Saturday, December 05, 2009

Wah! Technology

I had been to the railway station last Saturday to drop off relatives heading to Mumbai.

Being of an earlier generation, they weren't any enthused by the need to be clutching a cell phone everywhere and the myriad options it has (I had resisted the cell phone mania for a longgg time, but eventually succumbed and now a virtual slave to it). Their children are in the US and settled in well. I made sure that they were settled in their seats and waved them bye. The train was to reach Mumbai on Sunday afternoon around 3:00 PM. The ticket examiner had told that the train would by-pass Pune because of some bridge damage/collapse and the delay into Mumbai may be of the order of 2 hours or so

Copyright of image acknowledged to its author

At around 11:00 PM on Sunday night, got a frantic call from their daughter stating that her parents are not reachable at their home number at Mumbai and their neighbor had said that they hadn't come yet. Scrambled, widely awake, logged in and looked at the helpdesk number for Indian Railways (IR) and dialed there. Damn the IVR system, there is no easy way to personally reach somebody to talk to to get an update. Then remembered that Indian Railways had a feature called "Track your train" / "Spot your train" which tells all info about the train in motion including stations passed and the time of arrival and departure at each station. Tracked the train and figured that the train had reached Mumbai only at 10:30 PM and as we were dialing the US to inform their daughter, she called in and informed that her parents had reached home just then!

A few minutes of confusion, then desperation, then relief and eventually settled down again for the night. How reliant have we become on technology! A cell phone is a necessity especially for aged folks, to be at least reachable. I am optimistic about India in spite of our slow pace of progress. Thanks to technologists at IR for that feature which was very useful for that night (I think TCS writes and maintains the software). I love trains and especially the engines (my personal delight). The only problem I have with our trains are the toilets. Otherwise, every journey is an experience.


gils said...

ungalukulla oru anniyan cum ambi tent poatu ukanthirukaanga pola :D

RamMmm said...

aaha kelambittaangayya kelambittaanga. :-)

Uttara said...

We were using GPS on mobile to find our way through Goa

RamMmm said...

GPS is for technology aware people. Doesn't make it any better for technophobes. :( GPS is very useful when trekking in remote places and cell inaccessible areas to gauge where you are going or to retrace the path later.