Tuesday, September 13, 2011

10 and a half hours of absolute carnage...

... in the mind, that is..

It's understood that Indian Railways will be late for some reason or the other. And honestly, they cannot be blamed for this. India's climate changes as frequently as the people in India shouts for change !! And planning against such a climate is extremely difficult. It was on one such occasion that I decided to avail Indian Railway's service to go to Kerala from Mumbai...

Image: ME
Date: Sometime in September.
Location: Thane.

We reached the station 1 hour early (eternal optimist, I know). The moment we reached, we were greeted with an announcement. It seems the guy informing us through the public address system was talking to himself or to someone near him. No one could hear a word of what he was saying !! But as they say, we Indians never give up. We tried to make sense of the announcement and after discussing it with fellow passengers, we came to the conclusion that the train is late by 5 hours. 

Here's how we concluded: I asked a passenger about the announcement. He said he couldn't understand anything but definitely heard 'five hours'. I said, I heard the word 'late'. And trust me, this is the ONLY way we made our conclusion. Here's something the Indian Railways should improve. We then went back to our house. Some were unfortunate though. Travelling all the way back with their luggage and coming back is more tedious than waiting 5 hours for the train to arrive.

Anyways, we reached the station for the second time; and that too 1 hour early (Ohh yeah, eternal optimist again). That's when we heard another announcement - the derived conclusion was that the train is again late by 4 hours (that's a total of 9 hours already). By the way, are all the announcements negative in context?? Can we have a positive announcement for a change?? Ironically, there were positive announcements, but I was not part of the happy lot !! This time we decided to stay back in the station. Its not as if we didn't have any option. Air travel was one of them. But then I came to know that the Mumbai runway was closed till 11pm that day !! (when its not your day, its just not your day). 5pm crawled to 6, then 7, somehow reached 8. After 8, people were somewhat positive to realize that their wait was about to end. At about 08:55pm, we heard another announcement: Key words heard were 'Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (Kurla - starting station), 'not left', 'will inform', 'when it leaves'. I am sure now even you can derive a proper conclusion using the key words !!  

This information kept on repeating itself after every 15 minutes. I personally had given up. I lost all hope I had in the railways. There was a time, during my school days, when I used to wait for summer vacations to travel to Kerala by train. I used jump onto the top berth, and stay there for most of the time, used to even have my lunch / dinner over there !! All those moments were fading away thanks to one bad experience.  

And finally, the fat lady sang.. Or was that the fat guy... How will I ever come to know who is announcing?? Anyways, that one announcement of good news finally came.. After around 10 and a half hours of tiring, cursing (not vocally though), despair, hopelessness, here I am.. Finally inside the train..

One wish that might never be answered: Wish there was no politics in allotting new trains in parts of India other than the Union Railway Ministers' constituency.

My journey had just begun...


  1. hehe i remembr we once went to dis God forsaken place named 'bandha' in UP n d train actually deposited up onsite half an hour EARLY!
    n v were stranded on d station cos d folks to pick us up hadn yet arrived :D

    bon voyage! :)

  2. its ridiculous.. i have also gone thru the same phase once in ma life.. i can sense ur feelings... its pity of our system !!

  3. @Sadiya: You went through a different and happy experience, 1/2 hr early is fine yaar.. :D

    @Vinod: The experience is really bad !! In my case, this delay happened due to a land slide in Ratnagiri (I was told) and hence all the trains moving through Konkan Railway was late.. Unfortunate !!

  4. Well, it happens in our country most of the times. Once I rushed to railway station in January cold to board Janshatabdi which was 6 hours late. Great post, love reading it!!!

  5. @Saru: I agree yaar.. Its part and parcel of Indian commuting.. I am sure many of us have gone through such experiences..

  6. The Pothole in Kerala wait for you! Make sure that u keep urself properly balanced when u travel by auto or bus here...ur spine bearings might just vanish.

  7. @Red Handed: I already visited Kerala last week yaar... You are right, potholes were waiting for me :D Was an experience, I tell you !!


All yours..

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