Monday, October 26, 2009

The Tram Sermon

Sign I saw yesterday inside a Route 26 (Howrah-Gariahat) tram:
Sitting immobile is not encouraged.

As a rule, I don’t use this blog for pushing agendas, but on this post, since I have already brought up the topic of trams, I will make an exception.

As you probably know, Calcutta trams are in danger of being taken off the roads because very few commuters use them, the Calcutta Tramways Company is running up big losses, and tram tracks decrease road-space. If you live in Calcutta, please consider taking at least one tram ride a month. That is, if you are not in a hurry, and if there is a tram service on the route you intend to take. Maybe, in a few months, you will be taking tram rides for their own sake.

Trams are environment-friendly. They are insanely cheap (the highest fare on a first-class coach is Rs. 4.50). A tram ride is a great way to see the city. Even if you find buses too jerky for reading, you can read comfortably on a tram. They look nice – especially the old ones, because trams age gracefully. They even have foot gongs! How can you not love trams?

Trams are brontosaurs.

And if I have bored you with my Tram Sermon, to compensate, I hereby bring you two interesting links. The first is an essay titled Real Programmers Don't Use Pascal. Anasua, who sends me at least one brilliant link every fortnight, introduced me to it. The second is a story called This Is the Title of This Story, Which Is Also Found Several Times in the Story Itself. I found it through Language Log – the only website I know which can unleash something like the following passage on an unsuspecting public and get away with it.

Julian Bradfield […] gave a talk on the phonology and phonetics of the utterly spectacular Khoisan language sometimes known as "Taa" but more usually referred to (at least by those who can pronounce the voiceless postalveolar velaric ingressive stop [k!] followed by a high tone [o] and a nasalized [o], which Julian can) as !Xóõ.
So enjoy the links, take a tram ride once in a while, and mind your voiceless postalveolar velaric ingressive stop [k!]s.


Shrabasti Banerjee said...

Brontosaurs. :)

The Story killed me. Epicness. "Self-aware sentences" is the best thing I've heard in a while. And the fragments, hahaha. "Damn good device." :D

Rahul Saha said...

This is the secodn time I have come across a reference to Brontosaurs today. The first was in Bruce Chatwin's "In patagonia".

Aditi said...

ooo...i loved the trams!
its thrilling how they appear out of nowhere, intent on running you down and all you can do is stand rooted on the spot, saying your last prayers.
(well, at least thats what happened to me anyway. )
aside from that, i think trams are lovely, so quaint and old-fashioned.

Raktima said...

Oh, Sroyon, you would be so happy to know what came out in the front page of the newspaper today. They are revamping the whole tram industry in Kolkata, there will be more trams, they will be faster, and some may be air conditioned (although that probably means they won't be cheap any more). Someone visited Austria/France etc and decided on this scheme. So happy. \m/

Sroyon said...

Nice! Hopefully they'll be as likeable as the old ones!