Paris Experience – I : Kolkata to Paris Travel

Every person who is working in IT field has a dream of going to onsite or to a clients place once, especially a trip to another country. Recently I got the chance to visit Paris (one of the most peaceful and romantic places in the world). A team of 7 people was going for the trip but on the last moment my trip was postponed by a week and I will be travel alone in an International flight and that too for the first time.

Finally, the day came when I have to travel and I was too nervous as it was my first international travel. I didn’t have any knowledge about the process like, immigration etc. although my friends have given some info about the process but now I have to follow the information that was provided. I have reached Airport and Thanks for the Emirates assistance as they explained me all the processes I will have to follow in Kolkata as well as at Dubai Airport. Immigration, Security check went easily and at the right time, I was inside the plane with a Window Seat. The flight took off from Kolkata and the view of Kolkata from the sky especially during Diwali was awesome, it was like thousands of colorful diamonds were laying on the floor. Unfortunately, I have switched off my Phone due to which I was unable to take any Pics (which I will regret all the time). After some time, hot dinner was served and I didn’t expect that the food will be so delicious (as compared to what I had with domestic flights).

Emirates Asian Veg Meal

Emirates Asian Veg Meal

The flight route was such that it was flying over my home i.e Nashik and it was a bit emotional for me as I didn’t get the chance to visit my home from more than a year. but soon we touched the sea and I tried to keep my attention to the movie “Prakash Amate” Marathi movie. Till the movie came to end the Pilot announced that we are reaching Dubai and all the other information normally provided. Just before Landing in Dubai, I have recorded the video showing beautiful view of city. Below is the video

Post Landing, I was more concern as I didn’t know what to do and where to go but thanks to Amazing Instruction boards and helpful staff of Dubai Airport which made everything easy. Post security check I had couple of hours in my hand before I board the Paris flight so I was roaming in the Airport Terminal B. The terminal is as big as a Shopping mall and you will find shop of everything like chocolates, alcohol, laptops, mobiles, mobile covers as well, here and that too Duty free. It was an amazing experience to explore the Dubai Airport and as I was traveling alone, I was roaming to all the place. Apart from the Shopping area which I liked about the airport is that the navigation is so simple that anyone can easily reach to a destination without any issue. Dubai Airport of signboards, officials to help and the most important they have installed many touch screen panels where a traveler just have to scan the barcode on his/her boarding pass and the panel will show the path to reach the correct gate. The panel also provides the information about restaurants, shops, spas etc. which I found very helpful.

I was excited for the next part of the journey as I was going to fly in Airbus380 – The largest commercial aircraft in the world. Boarding started at 02:30 AM and I was amazed by the size of the aircraft. As soon as you enter you will feel how comfortable journey will be. The back seat screens were big, clear and with ICE where you can select any movie from the list (Bollywood, Hollywood, European, TV Serial etc.). Everything was good except the seat provided to me which was exactly above the Huge wing of the aircraft and I was unable to see anything below. As soon as we took off I started a Movie I think it was Spy not sure properly as I slept as soon as it started. I woke up by attended to give the food, which was delicious as usual.

Emirates Asian Veg Meal

While eating, I was checking news and found about the attack in Paris and it was an alarming situation for me as I don’t have any idea about the situation going to be at Paris. Thanks to emirates for having a wifi, which helped me to send a message to family and friends about my safety. After Couple of Hours, we Landed in Paris and during which I watched a couple of movies and keeping an eye on news updates. Post landing I messaged the colleague which were in Paris and they gave me all the instructions to reach Hotel. Immigration was done quickly and I didn’t face any problems just having a few officers asking regular stuff to everyone. I came out of Airport and took a Taxi (Mercedes Business class) to the hotel.

In the Next article, I will explain the complete Paris Experience.

Experience: Digital India is Going to Help Everyone

Last week Prime Minister of India visited the USA to Promote Make in India and Digital India Campaign which received a great response there. Even just before his town hall session in Facebook, CEO Mark changed his profile pic to support Digital India. One Part of the world was praising these initiatives and here in India I have seen People making fun of campaign on social media and newspaper using cartoons and Meme’s stating farmers are dying, people are hungry and our PM is dreaming about Digital India.

Digital India Going to help

Nana Patekar Meme

Digital India

People unaware of the Campaign

Digital India

Cartoons making fun of Digital India

After checking these images, I thought of sharing my experience and how I think Digital India will change our (everyone’s) life.

Digital India?

First of all, what exactly Digital India Campaign mean? It is not just providing Internet Connections to everyone but to make government services available to citizens (doesn’t matter where they live) electronically by improving online infrastructure and by increasing internet connectivity. Digital India has three core components. These include:

  1. The creation of digital infrastructure
  2. Delivering services digitally
  3. Digital literacy

Digitalization of Government services will improve the quality of service we get and also it will remove the manual/humans error’s of the system to make it more transparent.


In the Year 2011, I got the opportunity to study the Government’s Public Distribution System (PDS) or the Rationing system as the company for which I was working i.e. ESDS Software Solution Pvt. Ltd. has taken a Pilot project of digitalizing the Food & Supply Department of Nashik and provide them a solution which will minimize their work and improve customer satisfaction. The biggest advantage we had been the data of all the ration card holders and all other information was already computerized i.e. Food & Supply department has already performed the data entry of all the card holders in Nashik District. We have received the data and started processing it. In the meanwhile, we have started understanding the complete system and the problems Department was facing.  Few problems which they have notified were:

  • Duplicate Ration cards
  • Food grain quota received from the Government was always less than what actual demand was (it was always 70% to 80% of total Demand).
  • Proper/actual distribution to the Ration Shop.

