“QUIRKY EXPERIENCES IN INDIAN TRAIN TRAVELS”
It isn’t very frequently that we go in search of facilities in a railway station beyond the normal needs of shops. More often than not, we search for a food plaza, for the usual dose of Idli, Vada, Dosa, and Upma or for a hot cup of Tea / Coffee. Still others who want to kill time go after bookshop, to check out on the latest newspapers and magazines. Yet others go after search of air pillow or lock and keys. Yet there are a few travel needs that matter, but are conspicuous by its absence, causing much discontent. Here I share a few such experiences of mine, which may find consonance with a few others too.
Reaching station I realized I failed to bring my purse. Making frantic calls to people back home I had my purse issue sorted in time. Still the need to pay for my cab remained as I had no cash on my person. It took me sometime to gather myself as to what to do next. That I didn’t have the usual digital payment option only added to my predicament. A friend arriving in time, saved me an embarrassment.
By providence I had the debit card with me and thought it saved my day. Nevertheless, inside the station I couldn’t find an ATM, however much I searched for one. I asked a few coolies around, but they threw up their hands. To quicken the pace I asked the station manager who said there is no such facility inside station. I walked nearly 200 mtrs away to the nearest ATM only to find it dysfunctional. That very moment I felt like air sucked out of me and felt terribly let down. Can’t the railways extend a basic facility, to make life of the paying public easier? The heat of the day told on me, as I seethed with anger.
Purse in hand, I did the rounds to search for a medical store, since a person traveling with me, fell sick. The person needed paracetamol tablets to keep fever in check and sadly not one medical store within the railway station. I began to think aloud on the fate of passengers with illness, pain and other difficulties. If crucial medicine is not available on platforms, it reflects a sad state of affairs, on what the railways think on passenger amenities.
I guess the issues faced holds good for nearly every station across the country. Are we paying for just the seat and berth or are we paying for a travel experience with the railways? After all the fares of the first AC and sometimes second AC, are just a shade under air fares. It is time railways seriously pay attention to these critical issues.