I recently visited Jaipur with my parents-in-law. My husband or Chhavi didn’t join us as one had office and the other school. We had a nice trip but today’s story is about our return journey from Jaipur to Gurgaon by Shatabdi Express. The train is 12016 Ajmer Shatabdi Express.
There was a time when I was fond of Shatabdi journeys. At that time the coaches were new. Now Shatabdi coaches are really old. The whole Shatabdi system needs new coaches and better food. I can’t remember when as the last time I saw reasonable coaches or food in a Shatabdi train.
But Where is Water?
The train came on time. We boarded it easily at Jaipur. We all settled peacefully. It was a weekday and the train was not full. After a while my mother-in-law went to the washroom. She came back and asked for mineral water as there was no water in the washroom! This was a first for me!
After hearing that I refrained from using the washroom for a long time. In the meanwhile my father-in-law asked if I would like to tweet to Suresh Prabhu. I initially thought I would not.
Tweets to Suresh Prabhu
Bu I eventually did tweet to Suresh Prabhu. There was a prompt reply to my tweet. Relevant authorities were tagged and I was asked to provide my PNR number which I did. I am pleasantly surprised to see Jaipur DRM (divisional railway manager) on Twitter. They tagged someone else who was the relevant authority.
But in the end, nothing happened. My coach C5 remained without water till Gurgaon. My father-in-law discovered there was water in the C4 washroom and the coaches were interconnected. In the end I used it.
In my experience of tweeting to Railway Minister was a mixed exercise. The team acknowledged the tweet with speed. But on the ground nothing happened even when this was Shatabdi Express, supposedly one of the premium trains.
Eventually the train crossed Rewari. The next scheduled stop is Gurgaon, our dstination. The train stops only for 2 minutes at Gurgaon so one has to get down quickly.
We went near the door when we thought we were nearing Gurgaon. There were three of us, two other women and an old couple near the door. My father-in-law was at the front. The train stopped and we got down!
But is it Gurgaon?
All of us got down at the station when one of the girls asked, “Is this really Gurgaon?” That created immediate and immense confusion. There were people getting down from the next compartment too.
Then a pantry guy got down and yelled at us, “ye Gurgaon nahin hai!” (this is not Gurgaon). All of us started piling back into the train at record speed. I told my father-in-law to go ahead of me as I would be better at judging what is Gurgaon.
From Garhi Harsau to Gurgaon
When the train started again the door was open. I peered out to see the name of the station where we mistakenly got down! It is Garhi Harsaru! Thankfully we did not got stranded at night there, the pantry guy saved us! It was a cold night too.
The short journey from Garhi Harsaru to Gurgaon was uneventful. I opened the door of the compartment only after I could read the name of the station, ‘Gurgaon!’
In the end, even though nothing happened after the tweets, Gurgaon Railway Station for sure has got a face lift and looks much better and cleaner! I also got a brief glimpse of Garhi Harsaru Railway Station which I never took any notice of on all my previous trips!
PS. This was my first personal trip of the year 2016!
There is not much to write about Gurgaon Railway Station. It is a small, nondescript place with just two platforms. To enter the station one has to jostle with the autos and rickshaws. The ticket counter and the adjoining waiting area always look dusty. The people sitting in the waiting area have a patient look about them.
I use it because all Rajasthan bound trains have a two minutes halt at Gurgaon. This means we don’t have to go to Delhi to catch the train or to get down. It is a substantial saving on the taxi fare as well as time. I have also seem Ahmadabad Rajdhani Express making a halt at Gurgaon, which makes me believe that Gujarat bound trains also stop here. The Ajmer Shatabdi goes from platform no.1 and comes back at platform no. 2. I am usually there to catch this train. Of course local trains ply on this route too.
This time when I was catching the Ajmer Shatabdi on a hot summer morning in May, I noticed the Amaltas in full bloom at the Gurgaon Railway Station. It added a dash of color to an otherwise bleak scenario. There is not a bit of color otherwise to be seen.
And while I was noticing flowers, I saw the huge banyan tree on platform two for the first time, even though I have been to Gurgaon Railway Station at least a dozen of times!
I am wondering if a tree planting drive would make this station a cooler place. I would love to be a part of such a drive but then the mere thought of talking to government authorities gives me shivers. I have seen railway stations like Barog which have lovely flowers and a few trees right at the station. Gurgaon could go the same way, but I have no clue how to initiate such a dialogue.
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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