My earliest memories of travelling by our Indian Railways has been that of the unending journeys between Dehradun and Hyderabad, mostly during my vacations. I have loved the journeys in Second A/C and Gandhi class or Second class has also had its own charm. It is very interesting to note the change in topography as one traverses from the North to the South Central regions of this vast and varied land.
With the prevailing heat and current conditions I find it impossible to travel in some regions by sleeper class. Thankfully, back in the late 80s and 90s, global warming didn’t cause temperatures to soar to these unseen levels and we could travel in sleeper class with some discomfort. It was a high treat then to be allowed the passing cutlet or samosa and my favourite breakfast in the A.P Express has been Bread Omellete. Don’t ask me why, it was just that then. Trips to the pantry were another interesting timepass during the long journey between Delhi and Hyderabad.
I can’t remember how many friends I made in the train, but one thing was for sure, somehow never contacted anyone later. It is strange how the train associations seem to end with the end of the journey. Lack of internet could be said to be a cause, but not really a good one. I somehow can’t imagine travelling by sleeper class in the current summers.
The Garib Rath concept of the Railways is pretty good; affordable A/C travel. Though the train is pretty comfortable and nothing really Garib about it, I find the name irksome. More such trains would help the common man. The side middle berth which was introduced to increase capacity, isn’t too bad as it seems. Change is not palatable to any of us and I found this concept tough to digest till I actually got to see it myself.
For all the travellers heading out for a summer vacation, take care of the heat and have fun!