I am one of those innumerable people who have been driven to the end of their wits and made to split hairs attempting to book a ticket (under the Tatkal scheme) through the Indian Railways’ website, popularly known as IRCTC. While making an unsuccessful attempt recently, waiting with nail biting anxiety, sitting at the edge of my seat, I was wondering why this website cannot be put to better use than for simply booking train tickets – which in any case has a success ratio of only one in a gazillion!
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I could think of only some of the uses like below. Those who can give more such suggestions are most welcome. We can compile all these ideas and send them as a petition to the Ministry of Railways.
1. Students who are anxious about their approaching exams or exam results can be made to book a ticket through IRCTC, especially under Tatkal, which can show them what real pressure is all about and put them at ease about their examinations or results.
2. A person who has made a proposal to his/her beloved and is quite anxious about her/his acceptance can be asked to book a ticket via IRCTC, under Tatkal, to help him/her overcome that pressing anxiety.
3. Anti-social elements can use the website for gambling. A person who makes 10 bookings in a row, without any time outs, disconnections, system or communication errors, can be given an award of one lakh rupees! Wait a minute, doesn’t this sound like a lucrative betting business? Any volunteers for partnering with me?
4. Any politician, who is out of favour with the people and media, can use this website as a reason to go on fast or agitation, demanding the improvisation of the website. Trust me, he/she will fetch more votes in the next election that he/she contests.
5. An adamant/arrogant/egoistic person can be given a challenge to book a ticket through this website. Trust me, this will definitely put him/her in his/her rightful place.
6. We can include the design of this website in the academic syllabus for Computer Engineering students under the topic “How not to run a website”.
7. We can use this website for meditation or concentration practice. Ask any person who has attempted to book a ticket – s/he will tell you how calm, still and motionless one is supposed to sit staring at the monitor, uttering those miniature prayers within for the success of the attempt!
8. We can form a commission to study the structure of the website and give suggestions for improving it. In that manner, we can provide jobs for the next five years to some retired government employees who need financial support.
9. We can use this website in the campaign against population increase. We can educate people that this is what will happen when such a huge population tries to access and attain such a limited resource!
10. When Microsoft Windows proudly brags so much about its ‘blue screen of death’, we Indians can tell them that we have our own version of the ‘white screen of dread’, i.e., ‘Service unavailable’.
11. And, to wrap it all up, the IRCTC’s failure to maintain a proper website can feed idle people like me with something to make fun of and write about!
I have many more suggestions, but let me rest for a while as I am exhausted after my attempt to book my tickets through IRCTC. I will refresh myself and return soon with more ideas!