With some common sense, we can get rid of outdated practices at airport.
You will find many articles on how corrupt and inefficient we are as a nation, particularly our government. However, little is said on something we all face, but find it difficult to admit to – the great Indian stupidity. Sure, we have some of the smartest people on earth. World chess champions, software geeks and FabIndiawearing intellectuals – we have them all. We probably have too many smart people. But allow me, with my moderate intellect, to make one more assertion – we also have a lot of stupid people.
Many of these stupid people are in high places and positions of power, taking stupid decisions for us that make our life difficult on a daily basis. I cannot cover them all, but let me focus on one particular Indian stupidity hotspot – our airports. Here, one gets to see India’s idiocy in full view. India’s who’s who pass through our airports everyday, and suffer the impact of extraordinary foolish decisions. However, they can do nothing about it.
Here are the top-5 stupid items at our airports: One, the ticket printout requirement at the airport entry. As with justifying all things stupid, security reasons are cited. Hence, a CRPFsoldier trained with guns spends all day reading printouts provided by the passenger to see if the passenger has his name printed. Really? What is the thought process here? A terrorist won’t be able to arrange a fake printout? Or he will make a typo? What’s the point of checking that stupid printout and wasting manpower and time? How is that adding to safety?
Also, wasn’t the point of e-tickets to reduce paper? If you can’t get rid of this redundant step, can you at least allow people to show tickets on their phones?
The second, absolutely redundant item is the silly bits of paper with an elastic attached, called hand baggage tags. Passengers attach them to their bags, and they are stamped after passing through x-ray. Later, half a dozen people will check your stamp until you board your flight. The stamp and the tag are redundant. Nobody should be able to get bags inside without an x-ray in the first place. If they can, and thus have sneaked in a not x-rayed, unstamped bag, can’t they hide it in another bigger, empty stamped bag? While the x-ray is required, the tag-stamp routine is unnecessary. In fact, the stamp creates a false sense of security – it seems like an approval.
The third stupid routine is during the flight. Most airlines no longer serve free food. They run a snack shop in the aisles mid-flight. The cabin crew take individual orders, fulfil them, fumble for change and move up and down half a dozen times for people who want to use the restroom. It takes them forever to inch the cart ahead along the rows. Can’t the airlines take food orders during check-in? If they did, the cash would be handled on the ground. Food can be placed on passengers’ seats as they enter the aircraft or right after take-off. Wouldn’t that be more efficient?
The fourth drama occurs when we are about to land. Oftentimes, air traffic control does not give permission to touch down, in case of congestion. Thus, hundreds of aircraft literally burn fuel everyday, and delay thousands of passengers. The congestion at many airports has been chronic for many years. Often, the solution is just another runway. Sure, airport runways are sophisticated to make, but aren’t they just a nice flat, long strip of road? Why is it so hard to make another runway? Isn’t it stupid to waste so much precious fuel (and people’s time) everyday?
Stupid situation number five is thrust on passengers arriving in India from abroad. After a long immigration queue to obtain a passport stamp, you queue up again as another official inspects the stamp. How stupid is that? You also write little slips of paper with a customs declaration, which is collected by a sleepy constable as you exit. Nobody ever looks at those slips. The constable often forgets to take them. What is the point of this? Has no one ever questioned this absolute stupidity?
I could go on. The prepaid taxi lines for instance, where both the tired passengers and the taxi dri-vers wait for hours, because some harried employees fill registers with carbon paper (yes, they still use it!) and cause huge bottlenecks.
While airports are particularly good places to hunt for Indian stupidity, many other Indian processes are retarded too. For example, prepaid SIM forms and the proofs required are a joke. They are also easily faked. Places like Dubai, Bangkok or Hong Kong sell working SIMs off the shelf anyway. What are we counting on? Our terrorists to have an aversion to faking xerox copies, or have no international friends? Can we let go of this nonsense?
Sure, the issues mentioned above are not the biggest problems of our country. But they trouble, niggle, irritate and can be easily fixed. Also, if our nation doesn’t come across as having a basic level of common sense, it leaves a terrible impression on outsiders. It is also plain dangerous, to live with outdated processes. Safety procedures are often inconvenient. However, everything inconvenient doesn’t make us safe. It can just be stupid.
Yes, we may be able to live with stupidity, but that is no reason to continue with it. Whoever is in charge of the above or any other stupid items, please take steps to change it. Use your brain. Stop behaving like sheep, moving along in silence for decades. We have had enough of India-stupid. It is time we had some India-smart. For now, rubber stamp this article to show you have read it.