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09 December 2012

The Good, bad and the ugly - 08-Dec-2012

The good

Air India......

I am a Saggittarius. Linda Goodman in her book 'Sun Signs' says that Sags (we call ourselves thus) do not hold grudges and like the fire sign that we are, we are quick to get angry and quick to forgive. 

I am a pure Sag. I am a sucker for quality and I forgive far too easily.

There was a time, not so long ago, I used to dislike Air India. Given an option, I used to give that airline a wide berth and opt for its (sometimes more expensive) competitors. The reason was that, just like any normal traveller, whose sole concern is to travel from A to B, and the airline, notorious for its internal problems, was almost always mired in controversies and flight cancellations. I did not have time to glorify the incompetence of this airline by bestowing my patronage to this airline. Daily news about strikes, cancellation and pathetic experience of the people who travelled by this airline, did little to change my low opinion of this airline. 

All these changed recently. 

Ever since Praful Patel was taken out of the aviation ministry, the airline has turned around. Gone are the days where the daily papers are filled with news of airline cancellation and the evening TV news is filled with interviews with agitated passengers, littering all over the airport.

I got a chance opportunity to fly the national carrier recently. Without asking me, my company had booked me by Air India. I remember that I was a bit sceptical about the airline as I left for the airport that early morning. 

My experience at the airport belied all my negative expectations. The staff was courteous (Previously, they were not), the check-in process was very efficient and the staff even guided me to the security check in. 

If I was expecting a casually maintained airline interior, I was delightfully wrong. The airline interior was very neat and inviting. The seats were of sober mix of Beige and Orange colour and added a glow to the aircraft. The staff was very courteous. The beautiful ladies in their red and black sarees  adorning their brilliant white pearl necklace exuded comfort and confidence that a nuevo young air hostess in a low cost airline could never hope to achieve.


This is one of those airlines which still believes in the concept of Indian hosipitality. They still serve you food and beverages every time you travel by the airline.


Yesterday I checked out the Air India Magazine. The cover was awesome. I felt proud about our National Airline.

I love you Air India....

In fact I have taken a frequent flier membership with the airline. 

I am not the only one that share this view. Check out this news item in today's news paper..

The bad...

Of course, it is the Indian sports. We are almost on the verge of losing the Kolkata Test to England.  Almost all the sports associations are being de-recognized or disqualified by knowledgeable international organizations, our athletes are feeling let down, Tendulkar is no longer scoring centruries, Indian Hockey team lost the semi finals of Champions trophy (for those enthusiastic supporters out there who feel that reaching the semis is a big deal for Indian Hockey, I want to point out that we lost to both Germany and Australia, the teams to beat). Until something is done soon, I will be forced to move Indian sports to the Ugly category.

Hope it doesn't come to that. 

And the Ugly....

Definitely the death of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse involved in the Kate Middleton hoax call...

By now all of us know the story. Two RJs from the Australian radio station 2Day FM, Mel Greig and Michel Christian, made a hoax call to the on duty nurse at St.Edward VII hospital in London. The callers posed as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles and wanted to know the latest update about the condition of 'Her Grand Daughter Kate'. The unsuspecting nurse, Jacintha, transferred the call to the duty nurse who gave a complete update about Kate's status.

Upon coming to know that she was taken for a ride, Jacintha, a 46 year old mother of two, died, supposedly a suicide.

The whole world is shattered along with the RJs who perpetrated this hoax. The radio station quickly suspended the show and took the RJs off the air.

Why did Jacintha commit suicide? What was the motive? Was it pressure, was is shame or was it the expected recriminations from the hospital that she worked for.

There are two points that I wish to make here.

First is that, as the hospital spokesman mentioned, the hospital did not have a documented process to handle telephone calls. It is not easy to take a call from someone who claims to be the Queen of England.  As someone told in a TV Panel discussion, it is not possible to ask the Id of Queen when you think that that is who is on line. How did the hospital handle this episode when it broke out? Did they support Jacintha? Did she have any friends in the hospital to confide in?

From the fact that she committed suicide, one can safely presume that this support did not materialize. Proof is in the pudding.

Second point is about the suicide itself. It seems that this lady was staying alone in London and would visit her family at Bristol over the weekend. I presume that the lonely lady was so stressed out of the whole affair, and with no one to console or confide in, would have given in to the pressure and taken her life. Would the results have been different had her family been staying with her?

I don't have any answers. I only know that I don't like this at all.

May god give the family strength to cope with their loss.

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