Desi turbulence

I’m writing in reference to this article published yesterday (Plane truths: Field notes on desis in the air). Despite being a rather pedantic solo traveller myself and having faced all the inconveniences the author mentions, the piece invokes less empathy than disgust in me, due to the rather extremist stance [taken] here. Such oversimplification, generalisation and mean, condescending criticism – is borderline hate-speech.

I agree everyone is entitled to their own opinions and the author’s goal isn’t to write something agreeable to me, but, I consider this unpleasant hate-speech and reading it rather ruined my morning a little. – Srikar Anne


I recently travelled a long haul and find the observations made here extremely realistic. We are a unique set of travellers who start getting into their groove even in the air to be able to replicate the Indian scenario. The same set of passengers turn into a different species while travelling on other international segments. – Abhijit Sen


Brilliantly observed, by Mr Shahane! Such a delight to read especially as it sounds super familiar. – Gopesh Singh


Well written, most of the problems we face while travelling. I always thought about how to address this and this article addresses them in such a hilarious way. Looking forward to more information. – Anita Maithel

Travel trouble

My relatives, friends and I have many times opted for OYO rooms but never found it satisfactory. Perhaps what is responsible is the attitude that “India hai, yaha sab chalta hai [It is India, everything works here],” along with the fact that no one – government or other authority – exists to check and set things right or assure compliance. In June or July, I don’t remember exactly when, I booked an OYO room in Vasundhara, Ghaziabad for three people and unluckily it started raining. It rained the whole night, there was roof leakage, water dropped in the room and there was a power cut for at least two-three hours as well. – Brijesh Kumar Mishra


I read through your article and I wish to add to it.

In my last two bookings at OYO, I booked online, paid at a counter and checked in. The rooms were so dirty and unlivable that I left the hotel immediately and checked into another nearby hotel. I called customer care and lodged a complaint, but all in vain. This happened twice.

At Bakshi Nagar, Jammu, it was 38 degrees Celsius and humid. There was no electricity at the hotel for very many hours. I left my luggage there and went to a friend’s place and returned the next day to pick up my luggage on my way to the airport. At Bhiwari the hotel was dirty and pathetic. I left the hotel and checked into another hotel in Gurgaon.

I had paid both places and so, I sent an email to customer care but received no response. It is sad to see that an Indian startup with international branding has fallen so low on service. – Sudhir Thakur

Two states

It is disturbing and enraging to see that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s most efficacious tool of changing history to advocate its cause has successfully penetrated even the North East (Manipur: Why Tangkhul Nagas are protesting the commemoration of the ‘Anglo-Kuki War’). There is no iota of doubt that the Kukis are indigenous to Manipur. The lust for land and the pipe dreams of a so-called greater Nagaland have blinded Naga fanatics to the degree that they don’t mind presenting false narratives to suit their interests.

It is the 21st century and high time that both the Kukis and the Nagas come out of their microscopic, tribal mindsets and see beyond their clan. And since both sides claim to be born-again Christians, they should, for once, practise Christianity’s main theme – forgiveness and to love the enemy. – Shinobi Suantak


In the first place, the Kuki tribes are not one of the Naga tribes. Secondly, historically written documents state that the Kukis were a marauding nomadic tribe that entered Manipur in the 19th century. British historical facts are widely available where the Kukis are mentioned. Third, wherever there is a Kuki village or settlement in Naga inhabited areas in Manipur, the Kukis pay lousal or land tax and have no ownership of the land.
Research well and report. It’s an extremely sensitive issue right now. – Shokkai Khayi


It is sad to read such sob stories, written to evoke sympathy for the dead and anger against the government (Before the phones came back to life, Kashmiri families could not even mourn their dead)., did you guys exhibit the same sense of empathy for Hindu Pandits when they were booted out of their homeland? When their women were raped? When their men were massacred, with loudspeakers in masjids egging the Muslims to carry out the ethnic cleansing? No. Is your sympathy reserved only for the Muslims? Or is it your blatant hatred for [Narendra] Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party that make you guys come up with such sob stories? – Sridhar Murthy

Miscellaneous letters

In June of 1968, Elvis Presley faced NBC’s cameras in what it would turn out to be, in December of that same year when the show aired, the perfect instance to deliver a special message to some 55 million viewers – the largest television audience after his return from serving with the US Army (Watch: The original ‘Hound Dog’ performance, years before Elvis Presley claimed it as his song).

