“QUIRKY EXPERIENCES IN INDIAN TRAIN TRAVELS”
The heat was killing and none could escape the severe perspiration. Looking for a place to sit at the station, the lack of proper seating arrangement came to the fore on everyone’s mind. Some began walking restlessly through the length of the platform. Standing at the edge of the platform some people looked at either side of the tracks hoping to sight the engine. Adding to the tension, the indicators showed one train coming and a different train came in. The announcers however did make the amends. But this created a problem.
Never before have I witnessed such a mad unruly rush to enter a reserved coach. It’s summer holidays and the station overcrowded. My train came in late and tested patience. The restlessness of the waiting passengers, with each passing moment, became evident. As soon as the coach doors opened, all hell broke loose. Each one wanted to be the first to enter. They barged in pushing aside the other with force. There were far too many at the door, all at the same time. None wanted to yield an inch.
The tension was understandable because the train was to depart a few minutes later. In the melee, none stopped to think, even for a moment. The darkness due to lights not switched on inside the coach heightened the tension. One fell over the other, making their way inside. Furthermore, people with luggages blocked the passageway of those who wanted to come in and settle down. With the green signal flashing and hooter sound buzzing, a few who still could not enter the coach, raised hell.
Not wanting to enter into the coach in such a rush, I waited for the appropriate moment to step in. But as the train began moving out, I had little choice but to burst in, even though by then the crowd at the door started to thin. Faced with a now or never situation, I knew entering the trailing AC coach was an option, as the next sleeper class coach came in four coaches away. The scenario of having to give a long explanation or pay a fine or both, loomed large. Out of the blue came the call by the TTE to enter the AC coach. He made my day, by even offering a berth in the AC coach, which I took by paying the difference. I am not going into the details of how much I paid. That’s for some other post.