It would seem that Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav has a little more on his menu for us. And it’s something we can really get our teeth into. The Southern Railways’ success in flagging off three trains that were up for branding is being fuelled by, wait for it, addictive munchies. The minister, known for knocking them down in the aisles with his business acumen, had invited megacorps to lend their brand to his trains. And snack food giant Frito-Lay has outbid other corporate giants to buy ad space on trains for perhaps the first time in India’s history. The result is a re-christening of three summer-special trains — the Bangalore-Nagercoil Kurkure Express, the Yeshwanthpur-Chennai Kurkure Express and Bangalore-Hubli Kurkure Express.
The deal is that Kurkure, which are spicy chips, will be mentioned in all the paraphernalia associated with a train journey. In return, the sponsor will help in the upkeep of trains. The issue that’s leaving a bitter aftertaste is that sponsorship will take the poetic imagery out of the trains’ names. Could these be gripes from fanatical followers of health foods, for whom the very mention of Kurkure is considered below one’s station? Well, whatever the case may be, the revenue from such munching will guard against a resource crunch.
Mr Yadav has shown that even in branding, his taste is not far different from the common man’s. Come to think of it, he is kind of kurkure, isn’t he?