Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Rajdhani Express (from Rajdhani Express)

Note 1: I am posting this from Rajdhani Express.

Note 2: I realised that since I have come to Bangalore, I have not done any train journey at all! Specifically Rajdhani Express, it's been almost 8 years since I boarded one. It is the one thing that the Indian Railways gets right after-all (apart from Palace on Wheels, I suppose). I used to absolutely love the experience as a kid. They used to serve soup-sticks with soup. Soup-sticks! On a train! Must have that experience again. I am on an epic 34-hour journey from Delhi to Bangalore. On Rajdhani Express.

I reached the Hazrat Nizamuddin station in Delhi well in advance. I went to my platform, my train was waiting for me. How sweet! I checked the passenger chart pasted beside the entrance of my coach 'B8', not to confirm my name on the chart, but for a more customary glance to scout for 'F22' to 'F26' "fellow" passengers. This is the reason I had booked a 3rd AC ticket as against a 2nd AC ticket. You have 5 fellow passengers in 2nd AC, but 7 fellow passengers in 3rd AC. I was merely hoping to tilt 'Law of averages' in my favour. If it worked, imagine a cute girl sitting next to you with nowhere to go and no-one to talk to but you for 34 hours. Thirty, four, hours! I could have then let my charm do the rest.

As luck would have it, most of my co-passengers are > 'M45'. Worse, there is a family travelling with an ever-curious 8-year old kid travelling ALL the way to Bangalore with me. The annoying kid began asking his dad weird questions, which apparently pissed off his dad, even. The kid wanted to know a real-time answer to "Papa, train ki speed kitni hai abhi?", asked every two minutes. The geek in me made me tell the dad that there was an android app which he could install on his phone which tells the exact speed using GPS. Indirectly, my way of telling the kid to STFU. Thank goodness for the invention of GPS. One annoying kid shut up. And as if fate hadn't already had all the fun with me, there were two cute girls, my age, sitting bang in the next compartment. I smiled at them, they ignored me, life moved on. I realised that my coach was a bait rather than a 'B8', and I had fallen into its trap.

The clock struck 8:50 PM, and the train moved. Woah! ON TIME?! Like I said, the one thing Indian Railways gets right.

As soon as the train started, the staff jumped to action, and oh boy, first up, soup with soup-sticks! Paisa wasool already! While sipping my soup, I realised that a train journey is so much more comfortable than air travel. You have ample space to sleep, eat, stretch, relax. Plus, for people who smoke, there are two excellent smoking lounges (read: toilets) on both sides of the coach! If only the staff who served food looked like their Indian air-travel counterpart:

So, after a proper three-course dinner, I took out my laptop, and aptly for the moment, decided to watch a romantic comedy - 'The Princess Bride'. Nothing much about the movie, except that I found parts of the movie mildly annoying. It did though answer something for me which I have been thinking about since I started watching 'Sherlock'. Remember the pilot episode? In which the cabbie has pills in two containers in front of him, one of them poisoned and the other not, and our hero has to deduce which one is poisonous and has to make his pick. Well, the case gets solved, cabbie is killed (apologies for the spoiler), but we never find out which was the correct choice. The exact same game is played in 'The Princess Bride', with a solution that is both plausible and mind-boggling, even in the context of 'Sherlock', which made the movie worthwhile.

Another equally awesome discovery I made on this trip was Alpenliebe Mangofillz, which they served with the evening snacks. Oh. My. God. I haven't had a candy so full of joy in a LONG time. Smooth, delicious, filled with raw mango awesomeness! I am going to buy me a jar as soon as I reach Bangalore!

About 12 hours of my journey to go, which includes a movie or two, and another awesome dinner, until Bangalore...

Rajdhani Express (from Rajdhani Express)...


  1. hahaha... "I smiled at them, they ignored me and life moved on" ..i love these small snippets

  2. Bait rather than B8..!! haha..exactly my put it into words!!

  3. so beautifully described. I liked the way you have narrated it. I can surely link some of the things with my experiences as well.

  4. I smiled at them, they ignored me, life moved on....... Good sense of humour... 👍👍