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Wed Jul 18 08:51:04 IST
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Blog Entry# 3260833
Posted: Apr 01 (21:03)

6 Responses
Last Response: Apr 14 (08:32)
Apr 01 (21:03)   12432/Hazrat Nizamuddin - Thiruvananthapuram Central Rajdhani Express

adityaleo~   132 blog posts   62 correct pred (82% accurate)
Entry# 3260833            Tags   Past Edits
1 compliments
Nicely written
Continued from Part 1...
The journey [Day 1 (25.3.2018) from H. Nizamuddin to Vadodara Jn]:
The majestic Trivandrum Rajdhani gradually chugged out from H. Nizamuddin at 10.59 a.m. with the customary jerk. I settled down in coupe B on the lower berth and started a casual chat with my co-passenger, an old uncle who was travelling all the way to Trivandrum. I really envied him, to be travelling almost the entire length of India, to enjoy the comfort of the Rajdhani for 42 hours to be precise. I had the options of flying
from Delhi to Goa, so many people would question me the reason for taking the train. Well, the reasons for travelling on the train are manifold:
1. Trains have always been my favourite. Even today, given the availability of time, I would prefer a train over a flight. There is a feeling of comfort, a feeling of being at home when travelling on the train.
2. Passengers on the train are generally warm and friendly, and the atmosphere within a train resembles more of a family, especially so when the journey is long. On the contrary, flights generally involve confining to one's own self, without speaking to anyone. While trains exude warmth, flights demand formality. There is nothing inappropriate in both the two, its just a way of seeing things.
3. Food on the trains (at least the ones which I have travelled), has generally been pleasing to the palate. Coming from a family which loves food, this matters a lot to me.
4. Long train journeys provide me the time to catch up on reading and writing material, something which I generally find difficult in the routine affairs at home. These journeys are the right escapades to dig myself into material or catch up on some movies, which otherwise I cannot do in the course of my day-to-day activities.
As the train crossed Okhla picking up speed, the pantry staff provided us with the Sunday Times of India Delhi edition, and a refreshing welcome drink - packed 'masala chaas' by Mother Diary. Uncle and myself sipped the drink, and it was indeed tasty. The train had gathered speed now, and was speeding past Faridabad, Ballabh Garh, Asaoti, predictably approaching MPS. The mighty WAP was unleashing its power for what it was worth. The journey, the speed, though not felt much during the journey, was punctuated by rather abrupt, sudden jerks due to braking. Its a bit uncomfortable, but it will feel very uncomfortable if one is using the washrooms or standing without holding on to a support. These jerks were to be part of my 25.50 hours journey, and it really did not matter much to me. After crossing Palwal, TTE came in our coupe to check our tickets. He just heard our names, and after hearing uncle's name and peeping into the chart, he told that uncle was allotted a lower berth in cabin D. Uncle was very glad to move onto the lower berth, and imagine my excitement when I came to know I had the entire coupe to myself for the entire journey. It virtually became a travelling room, the kind that Shahrukh Khan had on Swades, a caravan minus the washroom.! This solitude however came with its share of minor hiccups. Every time I had to leave the coupe to use the washroom, I would have to put my cell phone, iPad, wallet and other valuables in the bag and lock it, and again unlock the bag after returning to the coupe. With uncle in my compartment, it would have been fairly easier. Nevertheless, that is fine. After helping uncle move his luggage into cabin D (he was travelling light), I gazed outside through the huge window to see the Delhi city slowly fade away and the countryside gently welcoming us. It was as if the nature was beckoning us to leave the city and enjoy and bathe in the beauty that this nature has to offer. I love the sight of a cosmo/metropolis fading into oblivion as the countryside takes over. I myself come from a small town called Margao,situated in Goa, and the lifestyle in our town is quite different from that of a metropolis. As I gazed outside, our train overtook the late running Jhelum express and a freight train at MPS, I was enjoying the speed, it gave me thrills. At this point, the pantry staff began serving soups. I got my soup tray, which contained a soup bowl and plate bearing the 'Meals on Wheels' logo, 2 soup sticks, an Amul butter chiplet, iodised salt and pepper sachets and a tissue, with a hot min-flask containing vegetable soup. The soup was hot and tasty, and the quantity served was very good. The customary jerks made it a bit difficult to have food without spilling it over. Nevertheless the soup was relished and done away with, and I once again began peeping out of the window.
