“QUIRKY EXPERIENCES IN INDIAN TRAIN TRAVELS”
Arriving at the station late night, I was glad that the rains had just stopped. The roads were all clogged with water, and there were puddles to cross. Carrying luggage on shoulders I carefully jump over several pools of water before I get to the station. Humid as it was, I try to wipe the sweat away, but my wet clothes were quite bothersome. This wasn’t going to dry up any time soon, and the AC compartment wouldn’t help too. It was cold and windy, and the trains being late due to rains didn’t help my cause. After much delay my train reaches the platform, in the dead of the night.
The system of charts being pasted on the train doors long gone, I am left to the mercy of SMS from IRCTC to know my coach. My mobile was down without battery power and there was no way I could confirm my coach now without a printout, which I didn’t have. Still I was braving it thinking my memory would serve me right.
But I did make a cardinal mistake since there were many AC coaches in that train and I had to figure it out. I began my hunt for the TTE who may possibly see his chart and let me have the details. But all he would say is get into the coach and I will help you figure it out. Saying this he disappeared leaving me out in the cold.
I am now left with a minute at the station to board the train and I am confused. Still I walk up to an AC coach that I think I should. It is here my trouble multiplies. The doors are closed. There is no way I could open from outside, perhaps because someone from inside has put on the safety lock as well. I try opening the door frantically, running from one AC compartment door to another. I try to bang the door so that someone from inside will listen and open the door. None came forward and my pleas fell on deaf ears.
With the signal given and train hooting, I had almost given up hope. I was just moments away from missing the train. I was terribly sweating by now. No it’s not the humidity to blame this time. All of a sudden it starts raining heavily and moving from door to door and coach to coach banging the door, was getting increasingly difficult. Did the heavy rains make people short of hearing the banging on the doors?
Also read: Unscheduled Halts Irksome #BlogchatterA2Z
Still I wouldn’t give up. My banging became louder and louder. I felt this was not a done thing. Perhaps an inner sense was telling me that people are not opening the doors out of safety concerns, and even though I did see one of them move the curtains to see what’s happening, but didn’t bother to come and open the door. However I was livid that AC attendant too felt it unwise to open the door.
At the very last moment a railway police official notices me, and starts speaking to someone on the wireless. The official signaled that I calm down and things would be fine. To my good fortune a TTE emerges from one of the coaches, and lets me in. I was thunderstruck for a few moments unable to understand why the railways are putting several passengers to great difficulty by not pasting the charts on the train doors. Making the travel paperless is one thing, putting the passengers to great difficulty is altogether another. I will write about insufficient air-conditioning in one my upcoming posts.