Archive for August, 2012

Road safety, Goan style

August 25, 2012

Road safety week is on the horizon. Anyone who has been to India will know how important the message of the said week is, and how unlikely it is to be heeded. Goa’s roads see getting on for a death a day. However the Transport Department has come up with a novel solution. Read on, extracted from The Herald, an English language Goan newspaper, and try to imagine the chaos the solution is going to bring.

PANJIM: The transport department will be enforcing a compulsory 10 minute “time for reflection and introspection” for all drivers in vehicles after the celebrations of road safety week, which starts September 3.

“For 10 minutes each and every vehicle in the state will be made to stop and think for 10 minutes,” transport director Arun Dessai told news persons.

He, however, did not say when the day would be implemented but said that they have already requisitioned for the services of over 2500 people including road safety patrols, traffic wardens as well as NSS students of various colleges for this purpose.

“If people can celebrate Earth Hour then why not 10 minutes for road safety?” he questioned.

The modus operandi will involve a squad of transport department swooping down on a group of vehicles and educating them for a whole 10 mins on road safety. They plan to cover the whole state.

The department also has a road safety bus in its possession, which it has been using to educate drivers especially drivers of commercial vehicles on aspects of road safety.

“The bus shows several videos and film clips on road safety, clips on sufferings of families after the accident and post accident trauma and stress of the families especially those who have lost their sole bread earner,” Arun Dessai said, adding that the clippings also show scenes of accident and animations of how they could have been avoided.

He said the bus has already been in demand with the North Goa truckers association who have asked that the bus be brought for the education of their drivers.

“Seeing these films will now be compulsory for all those who are applying for a drivers licence,” Dessai disclosed

About 305 road fatalities were reported in Goa in 2011,  a slight dip from the 327 it witnessed in 2010.

India has just 1% of the world’s traffic population but 9% of the world’s traffic related fatalities.

Wonky notes

August 21, 2012

 

Will and Martin were doing a tour of the town centre and on their way home, when they heard a pretty good brass band playing Auld Lang Syne. It’s not what you expect to hear in India and particularly in the middle of June as far away as you can get from New Year. Stranger still when they found the source. It was a dress rehearsal for the 18th June. Can’t quite remember which bit of the Indian invasion took place on 18th June but there is at least one street named after it. This parade was celebrating a man who we believe to have been Goan freedom fighter. Quite why he should be honoured with Auld Lang Syne, an English hymn and then The Last Post we are not sure. Anyway the band was the best Martin had heard in Goa although the notes played by the bugler were pretty wonky.

Arrival of Will

August 21, 2012

End of June and we have found a few minutes to let you know what’s up. Dr Will Thompson arrived on 14th June to take up his position as chiropractor in our clinic for a four month trial period. He’d been delayed a couple of weeks by taking badly to a disease preventative jab and being rushed to hospital in Truro and straight into ICU. He arrived on the overnight train from Bombay, looking as fit as any traveller we’ve seen arriving in Goa. He was remarkably cool as Martin loaded his 6’3’’ frame and all his kit on to Hari the Honda for the completion of the journey. Amazing what these little 100cc scooters can handle.

Will has immediately started to adapt to the alien lifestyle of Goa/India. He has decided that staying with us in the middle of Margao is as good a place as anywhere to start a new life in Goa

Dr Will

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We set him to work after four days of settling in, enjoying the remnants of our birthday celebrations and an introduction to the beach. Already he has proved his worth, getting on with stuff we hadn’t attempted and showing how much we’ve drifted into the Indian way of doing things, when keeping up with the Western way of doing things can be very valuable. We find that after five years here without any support or peer groups in chiropractic, we have lost some ground in driving a business forward.

If it all works out, then we expect to see Will joining us in a full time capacity in January 2013.

Fontainhas urinal

August 21, 2012

Private Urinal

This blog dates back to the beginning of June. Due to business pressures we’ve been ignoring blogs, but now we have returned from our annual visa run to the UK, the dust is settling and hope to keep the diary going.

The British Business Group organised a members’ event which we joined on Sunday evening. Arriving in good time we had 30 minutes to kill before the start of a guided walk through Fontainhas. We eventually found a dingy little bar which was open and enjoyed a beer and then were late for the start of the walk.

Fontainhas is a small area of Panjim which still retains a sense of what Panjim must have been like in the last century or so of the Portuguese rule in Goa. We last had a look in 2008 and are pleased to have seen that the rot has been reversed and a good attempt at preservation and conservation is under way… we guess without much help from the government. The most obvious change is that the people who live there now appear to be taking pride in their surroundings. Many of the buildings are now painted in one the four basic colours which were enforced during Portuguese rule. Each building had to be repainted biennially after monsoon.

There are still buildings being abandoned and we suppose this is inevitable in view of the mud construction; maintenance costs must be onerous. Mud and monsoon don’t work well together. Talking of which we have a slightly early start to monsoon this year… a nice downpour last night… first rain since November.

Our guide Jack was informative and fun. We didn’t get round  to asking him why a gentleman’s urinal had been installed behind a light wrought-iron gate opening on to the street in what was the quirkiest building on the walk. The walk finished with a view of a garish pink 1910 Hindu temple half way up a hillside. It’s been recently refurbished and the lighting is, well,remarkable.

A meal at the well restored and maintained Panjim Inn wrapped the evening up.

‘I don’t believe it’

August 21, 2012

There are times when even after almost seven years, the Indians can still do things that leave us speechless. Try this one for size.

A spate of offensive SMSs and MMSs have been circulating, warning of ethnic violence and causing people from the North East states, to leave south Indian towns and states. So sensibly, the Indian government decided to take action and issued an edict to limit the sending of bulk SMS and MMS to five people in one go, exempting the Railways and some financial institutions. The limit will be in place for the next 15 days.

Now switch to Goa, where the-powers-that-be have chosen to interpret the edict as meaning no one can send more the five SMSs in one day. Alison sends between 10 and 20 a day, mostly to clients confirming appointments or giving clinic directions. It’s hard to credit the lack of thought that goes into some events in India.

Anyway, the media have different stories about what the edict actually says, so as usual it all comes back to the government issuing ill-thought out and garbled directives which are open to a myriad of interpretations. We guess consequences are not considered and this episode bolsters our belief in almost total lack of planning in most arenas of Indian life.