For long the finance minister of India, P. Chidambaram was in for a torrid time on social media when he tweeted about the price of coffee and tea at the Chennai airport on Sunday. Not averse to trolling the politico, people made fun of him for being out of touch with prices of things nowadays. PC may have been unaware of the high prices of tea, coffee, beverages and food at airports where franchisees pay fancy rents to take stalls because he probably does not have to pay for them if he is using the VIP lounge. Well, everything is free at that lounge for its users.
The cup of coffee with a price tag of Rs 180 or hot water with a tea bag at Rs 150 might have come as a shock to the lawyer-politician but social media users let him have it. Some did remind him that if he so much as took a short walk to the end of the airport, he could buy a real cup of steaming hot filter coffee at Sangeethas for a much lesser price and actually enjoy the brew. With thousands of people responding to his tweets on tea and coffee, the former finance minister may have had a self-imposed reality check on how air passengers suffer high prices for everything.
The former FM is still accustomed to being received everywhere he goes by his personal transport, in New Delhi and Chennai and elsewhere too. But air passengers in need of a 12 to 15 km ride to the city were held to ransom by the sole taxi stand franchisee which charges a flat Rs 500 even to South Chennai. It is only now that special space has been marked out where Uber and Ola users can meet their designated cabs and get home for half that cost. So, maybe one day if PC does take a taxi ride home in Nungambakkam, he might be in for another reality check on how air passengers suffer. And then, of course, there is GST and what not on the beverages that cheer but not inebriate.