Atanu Dey On India's Development

Hi from Zurich Airport

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Got to Zurich on Swiss International Airlines, aka Swiss Air, flight from Mumbai. The name of the airport, the largest in Switzerland is just plain Zurich airport, unlike the names of important airports in India — all named after the same old retards from the same old family.

It is a seven-hour layover. I am not complaining since the lounge is really nice, huge, very quiet, and well stocked with food and drinks. I had a long shower and I have been catching up with email and stuff. They have internet-connected computers for use in the lounge. There’s wireless too. But here’s the rub: their power outlets don’t accept US-type plugs; only European plugs.

This is more than a little irritating. My laptop power is long over and it is a hassle to use public computers. What the world needs is more standardization, especially since the world is getting more integrated.

Talking of standards, the terrible thing about the US is that it still uses the British system of weights and measures (foot, pound, gallon, etc) instead of the Metric system (meter, kilogram, liter, etc.) God alone knows when the US will bite the bullet and just do it.

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It is quiet around here, as I mentioned before. The place is lightly occupied and some people are having conversations, but they don’t talk loudly here. That may be because there are no public announcements at all. There are TV monitors around but their sound is turned very low. Their sound does not intrude.

This is in sharp contrast to say Mumbai airport. First, there are those long drawn-out incessant flight announcement. You cannot do anything like some quite reading and writing while waiting for a flight. People talk loudly — but that could be because they want to be heard over the loud TVs and announcements.

Noise pollution in India is not funny. Constant honking. The mosques with their insane howls. Elevators announcing the opening and closing of doors and floor level. On airplanes too, they play muzak. Loudly.

Anyway, enough of this rant. I should sign off now. The last leg of my journey will start in a few hours. ZRH to SFO will take around 14 hours. I will be landing at 4:30 PM PST and expect to be home by 6 PM. Door to door, it would have been 33 hours in transit.

  • Gina

    Atanu, cannot agree more on this. After having lived in a developed country for a good old time and then coming back to India has indeed made me realise more than ever before, what tranquilitiy and public decorum is all about. Go to a mall, cinema, airports or any god-damn public places and all one can experience is complete pandemonium!

    Btw, isn’t it hilarious to see the maddening rush the moment an airplane lands. Everyone and simply everyone…..right from a Director of ‘MNC’ to a Dalal Street Broker are queueing up to come out first!

  • http://thenitknumbskulls.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/convex-optimization-for-multitask-feature-learning.pdf wanderlust

    you prefer it US-style? Bob Hope Airport, John Wayne Airport, etc?

    and as for peace and tranquility, that’s possible only in extremely sparsely populated places. and personally, i find quiet public places disturbing and unfriendly. more so in racist europe.

  • Jayant N

    Have a good trip. See you next “fall”…

  • larissa

    It is very sad, but difficult to find peace and quiet in India in the cities as it is just too overpopulated, you feel suffocated in the cities. Our civilization also once valued nature, soltitude, the wild and peace and quiet…our civilization was built on these things which are essential for peace and the contemplative life. But modern day India? Where has the sense of aesthetics gone to?
    It is interesting I observed in Japan a reverence for peace and quiet and nature amidst the wooden houses in the country side made to blend in with nature, all Indian ideas from Buddhism which find no expression in its own homland but in cultures which borrowed from India, while India itself has no value anymore for the ideals of its own civilization, as people hardly even understand it, and seek to learn from the West what was once quintessentially Indian such as respect for solitude and nature…I suppose that is our tragedy…

  • Ketan

    Didn’t know that Shivaji, Shubash Bose, and Indira Gandhi were “retards from the same family”. And that the same family had people named “Bengaluru International” and “Chennai International”.

    Thanks for enlightening us, Atanu. Reading your blog is always an educational experience :)