How Delhi-Varanasi bullet train will change my life

Santosh Chaubey
Santosh ChaubeyJun 24, 2016 | 08:58

How Delhi-Varanasi bullet train will change my life

Please don't get into debates on "why call every high speed train a bullet train". We love to call (proverbially) every wrestler (or bodybuilder) Dara Singh or Gama Pahalvan, and every racer (or someone who walks too fast) Milkha Singh. For a long time, each vegetable oil brand used to be "Dalda" and for us and every noodle was "Maggi", every soya nugget brand "Nutrela" and every fairness cream "Fair & Lovely".


Likewise, every high speed train came to be called a "bullet train" - the English nickname for the high speed Japanese trains "Shinkansen" – the world pioneers in the category. And the term is used the world over - even if we have seen other high speed rail services in different countries - like the French TGV, German ICE or American Amtrak.

I believe calling many names by a single "name" is in our genes, though it is not country-specific. There is a simple principle of visibility that every brand aspires to master.

So how will a Delhi-Varanasi bullet train change my life?

I have been born and brought up in Varanasi and I love my city. I have been in Delhi for the last ten years but Varanasi is my priority for settling down.

So what if it is among the most polluted and dirtiest cities in India? So what if you find its roads stuffed with filth in many areas? So what if civic amenities are virtually non-existent?

If we have no reason to believe in Narendra Modi’s words, we don’t have reasons to doubt his intentions either.


So what if the work to turn Varanasi into Kyoto, the Japanese temple town and a global standard in maintaining heritage with modernity, is yet to begin?

So what if Varanasi is still the same Varanasi that it was when it elected Modi as its parliamentary representative in 2014?

At least his words have flown with all their might and I believe a day will come soon that will bring achhe din for Varanasi and all its residents like me.

The proposed bullet train corridor from Delhi to Kolkata will take up a part of it – the Delhi-Varanasi corridor - on priority.

Like "bullet" is used with anything that moves at a very high speed, I believe the Delhi-Varanasi bullet train will graduate me to a fast-paced life. It will do so by removing the most pressing problem on my mind - of finding and maintaining a rented accommodation in the megacity of Delhi that is getting expensive every passing year, burning a deep hole in your pocket.

Add to that the annual ten per cent hike house-owners put in the rent-deed. And above all, even after complying with all the demands (and whims) of the landlord, you are never sure that your house lease will be extended next year. When this is the situation of a borrowed life in a rented accommodation, one can easily imagine how expensive it is to buy a house in Delhi.

So what if the work to turn Varanasi into Kyoto is yet to begin? 

The Delhi-Varanasi bullet train will solve this life-threatening problem in one go. It will help me to go back to my hometown without affecting my livelihood options in Delhi. I will again stay in a big enough house that is my own while commuting to Delhi daily.

I have a good-sized house back in my hometown that is many times of my rented, squeezed in apartment in Delhi. And I will be making some very smart and much-needed savings. After all, maintaining a good lifestyle in Delhi, and that too in a rented accommodation, often leaves you high and dry.

The proposed travel time of 2 hours and 40 minutes from Varanasi to Delhi is something that you can easily make your routine every morning and evening. The nightmarish traffic of Delhi and NCR takes around similar time and when the distance is long, like from East Delhi to Gurgaon, or Noida to Gurgaon, or Ghaziabad to Faridabad, it can easily take around two-three hours for a one-side trip.

Therefore, 2 hours and 40 minutes sounds quite good. In fact, it can be a good time to have some hours of power nap.

Being a bullet train, obviously, the journey will be too expensive for most people to afford. The Chinese high speed rail experience (China has the longest high speed network in the world now) says that most high speed trains run with empty coaches there owing to the high fare structure.

The Delhi-Varanasi bullet train service is quite affordable when I see it in the context of the high cost of living and maintaining a lifestyle in Delhi. I firmly believe that the opportunity cost will be favorably tilted in my favour. Then there is always a "very real" probability that this travel time will come down further. The high speed trains have achieved a speed of over 400km/hour in test runs and Delhi-Varanasi rail corridor is just within 800km.

Once I internalise the proposed travel time initially - I need so because my current daily commuting time to my office is around 1 hour and 30 minutes (to and fro) - it will then be raining benefits from all the sides.

I will be able to stay in my home city where my family and other relatives are. One doesn't need to explain how important and mentally healthy it is for you to spend time daily with family - that how important it is to regularly meet your neighbours and relatives. I will get home cooked food daily. I will have weekends full of family and fun time. I am sure the "quality of life" will have "very real" connotations for me then than now.

And above all, I will have good vibes – driven by the "high and mighty" promises that Modi has made for Varanasi. There is always a wait for Varanasi to become the next Kyoto, for it to get dirt and filth-free, for it to become the spiritual capital of the world (and not just India) and accordingly get aptly suited civic amenities and infrastructure, including a swanky new airport and the proposed Varanasi metro train line that passes through my house and so on.

Someone has said "hope is probably the best thing to happen to a person" and I thank Modi to give me another reason to hope for "Varanasi’s achhe din".

I thank Modi for the good time that I will have while waiting for Varanasi’s achhe din and for a life with positive changes.

Last updated: March 05, 2017 | 20:27
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