A Journey onboard the Lucknow Shatabdi Express 12004
A Journey onboard the Lucknow Shatabdi Express 12004
Funny, It aint the first time I am onboard, however on the contrary I felt like writing and still wondering how.
Living on the outskirts in NCR reaching station is a task and that’s why I prefer early and love to be before time, so reached well in time with the train just comin in on to platform 9 of NDLS, luggage, yukk, just some small things and well placed, post boarding the train, somehow I felt the clocks stopped, for I wanted the journey, finally right on time (Yeah that’s Indian Rail!!!) off we go and I knew the next stop aint far off still a good 30 min, a smoke and stood on the door carefree of the luggage and enjoyed the really fresh crispy morning. As it moved on in the light fog rather smog, somehow I had a happy feel and post crossing the station as the journey moved on more and more country side approaching I could actually smell the crisp freshness in the air, no freaking DTC and honkings and no push push. Peace, I guess would be the word to describe it.
I actually am not in love particularily with the window seats of an airconditioned chair car, so since had a window switched it, had already observed from the charts that it’s a break journey for the aisle seater. Not being interested in the aisle seater had switched and now been on the aisle side for frequent movement, nice music hitting through my earphones. As I stood at the gates and watched the surroundings, I was actually feeling the speed and the movements, although theres no chuk chuk anymore, its some electrical giant dragging rather attempting to fly. I could feel the surroundings, the greenery and the freshness in the air, those moving trees and overtaking other trains, this is such a fast train the I could barely count the number of carriages as couldn’t see the gaps in between!!!
Yet speed has always been my enjoyment, its just fun. I could see the cattle graze, some enjoying their baths in water and its just natural, those green twigs with the yellow things on them give such a marvelous look, it wasn’t a cloudy day rather a pretty sunny day with the summers approaching.
Suddenly I remembered that it the freaking busy freaking city life full of monotony and schedules, this was free, just looking at those fields, those towers that we were once introduced to as BSNL Towers, out there lone in the fields they stood close to the tracks, no freaking adverts to bug, just a plain tower and yes our good old electricity poles with hanging wires in between, I dunno why I used to feel that they are like a huge giant standing amidst the fields, pretty far off from each other they stood, just connected.
For once I could see clear skies with no tags attached, yes, there was a span of clouds which looked like strokes of a brush, air journey also subjects to sky exploration but eventually you go 30000 feet and loose the charm, and airlines now a days, no words, MH370 disappearing and Spice Jet crew dancing to tunes of ‘balam pichkari’ in mid air on their crafts on the day of Holi. We also slowed down through several places and every time I need a view I need to go out because I believe not only in seeing but feeling and to do that I have to go to the door open it and feel the breeze, the air is currently pleasant for the summers yet to set in, and neither is it cold, particularily the time to feel the air, I feel.
Whenever we would approach stations I could see those boards of some sluggish hoax sex clinics, have always wondered as to why they are always near the stations, something strange, or is it like whoever comes in needs you, crap, but just that they are there and have always been, written on walls with some white chuna, now a days even colored.
This particular is a fast train and barely stops, after all its gotta cover a good 500-600 kms in approx. 6 hours and has to maintain its average of over 100 kmph to achieve, shows that Indian Railways can outstand but for sure doesn’t wish to, as I walked I could see a lot of electrical panels with digital systems and our company made knobs, switches and breakers, in the earlier days, which I am sure my kids are missing and the next generation would definitely loose, we used to travel in trains without AC, there were no AC trains, now there’s a freaking power eating, money crunching AC every where, but still both are pretty different, it was pretty obvious in the good old days for us to have hair, face and hands full of coal after a train journey, for the obvious reasons of a coal driven beautifully huge coal driven steaming giant pulling, and the flying debris to us, these coaches you cant even feel whats going on outside. Perhaps, something is missing.
As the train moved on, it passed several goods trains and yet another question that I always had, the last carriage in a carriage train, a poor guards cabin, made of solid steel with absolutely nothing around, yes, I mean, forget the basics, I guess, I dunno why but I have never seen a fast moving carriage train, I am sure they have also improved on timings and speed but just that have never seen noticed. I saw a lot of fish plates throughout the journey, embarking the plans for development and “growth”, its good that they expand and another thing that I wonder how could railways be in loss, with we never finding tickets!!!, for this journey this is the fourth ticket that finally confirmed. I am sure that in the near future we would see more and more faster moving machines but in the fastness theres something I miss, next time I know I will travel in not a superfast, an express but not a superfast.
In the good old days we had hawkers all around on stations wherever we stopped and sometimes even on the outskirts when the train would stop for no known reason to us, in this train, still there are people who board, and then the TTE himself pulls the chain and escorts them out with the GRPF, yikes I would call that humiliating, wont like that coming my way, that’s why a confirmed ticket, I have also traveled in general and WL tickets but in the good old days, the days when people were adjusting, not just looking for themselves and being selfish, earlier, in the good old days, we have often shared meals with total strangers, families, we always used to travel in the army coaches, we have also seen chain pulling from the station in running trains, color balloons flyin in through the windows, cause we were not seated in containers, yeah, containers that have all facilities and sealed from outside, I miss buying those samosa’s from hawkers carrying them on heads, two for a rupee or something, those chai wala’s, that sound “chai” chai”, now its all inhouse, some freaking sealed dip dip tea, with no real milk, come contained drinks and some contained snacks being served inhouse, yet somethings missing and that’s why I write this, as a memoir for myself on what all’s being missed.