There was a time when trains used to be my favorite mode of travel. I still like it but I would happily take a flight over a train if it is available. Among all the journeys that I end up embarking on trains by the Indian Railway, I prefer the Shatabdi Express experiences the best. And there are many reason for this:
Most Shatabdi journeys are half-a-day journeys. By the time you start fidgeting, you are already halfway through to your destination! Now is that not a plus? My major quarrel with the Indian railways is that they do not keep the trains clean, not even the AC, not even the premium trains like Rajdhani. I can take all this for half-a-day, or at best overnight, beyond that I do not feel thrilled at the prospect of train travel.
As I have to get up really early to catch a Shatabdi Express train, it helps that they provide the breakfast. I know there are various horror videos about train food, but I still manage to eat breakfast most of the times. Dinner is another matter though. I have completely stopped eating dinner on the Shatabdi. I prefer to go home and eat, however late it gets. There have been some attempts to improve the breakfast, but most of the time it is quite uninspiring.
I love window seats, be it bus, train, plane, car, or whatever! When I book my train tickets, I make sure that I have a window seat. It is easier to pass time sitting by a window. This goes for a toss if my daughter is traveling with me. She doesn’t let anyone else sit at the window. It is all hers for all the journeys!
In the 5–6 hours that a Shatabdi train takes to reach its destination, I can easily finish a 200–300 page book. In my student life, I read so many books at one go; now one of the places it still happens is inside a Shatabdi Express train. Otherwise, I hardly find time to sit still and finish a book at one go.
Most of us have to get up really early to catch a Shatabdi. While I prefer to read a book, I often end up falling asleep, particularly after breakfast! That leaves me somewhat fresh when I arrive at the destination.
As my father used to work for the Railways, it was a way of life for us. He is retired now. It really pains me to see that the maintenance of the Indian Railways has gone down so much. I still love to sit by the window and watch the world go by from a train. It’s just that I have a little patience for the filth that comes with it.
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