Money buys time. Yeah if you want to reach Chennai from Delhi shell out more money to save time by taking a flight rather than a train. If you want to get the delivery from Flipkart within a day of ordering, you need to pay a premium. Probably Indian railways took this as a doctrine.
Travelling in general (or unreserved) compartments is a lot cheaper compared to traveling in a reserved class. If you are the one who gets comfort from free space, then you would feel that the difference in comfort levels is multiple of the difference in costs. I tell this from my own experience of travelling for almost 17 hours at a stretch in unreserved class.
Coming back to the doctrine I was telling. People travelling in reserved and unreserved classes reach in the same time. So our lovely Indian railways have their own mechanism to bring in justice and fair play. You can see it for yourself right from the process of booking tickets to the number of compartments available to unreserved class. The booking counter for the general class has at least 50 people standing in the queue, I say from the direct experience I had both at Delhi and Amdavad. And there are just 3 such counters each serving 50 people like forever. The rest of the counters are unmanned or present for other less urgent purposes. But yeah cool thing is that general ticket travelers get to experience the feel of travelling by flight. They need to reach at least an hour earlier just like reaching an hour earlier for boarding the flight. So that’s the amount of time it takes you to book your tickets standing in that long energy sapping queue. It’s amusing to look back and see how the length of queue is always the same while you slowly crawl your way to the counter.
One other interesting thing I could see was ‘crowd regulation’ (inspired from the terms crowd funding and self regulation). It is probably easier for India to win an extra medal in the Olympics than bribe someone standing in that ticket line. Just as someone tries to approach there’s a general reproach from everyone who were behind the person being approached. Every minute there’s someone or the other trying his luck in this manner without success. Wonderful to see the way this crowd regulation work with such effectiveness.
I was wearing loose jeans and it felt so comfortable. Ok, that was some non-sense. I was wearing loose jeans, and so due to lack of normal forces acting on my wallet inside, it dropped with me having little sense of it. Someone returned may be afraid of crowd censuring or of his own good nature. This nice gesture has led me to talking terms with other people. On socializing, I felt there was a wealth of information which is not being passed or shared across properly, this is why-
The one sitting beside me, along with his friend, were on a weeklong travel trip starting from their home town Sholapur, Maharashtra. It had already been 3 days into their trip and they roamed around Mumbai, visited Amdavad, and now were on their way to Ajmer. It could be seen there is not much planning as they were asking fellow passengers where to head after Ajmer. They finally decided on either Pushkar or Jaipur at that time. They travel at night going by train with general ticket and visit places in the day. Their planning evolved as per the suggestions of people and their own interests. There was no clear planning; no stress thinking of hotels or accommodation; no intermediary travel agents; no constraints due to prior bookings; no nothing. They do not use blogs to share any of this exciting experience. I wonder how many people would love to know their stories on how they manage such travel which is economical and also so exciting. I also wonder the number of people who do such exciting things, and we don’t really have much knowledge of it. Yeah, it could also be a case that meeting them was just a coincidence and there might not be many other people doing such stuff.
Through all of this I felt there were interesting things which you don’t get to see in an AC (or reserved) class. Colorful and distinct clothing styles, people ranging from the likes of a bearded guy sitting on the floor looking like a vagabond to the youth with 5’inch Samsung watching some Hollywood flick with subtitles, strangers getting acquainted in no time with no specific purpose.
Wow, as always wrote nothing what I actually intended to write. So shall end this continuing with this theme itself rather telling about things I initially wanted to. I saw for the first time or felt for the first time how powerful the ‘sleep’ is. Inconvenience when you feel sleepy can drive you total crazy. I just feel whatever I say about it now won’t be an exaggeration. Travel fatigue and the stress of general compartment with cool breeze blowing through the pleasant night and soothing your tired body, and then there was this lack of space to rest comfortably. Upper body of a passenger was inclined at an angle on the seat and his thighs and calves were forming a rhombus like structure horizontal to the ground. The reason you are reading this description is because I was inside that rhombus. People sleeping under the seats, yes under; people sleeping in the little space available between the seats; people sleeping in all kinds of alignments. How precious the sleep is. Holy mother of my mummy, it was insane!