Trips Reports from Summer of 2010

by Karan Desai


SAILing Through Ugly Views - New Delhi to Mumbai by 2952 Mumbai Rajdhani

As we climbed out of the Metro station, one change I observed from my last visit to New Delhi fourteen months ago was that a new station building had come up on Ajmeri Gate side. A little better than boxy looking station structures built these days, it still leaves a lot to be desired from a station building of a country's capital. A board says there is a "Chalaaymaan Seedhi" (Escalator) but I could not find where it is hidden so we took one of the two FOBs that start from the new station building. It was a long walk from PF-16 to PF-3 made longer by the fact that the FOB we took terminated at PF-5 and was connected to another FOB to move to other platforms.

It was at 15.45, 45 minutes prior to its scheduled departure time, that a Duronto-fied WAP-7 #30242 appeared at a distance bringing in the LHB rake of the Mumbai Rajdhani Express from the stabling lines to the north of the station. As the loco neared, my dad had a look at it, his first of a loco in this livery, and commented "Oh God! What happened to this engine?" I just told him, "It has received the blessings of Mamata!" As is the usual custom at New Delhi, (or so I believe since it happened with me on four different occasions at four different platforms and four different trains) the train was brought to an abrupt stop way off the mark from the coach numbers displayed on the indicators. It immediately brought back memories of 4th June 2009, when a similar blunder with Swaraj Express on PF-9 had caught me and my friends in a mini stampede with the girls being groped and one of the team leader's wallet with the journey tickets being picked in the process. This time it was not that bad since the train was fully reserved and crowd was minimal as no train was scheduled on adjacent platform. The entire crowd on the platform walked back around six coaches and within no time the train was packed to capacity. Our seats were MB, UB and SLB and I walked fast across the coach and planted myself and my backpack on the Side Lower berth before someone else occupies it and asks me to "adjust a bit". I soon realised it wouldn't have made a difference since the huge LHB window was covered with ugly SAIL advertisements that made a mess of the view outside. I seriously wonder who was the babu who thought this was a great idea.

Our co-passengers in the berth were two Punjabi families and in true Indian style, relatives numbering twice the travelling passengers had occupied the seats until departure time. At 16.30 without any audible horn or announcement, we slowly pulled out of PF-3 and simultaneously the Ranchi Rajdhani with ICF rake and hauled by a clean white WAP-7 started its journey. We had a parallel run till Tilak Bridge after which the Ranchi Rajdhani veered off to the left. I tried to capture this race on video but thanks to the SAIL ads, it is nothing worth seeing! As we crossed Nizamuddin, a pantry guy came dragging a huge plastic garbage bin filled with bottles of 'Rail Neer' and handed one bottle each to the passengers. We got a few brief sprints of high speed punctuated by slowdowns either due to a crawling freight ahead or speed restrictions. The famous "high speed zone" of Asaoti was crossed at a grand 20 km/hr! We overtook a couple of trains around Palwal but the SAIL windows did not allow me to focus on the name boards at high speed. Soon, evening snacks were served consisting of one half cheese sandwich, a samosa, an incredibly tasty 'anjeer barfi' from Haldirams and two toffees with a packed mango drink. As we were having the snacks, a pantry guy handed paper cups to every passenger and another fellow came with thermos flasks of hot water announcing "Ek me se do ban jaaega" and placing them between two seats. The run upto Mathura was not great with many temporary speed restrictions imposed and a couple of unscheduled stops between stations. We took 2 hours and 5 minutes to reach Mathura which I am sure is much more than dictated in the Working Time Table. At Mathura, for the first time in my life, I saw a small special train being hauled by twin WDS-4 shunters, both live and attached at the same end of the rake!

