After a long time I was once again lucky citizen to face wrath of Indian Railways. My Ordeal started at 10:00 when I tried booking Tatkal ticket utilizing my poor 3G airtel sim on my mobile. After 15 or 20 minutes I got in but nothing was left for me to do now. I then tried for another trains on that route that was Delhi Patna route. I was wishing to travel from Allahabad to Delhi. Trains were many thanks to number of railway ministers from the region but seats were none so at 10:30 I was helpless and lost but still journey was unavoidable. I at the moment thought how motivational speakers could give examples of Indian railway passengers to demonstrate how ill resourced poor man struggle against all odds to continue on with journey of life. Coming back to my story on reaching ticket counter my ears were hearing sweet music when I came to know that seats were available in one Patna Delhi special and I grabbed the offer with both my hands stretched. I heard the counter guy laughing at me when I asked for time of arrival soon I was to know why? Ticket was my gateway to a grueling twenty four hour adventure. Train was scheduled to arrive at 11:30 pm. Impatient me was at station before six. After waiting hour or so I checked with rail radar website for arrival departure history of the train. It was never at Allahabad before 3 am. I expected the same so it was no news to me. I booked retiring room to have some sleep at 2:00 am I came back my train was nowhere on the display. I checked rail info and rail radar no update was there after 1 am so I waited for hour and then two and then proceeded to clueless guy behind enquiry counter he spoke nothing when I gave him train number just motioned his hand towards a white board on which with in black ink it was scribbled train is delayed for 6 hours. “Okay no problem” thought me I could wait for some more time. Websites were still clueless where the heck train was. After troubling enquiry counter guy every hour he cried “Brother I don’t know where the heck train is. It has left Patna that’s sure after that nothing”.
I was stunned when I heard his reply. Recently decent news was made when an Malaysian Airlines flight somehow suddenly vanished I thought what would be the reaction of reporters when they would be made aware that entire train disappeared out in thin air but somehow I controlled my urges to not call any news channel. I also left enquiry counter guy and pledged not to disturb him anymore. My mobile and tablet were discharged and I realized what the hell relativity of time means. It bloody crawls with snail pace when you are out of everything and then when I lost all hope. Cacophonic voice of the announcer appeared on the speakers “Delhi Patna spl is now entering on platform number 2”. After half an hour it was there with tears and twinkle in many eyes. Who says money can’t buy happiness. Buy an Indian rail ticket, wait for it for 13 hours then if it would appear after that, just then try to measure your happiness.
If you think that it’s an exceptional case think again for common rail travelers this was not something to even complain about. Hooligans in the reserved compartments, rude behaving TC’s, poor sanitation and absence of decent meals are something for them to be more concerned about than little bit delay of the trains.
The problems are magnanimous but not something that couldn’t be tackled. Few years back IIT Kanpur came up with real time train tracking system SIMRAN. The system was known to allow passengers to track train on real time basis utilizing Google maps. IIT Kanpur was in mission to improvise it so that it could be perfected to a system handling overcrowding of traffics and avoiding any mishap during the fogs. The total project was estimated to cost around 123 crores but railway not failed to quickly kill the project crying about fund deficiency. It was good choice. After all in country where thousands of crores are spent to sustain a corrupt sports body and hundreds of thousands are sent to foreign banks one hundred and twenty three crores was really huge amount to be spent for a billion people dependent upon railways for their life and work and it was not even so attraction gaining tactic so that it could have enticed some votes.
The event made me realize that we the people of India now even have hard time imagining simple things that should be with citizens of sixty year old democracy and this is why in no election song I find something that’s for 1.2 billion souls of the country that was India.