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E-Highway To Heaven

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Where skybuses, bullet trains, e-highways, seaplanes, underwater metros, driverless cars, tireless scooters, two-wheeled tricycles, will be crisscrossing each other at high speeds

Where skybuses, bullet trains, e-highways, seaplanes, underwater metros, driverless cars, tireless scooters, two-wheeled tricycles, will be crisscrossing each other at high speeds

For the last couple of weeks, there’s just been one word in my head. Travel. Travel. Travel. And how close our ancient culture is to the way people commuted in the Star Trek, Star Wars and Maya Bazaar of my youth. And these vivid fantasies about the near future have been spurred by the slew of glorious reports from our transport ministry.

(I have to confess here that I am an unabashed fan of our transport minister, and wrote a moving piece elaborating on his proposal of using Indian musical instruments to improve the sound of our vehicular horns.)

These, fellow travel buffs, are just some of the fantastic developments in store for us in the coming days.

While addressing a recent event, Gadkariji said, “I want to start skybuses from Dhaula Kuan to Manesar and later extend it to Sohna to reduce traffic and pollution.”

What is a skybus, you ask? Don’t be daft. It’s a bus, okay? And it goes in the sky, dammit. That’s all I need to know.

At another venue, the transport minister said “With full faith I want to say that petrol will vanish from the country after five years.” That, to me, is brilliant news. Instead of our money vanishing at the speed of light, it is that dastardly petrol that will vanish. Take that, petrol! I can’t think of a single thing that would make me happier, other than news of Ambujam aunty’s upcoming arangetram being cancelled.

Then came news that travelling from Chennai and Bengaluru will soon take only two hours when the new green expressway between the two cities is completed. You know what that means, right? When I host my next grand party in Adyar, Chennai, guests from Yelahanka, Bengaluru, will arrive before those from Thiruvanmiyur.

Barely had I got over the delirium of these tidings, when I was pounded in the gut with the delightful announcement that we are going to have our first e-highway very soon. Meaning vehicles that travel on this highway will be provided power via overhead electrical cables.

All this has put my travel plans in fifth gear. What fun holidays are going to be. I’m so looking forward to taking the skybus wearing my skysuit. I just can’t wait to see the uniforms of the skybus hostesses though. I am hoping they will be dressed like the apsaras of yore who took care of hospitality on our pushpaka vimanams.

Then, as we zoom through the sky sipping on chilled thandai, we will look down on the electrically powered bullock carts speeding below us on the e-highway and laugh and laugh about the days we used to buy petrol at exorbitant rates. When one of the speeding bullock carts suddenly disappears through a big hole that has suddenly appeared in the highway, will we fret? No. You know why? Because it’s all planned. The e-powered bullock cart will land safely on our wondrous country’s first ever underwater metro service (which has been announced, too, hurray!) operating just below the e-highway, ride seamlessly atop the speeding train and emerge, with no loss whatsoever in transit time, out of the next convenient hole in the e-highway, get a fresh jolt of high-voltage electricity, and zoom off without missing a beat, sometimes in the opposite direction.

Skybuses, bullet trains, e-highways, seaplanes, underwater metros, driverless cars, tireless scooters, two-wheeled tricycles, jet-propelled meen vandis, headless horsemen – all crisscrossing each other at high speeds, I don’t know about you, but my bags are packed.

Krishna Shastri Devulapalli is a satirist. He has written four books and edited an anthology.



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