Saturday, December 27, 2014

Flight Etiquette

Since I have been travelling by air a lot for the past year, I have noticed a few things that annoy me no end, viz.

  • People scrambling for the aisle space as soon as the flight lands. If you are in the aisle seat and you are patient enough to sit till the time you reach the aero-bridge you might get trampled by the folks sitting beside you.
  • People who turn on their cell phones as soon as the wheels touch the ground. Their favourite celebrity was kicked out of Big Boss and they cannot wait to tweet about the injustice.
  • The fact that they change the gate of the flight many times and you are left running from one gate to the other at 5am when you can only do so much to stay awake. They don't even announce the change!
  • Air India flights that keep you in the plane for over two hours and then ask you to shift to another after going through all the checks again.
Maybe its just me that gets frustrated with these things. Maybe its just that I am mostly sleepy and cranky while flying. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Freedom of speech! Whats that?

There has been much ruckus lately in both the houses of Parliament regarding the various communal speeches including the ones that were made inside the house by MPs. No legislative work could be taken up in the past week. 37 bills had been scheduled for this session and none of them have been cleared in both houses, most of them not even introduced. This raises the question as to whether the opposition's holding of the parliament to ransom has any merit which offsets, the importance of the legislative work at hand. It didn't work with the last government at least. No doubt it could be a tool to keep the government in check. But if it defeats the purpose of having sessions of parliament, what is the use? Also the opposition continuously harping about the speeches made by the government MPs brings into spotlight another debate, that of the freedom of speech.

It is true that what has been said is not something you should be saying on any public forum let alone in the parliament but everyone has a right to make a fool of himself/herself. Protesting against it and making a point that such views are only helping erode the fabric of society is also fine. But not letting the parliament work for days together because you do not agree with someone's statement? There are so many more important issues to be debated. As much as everyone has the freedom of  breathing, they also have the freedom of saying anything they wish with total impunity against hurting anyone's sentiments, however racist, sexist, communal etc. these might be.

As Bill Maher said in one of his shows, "I have a problem when people say things like 'freedom of speech is all fine, BUT!" He is absolutely right. There cannot be a 'BUT' at the end of this sentence. Freedom of speech should be all pervasive. Which means books should not be banned, newspapers should not be attacked and religion should be something you practice within the confines of your own home and without the sensitivity of a pouting child. People should be able to say what they believe in. Putting boundaries to the freedom of speech is self defeating and paradoxical.

Either way the politicians need to see how they are wasting the time of the parliament with this logjam. And they should give some credit to the people here by not considering them so gullible as to get swayed by one or two speeches in parliament, which most of the country does not even watch.