Summer of 2017, my first train journey since after I started walking on my own feet. No, I haven’t lived my life in vanity nor am I averse to local mode of transportation, it is just that life hasn’t given me much chances to travel. Honestly, I was a bit apprehensive about the whole ride but it turned out rather pleasant.
This article is focused on the amazing hospitality of the Indian railways I experienced first hand and is totally unbiased. I was travelling in the Shatabdi express which of course is famous for its travel ease and comfort. From Delhi to Dehradun, I had some really beautiful views to cherish. Different from the tar roads and concrete buildings, we had lush green tress on both the sides.
For journey that began at 6.45 am, we were served with water, lemonade biscuits, tea to start with. This came as a relief, as I was starving. The well dressed crew with a warm smile made sure everyone got served properly. The passengers boarding from stations in between the journey were also taken care. I loved the little arrangement they had. A small red serving tray with a small bag called ‘Chai samagri’ with tea bags and sweetener inside it, milk powders, instant coffee mix and biscuits.
Hot water for tea was served in flasks with cups. The flasks and cups were noticeably different. I initially though I will have to share these with fellow passengers, but hey, there was one for each passenger. That was pretty impressive! It ain’t an easy to maintain standards for all the commuters on one of the largest rail networks in the world. Just sip your tea and enjoy the amazing view outside and if Sun gods decides the other way around, just pull down the shades and sleep to your hearts content.
The hospitality continues with a newspaper and a magazine called ‘Rail patrika’ for people to read and stay engaged. Frequent announcements on where we reached, time, duration etc.. kept us well informed. The breakfast comes with the option of vegetarian and non vegetarian. My vegetarian meal has like bread, butter, jam, cutlet with peas & fries and a second round of tea to go with it! The non vegetarians got an omelette. Well, who’s complaining?!
The whole experience of a train journey and the hospitality bestowed upon us is something I have fallen in love with and rail journeys are going to become my new favourite!