Thursday, March 20, 2008

Indian Railways

It was just another long weekend and I decided to scoot to Bangalore. I was catching the usual Lalbagh Express. It is so surprising to see that inspite of 7 trains plying bw B lore and Chennai they are always loaded with passengers. One almost feels that the Chennai express that leaves B lore dumps everyone at Chennai and picks another lot from Chennai and returns as Lalbagh Express! A five and half hour journey bw two prominent Southern cities is definitely not a joke..
As i enter the station and look around me, there is hustle bustle everywhere. On one side are the annoying porters and autowallahs who flock around travelers and pounce on them for their meek service while the other side has the heavy and humble trains earnestly waiting to pick up its dear passengers for another journey . There is always a perennial queue for platform tickets, open tickets and other tickets. People nudging each other and picking up petty fights while petite thieves making a profit by flicking someone's purse is such a common sight. The eateries such as Sarvana Bhavan, Hot breads, Pizza Corner at the Chennai Central Station are making crisp business by tossing pizzas, jostling coffees and dicing sandwiches. These joints not only serve the purpose of packing quick food for loony travelers like me but also a snackbar for people who wait for arrival of trains. The ones who make the maximum returns on any given day would be the Magazine seller and the water bottle - juice seller. Come what may, it is customary for most of the travelers to buy water bottles and books in the railway station!There is a sea of people around me intently looking at the main display board and religious listening to the automated voice that repeats the information in 3 languages. "Yatrigan krupiya dhyaan de. Gaadi number 6020 Chennai se Bangalore jaane wali Lalbagh Express Platform no 3 se ravana hogi" It still rings a bell in my ears!! I also occasionally see a bunch of cops lurking around and looking visibly bored.
What mesmerizes me the most is the number of people who are directly and indirectly involved in the business of railways..right from the sweeper to the caterer to the police station in the railway station even to the extent of the guy who collects bills for the parking lot outside the station!! It is not for nuts that people call Indian railways to be the single largest employment provider in the entire world.

Cheers to Indian Railways!!


Maverick said...

u can never actually take out the railways from the life of an average Indian...perhaps all of us hav benefitted in some way frm its services...transporting 15 million passengers daily is no small task...

vivid description...shud post more often....:)

Rasika Raghavan said...

think everyone of us will have some experiences concerning train journeys that will forever make fond memories!