Dear Mr Modi
This letter is from me and lakhs of other travellers who are in a love-hate relationship with the travelling conditions in India. Hearing you speak about India’s garbage problem the day you won the elections has somehow given us a hope. Of better and easier travel. To make it easier for you, here’s the list of our top woes.
1) Trains tickets in India! Easy?
Can we please have an IRCTC website that works, somewhat faster? Anything that gives us a confirmed ticket and not one of the answers in the photo above (same answers even when it’s not “tatkal”). World’s largest railway network’s website ought to be efficient.
2) Litter Litter Everywhere.
Yes Sir, this is one problem that we all choose to ignore. Right from the stinking lanes of Darjeeling and heaps of garbage on far flung treks to the filth that sits outside the Taj Mahal, we have had enough of it. Stringent garbage disposal rules please. Also, we are sick of the stench that comes from the more solitary corners, the unofficial urinals of our monuments.
3) Safe Adventure Sports.
Paragliding, Sky Diving, Base Jump and more, India has got it all. Sadly, a majority of organisers do not have a license for such sports! More than sad, it’s a harrowing experience to realise that you are doing that sky jump with a trainer who does not have a license. More like sitting in a train that has no engine brakes.
4) Stop to Vandalism.
We are sick of walking inside century old forts, monuments and even treks that look more like graffiti gone bad. An increase in security checks and stringent rules might just be the stop for lovers and the likes who are itching to leave their signatures around.
5) Safer travel for women
You see that map Sir? More specifically, India’s stature in it. However crude it may sound, India’s biggest travel woe is directly proportional to how women are treated in the country. Travelling around India should not have essentials like a male tour guide, pepper spray, stun guns and more. We are not at war Sir. Can you make us feel the same?
6) Breaking traditions, the wrong ones.
Talking of a rich culture and all that high heady feeling that comes with it, we have somehow forgotten the science of nature. While no other country would have allowed mega power projects in a buffer zone (I’m talking about River Teesta and its surroundings at Sikkim), there’s no stopping the senseless destruction. We studied in Class V that offerings like flowers in a river will suck the oxygen out of it, killing all marine life. Can we have anybody with some brains heading the tourism ministry?
7) An efficient, more organised and fixed travel infrastructure.
While bargaining is the magic word for India, we need a concrete, better infrastructure for travellers. It can be as simple as fixing fare slabs for all the cabs around the country and inducting trained travel guides. Or ensuring that every Indian state has a travel website that works. Simple is always more fascinating.
8) More Awareness Campaigns
We travellers loved what Aamir Khan said in the Incredible India campaign, hoping that it made some change. While Indians are one of the most friendly people in the world (too friendly with foreigners, forgetting the theory of polite distance), a few such awareness campaigns wouldn’t hurt us. Being more hospitable equals more foreign tourists. And then, we can always pump back the dollars and crowns back into tourism development.
We sincerely hope that this open letter reaches you. And you take it with the same sincerity. India as a travel destination is magic Sir, let’s not rub away the charm.
A traveller in love with India
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