It took a couple of months to complete the project which includes Analysis, Developing Solution, and testing. The solution was designed to detect duplication, once the quota is given distribute it in such a way that all Rations shop will receive proper/sufficient grains. The Solution was implemented for a trial run and system detected many duplicate records for ration card (it could be due to human error or ignorance, change of location or any other reason). The data de-duplication started by the respective departments/Taluka by manually verifying the data and removing duplicate one. Post de-duplication the results were more shocking as the quota which District was receiving from State Government was more than actual Demand i.e. it was 110% to 120% and we have to create an extra module of buffer stock.


The above experience was a very small step to digitalization (even before the campaign started) but it was enough to tell Why Many Government Schemes were failed, Why funds released by the Government doesn’t reach to common man and Why Corruption Happens.

The main Culprit is the data and the System itself. Right now Government doesn’t have any exact figures for anything either its Ration card, voter card. Digitalization will provide the exact data to execute any plan or scheme and also it will eliminate the middle man and directly transfer the benefits to Beneficiary (Gas Subsidy is one example of this). Also, it will provide the complete information of schemes and rights a beneficiary have. Digitalization will increase the transparency in the system and provide the complete in and out of the process; a common man will able to track the current status of his application/documents instead of going to each and every table.

I personally think if you can make fun of Government policies/Schemes without understanding it, then you don’t have any rights to blame Government for anything. It doesn’t matter which Political Party is in the Government if anything good comes out of it should be appreciated and we must give our hand to make is Sucess.

Note: This post is my personal view to Digital India campaign and not supporting any political party.

How MSRTC won My Heart

This is my first post to the blog, and every new beginning start with Ganesha.

Ganeshotsav is one of the biggest and main festivals for Maharashtrian, especially for us (Konkani). Last year, we (my wife and I) have decided to visit our hometown i.e. Devgad during Ganeshotsav at least two days before so that we can take part in Ganpati Decoration as well.  As we are living in Kolkata travelling to Mumbai was not a concern but the only concern was travelling from Mumbai to Devgad (Konkan). Due to Ganeshotsav all the medium of travels is overbooked. Each year Railways start special extra trains but getting a reservation there, is always a challenge and all the seats get filled within few hours of ticket counter gets open. The same case is with Road transport whether it is a Private Transport or Public (Govt.) owned MSTC Buses (even after arranging extra buses) they have more than 100% booking.

Our Journey Map

We came to know that during Ganeshotsav many Political Parties arranges Buses for various destinations in Konkan and we can get tickets in them. So the tickets were booked and we were all set to travel from Kolkata to Mumbai and then Devgad. Next day after reaching Mumbai we have packed our bags and went to Bhandup from where the buses will leave and as soon as I reached the Political Party office I saw 4-5 MSTC Red Buses (yes the Lal Dabba (Red Box as called by local)) and not even the Asiad buses. It was one of the nightmares as travelling in MSRTC Red Bus is just like riding Roller Coaster as the buses are not well maintained, seats are not comfortable and finally the drivers as they don’t drive buses they fly them. I was trying to overcome all these stuff and another surprise was waiting for me. We were allocated the second last seats (two seats behind the wheel) so I made my mind that this trip will be going a trip which I and my body will remember for a long time.

MSRTC Asiad Vs ST LAL Dabba

MSRTC Asiad Vs ST LAL Dabba

Our excitement became half and with half heart we went inside the bus; took the seat. Our journey started on time and the ride was smooth as we were still in the Mumbai Highway and I know once we leave Mumbai our roller coaster ride will start as the condition of the roads (post monsoon) are not good in villages. With the cool breeze and smooth ride so far, I didn’t know when I slept and when I woke up the bus was in Pen. This was quite surprising and we were around 70 Km away from Mumbai and it didn’t interrupt my sleep. What I noticed was the roads were smooth but the Driver was not at all driving fast or trying to fly which was my perception earlier instead of that he was driving with carefully, no overtakes, no unnecessary horns in the narrow roads of Konkan.

After Dinner, it started raining to make the conditions worst and I was awake and alert observing Driver as he was still driving efficiently and the conductor giving him a nice company in the drivers cabin. Lights were switched off and slept again. At 4 am when I woke up again I found the bus was standing near a small hotel and it still raining outside. I went outside to stretch and to have a cup of tea. During this, I came to know that we are running ahead of schedule time and will reach Devgad in 2 hours (till 6 AM where as we were expected till 7 AM).

At 6 AM, we were at Devgad and we were the last one to off-board the bus while off-board we thanked the Driver and conductor for our journey. A Journey which changed my perception towards MSRTC…

Later, I came to know that the Driver and Conductor had came from Nashik (200 KM away from Mumbai) and drove for the complete night to make sure that the passenger reach their destination safely.

I know many would have a bad experience with ST but for me they actually made their tag line true “ST CHA PRAVAS SUKHACHA PRAVAS” (ST travel is happy travel).

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