At this point, around 12.15-12.20 p.m., the train started slowing down. I began wondering the reason, and my question was soon answered when I saw that we were entering onto Mathura Junction. Rajdhani was made to halt for about 2 minutes at Mathura Junction, predictably for a signal or a track switch. Since the coach was at the rear, I missed most of the visual delights that a railway platform has to offer. Nevertheless, after the halt, the train once again resumed its pace, and moved onto the Kota-Vadodara line. 12.30 p.m. had passed, and I began reading the newspaper that was offered to us. The Sunday Times has a lot of colourful things to offer, containing news and entertainment, sensationalized and packaged for the Indian reader. As I was lost in reading the newspaper, or rather the news booklet, since it containing a host of supplements, my stomach started rumbling due to hunger. I checked my phone to see that it was 1.15 p.m., and I began wondering when would lunch be served, especially since it had been over an hour since we were served soup. Quite predictably, the food trays began getting laid. The tray table was pulled out, and my food was served to me in several bowls neatly wrapped in aluminum foil. Being a vegetarian, I was served mutter paneer, aloo gobhi dry vegetable, phulkas, rice and dal. I dived into the phulkas and the vegetables, which were reasonably good in taste and hot and fresh. The pantry staff were continuously making rounds of all the cabins serving food and asking for additional servings. I opted for the dry vegetable and another set of 3 phulkas, which was served neatly wrapped in the foil. We were cruising along the countryside, having entered the state of Rajasthan. The rice could have been cooked better, but coming around, rice in hotels is generally nothing much to appreciate either. The dal was reasonably good. Having completed the lunch, the pantry staff collected the trays and served Amul vanilla ice cream. Having had lunch, it was 2.15 p.m., time for an afternoon siesta, and so I made my bed and went off to sleep, a content appetite, none to disturb and the assurance of reaching home soon.
I woke up at around 3.25 p.m. to the slow speed of the Rajdhani. It was easily understandable that we were near Kota Jn. The train finally pulled in onto Kota at around 3.35 p.m. Adjacent to my coupe, in cabin A, a family was travelling with a sweet labrador. It was so disciplined, I never came to know that a dog was travelling on the train, that too in my adjacent cabin itself, until I saw the passengers taking it out for a walk on the platform. It was not even sedated, and it was the cutest dog I ever saw!! Kota was a silent station, there was not much activity, and our train had probably pulled into the penultimate platform. But it was so hot.!! Being seated in AC classes, we cannot gauge the temperature outside, but the fact remains, that the temperatures are rising quite fast. Looking at the people on the platform, the homeless and the not-so-well-to-do people, I felt a bit guilty myself of enjoying the privileges to myself. Shrugging this feeling behind I moved into my coupe. With its customary jerk, the train commenced its forward journey to its destination.