He interrupted his performance and repeated what he had said numerous times before on radio interviews in the 1950s: that rock and roll music was actually gospel, rhythm and blues, and that, that is where he had found his inspiration as he fused these elements with country and Western music. He said it twice, at both the 6 pm and 8 pm sit down shows, one of which NBC used as a lead-in to his gospel medley, which included an extraordinary rendition of Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child with African-American choreographer extraordinaire Claude Thompson as the sole dancer, and African America singer and actress Darlene Love on vocals.

This led to Where Could I Go But to the Lord, Up Above My Head and Saved, all of them, but the first being songs associated with African American writers or singers. The last of the three were not written by an African American, but by two then extremely young Jewish kids from New York, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Everything else that is written in the article is true, but to assert that he claimed that song, or any of his 715 songs, even the 400 or so songs written for him, as his own, is ludicrous. Many thanks and best regards from a reader in Nicaragua. – Guillermo Perez-Arguello


Maybe Sharad Pawar has realised that he’s a spent force (BCCI appointments: Sharad Pawar refuses to oppose Jay Shah’s election as secretary). In any case, why rub Home Minister Amit Shah the wrong way? – S Thomas


All said and done, objectively we can drive home the point that the so-called learned justice forgot to consider how his colleagues have been performing at various points of time (Retired SC judge says government is trampling on judicial independence through appointments). There is no accountability factor which governs the judges in regard to their delivery mechanism, for they can slap others with contempt of court to restrain any questions from outside.

When Justice Karnan deliberately made certain comments about corruption in the judiciary and alerted the supreme court, he was jailed for six months, after his retirement! Whereas the same apex court maintained indifference when three of its judges came out to address press conferences on a working day alleging some shortfalls in their routine and schedule, letting them go scot-free!

Democracy doesn’t mean the unilateral and unquestionable imposition of something but it essentially means that review and revamp is also a must. – DS Reddy


I still don’t understand what is the constitutional sanctity or sanction for a collegium. When the collegium itself is unconstitutional, how can any argument or judgement against it become fair? After all, India now has a rule of the collegium and a rule of law. – PD Amarnath


The has tried his best to cover up Nehru’s responsibilities (A new book argues that Jawaharlal Nehru did not lead or manage his armed forces competently enough). The three reasons not under control of Nehru as mentioned in the concluding paragraphs were absolutely of his own making. He didn’t know to share power and responsibilities. There were so many brilliant people, who understood India far better than the late leader himself, who were not brought into the Central Government. Chavan, Subhramanium and Jagjivan Ram later proved to be far better administrators than cronies like Menon. The failure of 1962 totally lies on the shoulder of Nehru. – Susanta Majumdar


Our presumably learned finance minister, a faithful acolyte of her boss, perhaps has not seen the recent report of the Reserve Bank of India, that non-performing assets in the last five years have been much higher than those in the previous regime (‘Worst phase’ of Indian banks was under Manmohan Singh, Raghuram Rajan, claims Nirmala Sitharaman). Her second comment that loans were given over telephone calls cannot be worse than loans or other benefits being given to a few chosen ones. A business group which is facing almost bankruptcy and has been forced to sell its assets to pay up debts has been favoured for an offset partnership with Rafale. Surely not because of its financial strength but the support of the highest authority in the government? Can our former Defence Minister give her comment on that matter? – SN Iyer