There must be some logic in M Veerappa Moily's argument. If the petroleum minister believes that the only way we can save fuel and help cut India's massive oil import bill is by giving up our insistence on travelling in cars, then who are we to question him?
A five-year-old will give you a million other reasons for our economy's troubles but then the honourable minister probably has more information and insight.
Taking Moily's word about conserving fuel to heart, I too decided to take the Delhi Metro to work on Wednesday. After all a guy -- who does not get caught in traffic jams, does not have to circle around endlessly to park his Nano brought on credit or visit the unauthorised parking spot every hour hoping the car is still there -- can travel by a train, so can I.
When I stepped into the metro station, I did not have the luxury of an entourage following me. No journalists or security personnel were there to follow me like a celebrity. Rather, I was surrounded by a sea of humanity waiting in a queue, or at least a semblance of a queue, for a train during rush hour at the Rajiv Chowk station. With no security detail, which shielded Mr Moily, to ensure that I hopped on to the train, I was left stranded on the platform. And I hold physics, which says every action has an equal and opposite reaction, responsible for that. So, every effort I made to get on the train was met with an equal and opposite reaction by commuters trying to get off the train.
The semblance lasted till the train arrived.
Petroleum minister M Veerappa Moily travels by a Metro train to office in New Delhi
to save petrol. (PTI Photo)
So the process of 'form a queue, wait patiently and start an African war dance the moment train arrives' began all over again. However, I had become an expert at it by now and was successful in boarding the train.
Once I was inside the train, unlike the minister I was not lucky enough to be offered a seat. The very seat which Mr Moily declined -- because he wanted to travel like a 'commoner'.
Now Mr Minister, as an expert metro traveller, I can tell you that never, repeat never, refuse a seat. Nobody does that on the metro because a seat saves you from being trodden, pushed, pulled, elbowed, poked and a lot of other not very pleasant things.
Now, while getting down one has to follow the same war dance. Push everything in sight, elbow the little old lady in the front of you and growl every time someone complains about your aggressive behaviour.
If you follow these rules, you can be sure of making through the morning rush unscathed. And to make your journey all more pleasant, you can take an auto rickshaw to work when you finally get down at the last station. But that's not going to help your personal current account deficit very much.
Tomorrow, as recommended by Mr Moily, I will take the bus to work. I have warned my boss that I may never make it to office.
Petroleum minister M Veerappa Moily travels by a Metro train to office to save petrol in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)