“QUIRKY EXPERIENCES IN INDIAN TRAIN TRAVELS”
Sitting in front of the computer, I wait with bated breath for the opening time for tatkal booking in the IRCTC website. I have an urgent trip coming up and an important one at that. Keeping my eyes peeled for the clock that turned 9.59am, the wait for login was a restless one. Just then someone had to ask me a question. My mind was very clear. Any conversation would have to be only after the tatkal booking is over. At 9.58am I login to test check to see if things are working fine. There was no sign of anything going wrong. All set, i felt. In a moment it should be a job done.
Time for login at 10am and IRCTC site doesn’t open on my regular browser. Frantically opening windows in different browsers, I began hoping that one of them will open faster than the rest. The site in each browser shows up a blue image going in circles possibly for eternity. I keep the details, to key in, ready at hand. But all of this will work only if the site opens. Feverishly tapping the space bar on the keyboard, I am determined not to let my laptop hang. My chance of a successful tatkal booking hangs by a thin thread as time ticks by.
Also read: Trip Down Memory Lane #BlogchatterA2Z
Finally yes, the login happens. I am short of expressing joy the way a bowler does upon taking a wicket or batsman does after a century. So much suspense endured before the site opens. But soon reality bites. For starters I am left to search for stations. How would I know Hospet is now Hosapete? Well that’s the place you get off on way to Hampi. To make matters worse, IRCTC site took me to the general booking page, leaving me to fend for myself and search for the tatkal drop down. I wasn’t conversant with tatkal booking and felt I am done in by the system. Every second counted, and by the time I crossed a few more hurdles and got to the booking payments page, only a couple of berths remained.
But I haven’t yet seen the end of troubles with my booking process. At the payment process stage, I am asked to fill in a captcha, and additionally by asking further questions about my identification. Since the bank’s server was not reachable, payment’s denied. Later it turns out that I am charged for payment denial. Moving from one payment gateway to another was a comedy of sorts. Finally after repeated attempts, the screen says debited by bank, as it took endless moments to move back to merchant’s page. Have I got the berth or not? By now my patience was tested to its limits.
Also read: Moments In Many Journeys #BlogchatterA2Z
My worst fears come true. By the time the merchant’s page is back, the ticket is not booked and goes to waitlist. The payment made, but reservation not available. I am sure this resonates with many who have tried their hand at tatkal bookings. For this journey though, I am forced to opt to travel, by another connecting train, given the urgency.
Why is it that a person who pays much more than the normal ticket fare isn’t given the fair treatment when it comes to emergency ticket booking. The railways have got their priorities wrong on the quota mix. I will cover the issue of travelling on general ticket in a later post of mine.