reservation Period...

Something indian railways use so that their reservation system knows what is the maximum future date a person can reserve his ticket for...

As of now its 60 days from the current date...

I have made a small jsfiddle page to help you track this...

Hope this enriches your indian railways journeying and ticket reservation experience...

Disclaimer: I and/or the above app to which I've linked to is in no way affiliated with indian railways. I am just a frustrated passenger like you...

Monday, June 2, 2014

a pic is now worth 140+ words...

Well, most people hate twitter for its crazy 140 word limit...

Actually there are many. It definitely not another service like tweetlonger or similar.

All you need is an image editing software which can write text on images. For best experience, start with a blank template, and just write some text on it using your favourite image editing tool. On windows, even MS Paint will do. I've found one for my android device.

Quoting this tweet as reference.

Happy browsing, tweeting...


Although you can post more than 140 characters in an image, you still are limited to an upper bound. I don't know what that is, but hopefully someone will discover that one day. As for an experience POV, people who are used to 140 characters might welcome this. However, if you hated twitter in the first place, I guess you can hate it a little relatively lesser now. I am not telling those folks to like the service, at least, like the fact, that I am writing this blog to let you know of such hidden features!

Meanwhile, here is an infographic which talks about sizes and dimensions for images that can be used on twitter:

( Source: )

Sunday, September 29, 2013

life of pi

Weirdest dream ever!

Standing at the back of my house looking to the direction of the beach (you can't actually see the beach), I noticed the clouds above looked pretty gray. There was enough daylight to make the whole scene look gloomy.

All of a sudden a sprout of water in the air. It wasn't a continuous stream; it was as if someone tossed a huge glass of water into the air. And it was at a great distance. It was not a tsunami either.

Then all I can remember is ending up in the middle of a vast ocean, all alone. There was no tiger. I deduced this fact since I wasn't actually floating on a boat. I really don't know what I was floating on...

And then I woke up from my sleep. The movie Life of Pi was better a movie; its frightening to imagine how it would be in real life - stuck in a calm sea with nothing around you but a vast horizon on all sides. I actually woke up to this part - sensing the vast horizon.

Imagine this. Wee hours in the morning and you wake up from a semi Life of Pi like dream, except if that was made into a movie or even a book it would not sell. Then you relate to the movie. The beautiful calm ocean on which you can see your own reflection. The vast horizon at twilight. The carnivorous island. The whale. The fluorescent algae you get to see at night...

I thought to myself least you could have dreamt of the fluorescent algae...

...and dozed off!