Traveling by train to Hyderabad is an experience by itself. Thankfully one need not climb flights of steep stairs in Central station in Chennai, when you board trains from here. What is the use of an Escalator which doesn’t work, it’s as good as not having one. I am referring to the one in Egmore station from where I had to board the train to Hyderabad. I f you are not fortunate to get reservation in the Bay area, you end up accommodating yourself on the side berth, which is in itself not a comfortable thought and worse still is if the berth happens to be the one nearest to the door. Gearing myself for the disturbances in store I decided to bury my nose into the week end’s Times Crest which had a very interesting cover story. Reading the paper from beginning to end, a rare indulgence on my part, after an early dinner I wished to retire for the night. When I wanted to draw the curtain, I found it all knotted and hanging from the curtain rod above. When I tried to untie it, to my surprise I found its two halves landing on my lap! The curtain rings were missing too (so much for the maintenance by the Railways). When I complained to the TC he promised to do the needful and a couple of hours later he did keep up his word—by ordering for a fresh bedsheet to serve the purpose of a curtain,
Some privacy indeed I thought!
I was blissfully asleep until I was suddenly woken up by raised voices and noticed one of the passengers was having a heated argument with the TC, complaining that he was allotted an upper berth in the ladies coupe (which was facing my berth) which he thought was atrocious.The argument continued well into the night and it was resolved when the lady occupying the lower berth was requested to shift with the result the three of us had to keep awake the better part of the night!
When I was about to resume my sleep, I suddenly noticed through the interconnecting door that three men were standing with their backs to it. When I swung the door open I noticed one of them, the bulkiest of the three was standing near the entrance ,with the door open.. I requested him to shut the door but he never appeared to pay heed. I wanted to complain to the TC but he was not in sight. I couldn’t sleep peacefully for fear that anyone of these three could choose to rob me of my luggage and disappear into the night by jumping out quietly un noticed.
I almost vowed never to travel by this train in future but when morning dawned I had second thoughts because we reached Hyderabad as per the scheduled time which never happens with other trains bound to this destination.
n.meera raghavendra rao