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Friday, November 09, 2012

Math-Cab : It Happens only in Kolkata

Think of revising your maths in a Cab? Well, it happens only in Kolkata, as far as I have experienced.

People say that the best time to solve mathematical problems come in the calmness of the night or at dawn. In Kolkata, the fun comes hand-in hand with commotion and traffic snarl. Improvised and superlatively imposed by the Transport Ministry, Government of West Bengal, this November, a passenger has to multiply the displayed fare on the cab meter by 2.4 and then add Re. 1 to pay to the driver, who has meticulously made it a point to stop when the meter reads 17 or 19 or with digits that end with 3, 7 or 9. And then when you are in a hurry or get frustrated, you always have the option to round it up and pay the driver to the nearest higher multiple of 10!! Business optimized and achieved! The poor gets some black money and you lose some white. This, to add on, you avoid the cab and run for the bus, where the conductor is ever waiting to show you a Chi Square Chart, that you seldom understand and charge you more!

And then, it beats my imagination, as to why the digital meter donot display the actual fare and calculate it based on whatever equations they have. After all, it is digitized and no more manual. Previously too, you used to double and add Rs 2 to pay off! But, here, you are in a pit with 2.4 factor eating up your wallet/purse!

BODMAS (if pronounced in Bengali, means a crook), but in mathematics, well I better not explain! Or else I shall have to lose some elite readers of my blog!

Since fare hike, this is the third time I boarded the Taxi tonight. Coming back from a friend's place, my colleague Nandana and myself were on our way home, when I asked her that does she know about the new rule? On explaining, it as to "Double the meter reading and then add 20% of the reading and then  add Re 1 to arrive to your ride price!" Given her spontaneity, she murmured; "Tell me how to divide or bracket any thing?" I said, "No" and then on my way back home, after dropping her, I thought that this can be a good article to place, as to how we are sharpening our brain and keeping our neurons alive!

I have no issue with the hiked fare, but better put it correctly on the board! How do you expect to multiply 77 with 2.4 and then add 1, to pay up, when your cab driver has a new customer to the airport and you have to run back home as nature was calling!!! Legally it comes to Rs. 185.80p, which means I had to pay Rs. 186/- only. But with all these burdens on, horns blaring and stomach paining, I paid the driver Rs. 190/- to attend to my emergency! If it happens to me, it can happen to you!

So, its my request to the Transport Ministry to issue special programmed meters that can display the fare, fairly! We are good in maths and some economics, just that we can never be Aryabhatta or Chanakya by revising it in a Cab!!!

Somnath Paul Photography


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