Monday, May 19, 2008


If you have ever had the fortune to watch Anniyan, as the split personality in the hero Vikram metes out treatment to corrupt people in the style of Garuda Purana, you will feel these methods too inhuman and outdated in these days of human rights. Just buy a confirmed reserved ticket for him by the Brindavan Express, and leave him to the mercy of Southern Railway. If you have done this trip, you will wish even your worst enemy well!

It only seems Southern Railway has taken upon itself to mete out such punishment to selective unfortunate people. These people, in Southern Railway’s dictionary masquerade as genuine passengers of Brindavan Express – once the showpiece of the South!

Passengers who have booked weeks in advance are forced to share space with hundreds of unreserved passengers. The latter use up all available space to the last inch – the doors, gangways, vestibules, the space near the toilets and the wash basins. They even come in between passengers sitting in opposite rows, if the seating layout permits. Mumbai locals can now take a bow – there is the Brindavan Express to stand shoulder to shoulder in rendering canine services to humans.

Added to these woes are the lepers, beggars and the vendors – not from the authorized Pantry Car. They weave their way around, treading on shoes and feet, glaring at anybody who dares to question them. After all, they have paid enough to the authorities to ply their trade, whereas we have paid only the real rail fare! The Pantry Car staff make a desultory visit every now and then – but carry only things that are light. That means, they do not bring water bottles. “Get it from the platforms, if you can”, was the rude answer of one Pantry Car vendor as more and more people demanded water bottles.

The only person who, it seems, was doing his duty that day was the TTE assigned to my coach. He came running at Arakkonam – I had boarded at Katpadi, asked for my ticket through the window from the platform, ticked it and handed it back. He also apologized for not being able to come in. “Sir, there is so much crowd that I cannot come from the inside. Sorry”, was what he said!

Except for one officer, there is not a soul who sympathises with the genuine passenger on this train – he will know it when he reads this piece. Others have far more important things to do – why care of lowly passengers of a lowly train that is Brindavan. There are only two people who can get a seat unchallenged on this train – the Loco Pilot and his Assistant – even they have to stand if an official deigns it fit to board the loco – on the pretence of an inspection – even if only for a comfortable seat and the best view on a train!

Numerous suggestions made to the authorities in the Southern Railway Headquarters have yielded results – they have only made them resolute in increasing the hardships faced by the passengers. They know they have killed the golden goose that lays the eggs – they are now intent on stripping its feathers to salvage the last nuggets, before the Brindavan Fast Passenger fades into oblivion. Thanks to SR for ensuring that, though.


Blogger Ranganath Eunny said...

This is a problem in every intercity express I guess. I have seen it in the Ratnachal Express. There are people who travel unreserved standing all their way from Hyd to Vskp. But I guess timing is everything. Take the train after lunch at Bangalore and land at Chennai just in time for dinner.

Blogger Ranganath Eunny said...

I meant the Janmabhoomi not Ratnachal in the earlier comment. But I guess it is the same with Ratnachal Exp too.

Blogger Akshay said...

Mumbai Locals WILL take a bow now. There is no space to stand in between passengers sitting on opposite rows in the new locals:)

Blogger Krishna Kumar.S said...

Dear Mr. Sridhar,

Let me appreciate your writing style. I like it. Choice of words, language is awesome. I wish I could write like you. I hope I can inherit such qualities from elders.

Thanks for warning me in advance. SBC trip is under scanner. I was wondering what to take. 101SR or 2639 or 2609. 2639 was my choice, but now I am afraid. And that too, imagine my plight if I am sitting in the middle or aisle without a window seat.

Blogger gpk said...

I agree this definitely with you. But my effort is to blow the horn very much load at the deaf ears. I hope that atleast some body would be there who can hear the horn very lightly.


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