I have been a regular commuter of Indian railways shuttling between New Delhi and Jammu quite often. My रेलगाड़ी story dates back to my college days when I used to travel in sleeper class on waitlisted or confirmed ticket. Those were the days when online booking facility from www.irctc.co.in was not born yet. We used to wake up at 06:00 in the morning and reach the reservation office at least an hour before the window open time. I still remember the time when I slept on the floor of the sleeper coach. I believe it was the joy of going home plus the ‘student bonus’ which pushes one to travel by sleeping on the floor. But today after 9 years I am so used to travelling in 3 tiers that I cannot think of travelling in sleeper class. Moreover the sleeper class scenario has changed today. Now second class which was used to be 9 years back has upgraded to sleeper class status. Sleeper class is now in lot of chaotic condition.
My travel escapade has been more of a 'Suffer' than comfortable 'सफ़र'. It has been a messy affair for me always. On one such journey from Jammu to Agra in Jhelum express, I had to forgo my gifted हिमाचली टोपी and tibetian jacket from 3rd AC coach. On another occasion, I forgot my glasses in train while de-boarding at New Delhi station. The best part is I always get confused with train numbers- Duronto express and Udhampur AC special to be in particular. These two trains run on alternate days from Udhampur on same time i.e 1920 hours. On one such fateful day I was waiting for Duronto express at Jammu Tawi station along with my father. The train didn't show up. On platform 3, Udhampur AC special arrived at 1915 hours. At 1915 hours my father asked me to check my ticket and to my surprise I had to be in platform 3. I made a mockery of myself. How can I be so careless? I promised not to repeat it again. But I made the same blunder again in a span of 1 month. Since that day I haven’t messed up so far with train numbers but I am not sure how long this will last ;).
We all are aware that consuming liquor in train is illegal but I want to confess that I drank twice and had one of a joyride. Many of us have travelled in Rajdhani train and we must have experienced that the person serving food will come at the end of the meal asking for सेव-पानी. Passengers will give away ten/twenty bucks either willingly/un-willingly. I too used to pay the person ten bucks but yesterday I realized this is wrong. Why should we pay the person? That is his work and he is getting paid for it. सेव-पानी amounts to corruption which we should avoid. Next time keep this in mind and bluntly refuse to pay anything. With all such messy affairs I love travelling by train because every-time I look back at my blunders, I smile at myself but I do learn and try to make it the last error in judgement.
P.S. Keep watching this space for more travel affairs. Do comment please.