I took out some of my presentations to keep myself abreast with the GST updates that had been announced recently. Being in a financial profession, the strides taken recently are manifold to process, and the routine nature of our life gives us very less time to devote to dedicated self study. For about an hour I immersed myself in the legal updates that were prepared by learned professionals. At around 5 p.m., the pantry staff came in with the evening snacks and tea kit. Since I do not take tea, I returned the tea kit, and focused my attention to the snacks. Out of all the meals I had on the train, probably the evening snack was the only meal which I would recommend skipping. The snack comprised of a cheese sandwich (which is basically a cheese slice between a piece of triangular sliced bread, edible), oil containing a kachori(!!, too oily and certainly to be avoided at all costs, the pack containing the oiled kachori was totally soaked in oil) and a soan cake (which served as a consolation for the oily kachori, a satndardised packed product, but too sweet and very heavy on the palate). All in all, the snack was not that great a delicacy. Having completed the snack, I resumed my reviewing updates and pouring into my books. At around 6.10 p.m., the train became a bit slow, and I glanced out of the window to view the reason, and I noticed that Nagda Junction had arrived and we were skipping it at a brisk pace, but not at MPS. We overtook a train here, could not read the board because of the speed of our train, and the Rajdhani slowly picked up speed once again. After about 25 minutes, the speed of the train was considerably reduced, much below what it was at Nagda, and I kept my books aside and felt that the train may stop. Having journeying on this route the first time, I didn't know which station was coming. But I finally saw the Ratlam cabin board, and for a second was reminded of the Jab We Met film where the protagonists halted in the city of Ratlam in the course of the film. I was quite certain that the train would halt, the speed was so slow, and hence I moved to the door. However, the Rajdhani very lovingly and tenderly caressed the platform of Ratlam Junction, but bid farewell without halting for a second. Skipping such a major junction was the first time I was witness to, and the manner in which the train skipped the station was really amazing.
Once the train crossed Ratlam, it started getting dark and the visibility outside was reduced to zero. I whipped out my iPad and started to watch Ocean's Twelve, a movie which I had downloaded for the journey. Very interesting in its storyline about a heist by a group of conmen, the movie was quite engrossing though a bit slow compared to the current movies. As I was watching the movie, time fled by and at 7.30 p.m., the pantry staff once again came out with the soup kit, this time with wonderful tomato soup made to perfection. It was the best tomato soup I ever had on a train journey! Following the soup, the pantry staff started offering the dinner trays. I had opted for a continental dinner, and it contained noodles, boiled vegetables and macaroni with brown bread and an Amul butter chiplet. Strictly speaking, the food was not excellent, but by railway standards, I admit that the food was cooked to near perfection. The Indian dinner contained the usual paneer masala, aloo simla mirch dry vegetable, dal, chawal and roti, which I gave a skip to try continental. Thankfully, it was light on the stomach, as I had requested more boiled vegetables and very less noodles and macaroni. The food was served piping hot, and it really felt home made. At the end, the usual Amul ice cream dessert was served to all the passengers. It was 9 p.m. by the time the dinner was complete, and I resumed Oceans Twelve.
By the time Oceans Twelve got over, the train had reduced in speed, noticing that it was 10.20 p.m., I sensed that we were near Vadodara. Quite predictably, the passengers with the dog were at the door, to take the dog for a walk on the platform. Slowly, steadily and gently, the Rajdhani pulled into Vadodara at 10.25 p.m. Adjacent to our platform, the Mumbai Central-H. Nizamuddin August Kranti Rajdhani express was standing, which departed after about 5 minutes of our arrival. It gave me fond memories of my first ever trip on a Rajdhani in February, 2010. I still remember the coach number A4 Seat No. 23 of that journey, and the spic and span cleanliness and the food served on the Rajdhani had left me wanting to do a journey from NZM to my hometown. This meeting of the two trains brought back all those memories, and I smiled gently to myself. Soon after the departure of the August Kranti, the Maharaja express train pulled in onto the same platform. Our Rajdhani halted for a good 25 minutes, given the fact that the loco was changed to diesel, and the speed of the train would now not be the way it was from H. Nizamuddin to Vadodara. We departed Vadodara at 10.50 p.m. I made my bed and after locking the coupe door, slept off at 11.15 p.m., with the gentle vibrations of the wheels and the music of the tracks caressing me to sleep like a mother sings to her baby and puts it to sleep! I slept, with the happiness that the following morning would be the journey in my territory, my home zone, aamchi Konkan, Radjahni madhye!!!
Journey of Day 2 to continue....
PS: Sorry for the week long delay in writing the travelogue, work kept me busy due to the year end!! Hope to complete Day 2 (part 3 of the travelogue) of the journey soon!! Thanks everyone for reading the travelogue.

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