After Mathura as darkness fell, there was nothing to look out for. All I figured out was that we overtook Firozpur Bullock Cart at Bharatpur Jn. In the meantime, I spotted a ticketless passenger- a medium sized rat running across the aisle and shouted out its presence. This alarmed the passengers and what followed was a ten minute entertainment show of screaming ladies, overenthusiastic uncles trying to catch the rodent and a bunch of passengers cheering them! Nothing materialized out of this exercise and the little fellow disappeared, probably into the AC Hot Buffet Car next door for dinner! During train travels I usually don't engage in much small talk with fellow passengers but with nothing visible outside, I decided to focus on the talks inside. The co-passengers in my bay resembled the typical characters seen in every masala Hindi movie- a bubbly talkative "heroine ki behen/saheli", a healthy daughter-praising "heroine ki maa", a "heroine ki mausiji" who agrees to everything the "maa" says and a stern military-disciplined "heroine ke papa" (no, there was no heroine or hero!) who gave a long lecture on the need for military action against Naxalites on the lines of Operation Blue Star, without bothering if anyone is interested in listening to it or not! It turns out the talkative girl at the window seat was a rich Delhi girl used to car travel only, recently married in Mumbai and scared of stepping into the Mumbai locals. The other passengers, including us, managed to convince her that if she has to live in Mumbai, she has to learn local train travel. There is no alternative.

Around 7.30pm, I fell asleep on my Side Lower Berth out of sheer boredom and was woken up an hour later by the Pantry guy with dinner plate in his hands. The vegetarian dinner had a surprisingly edible paneer sabzi with lots of paneer pieces and little else alongwith a watery dal and dry rice that is the epitome of IRCTC's nationwide consistency. The rotis were hot, and hence edible, thanks to the fact that my coach was right next to the AC Hot Buffet Car. Immediately after dinner, a small cup of icecream (Vanilla and Strawberry mixed) was served and the moment that was consumed, I declared my desire to go off to sleep. The co-passengers agreed unanimously. Nothing brings out the friendly adjusting nature of Indians more than 3 tier sleeper coaches. The Punjabi bride and her mother who had aggresively declared their rights on the Lower Berths when the train departed from Delhi were now ready to take up any berths. The bride gave up her lower berth to the military uncle, I gave my Side Lower to my dad since he hardly sleeps during train journeys and perched myself on to the Upper berth and a few such adjustments later, everyone was off to sleep by 9.30pm, even before the train reached its first scheduled stop- Kota.

When I woke up, we were already around Navsari, so I have no clue what happened in the night. My dad had seen us departing from Surat at 5.40am, which meant we were running around 30 minutes late now. The run from Navsari to Valsad outer was clinically perfect with the LPs not going below 120 km/hr for even a minute! The momentum was broken at Valsad where we crawled to an almost stop thanks to a BOXN freight ahead taking its own sweet time to clear the block. The morning tea with two Marie biscuits was served after Vapi and there was no signs of breakfast till we crossed Dahanu Road. The public address system came to life and played the morning news in Hindi and English followed by an announcement that breakfast will be served soon. Around Boisar we were given plates with two veg cutlets, two slices of bread, butter, jam and packed mango drink. On enquiry, it was revealed that passengers who ask for it can get poha (a Maharashtrian dish) for breakfast instead of cutlets and we immediately asked for a change of packets. As we finished breakfast we were nearing Virar and the passengers were already wondering if the train would halt at Borivali. My dad enquired and found out that out of 72, more than 50 passengers lived in suburbs and wanted to get off at Borivali if possible! I jokingly suggested that everyone contribute Rs 20 each to pay for the Rs 1000 fine and we pull the Emerency Chain at Borivali! From Vasai Road onwards we were crawling behind an EMU (Electric Multiple Unit)and never went above 50 km/hr (I think the EMU (Electric Multiple Unit)ahead had one of those sluggish motormen that Akshay Marathe always seems to get!). Hopes of a Borivali stop were renewed when we crawled down to 10 km/hr at the outer but eventually managed to cross the station at 20 km/hr. We did not pick up speed and came to a complete halt at Kandivali. Our coach being 9th from the loco was partially within platform limits. I peeped out and saw the Malad-Churchgate EMU (Electric Multiple Unit)was crawling out of Kandivali carshed ahead of us. So, mom, dad and myself quickly picked up all our luggage, went to the door ahead and got off the train at Kandivali itself, thereby saving ourself the trouble, time and money of going all the way to Mumbai Central in heavy rains and taking a cab all the way back to Malad!

When Falaknuma Came As Gift From Heaven - Bhubaneshwar to Howrah by 2704 Falaknuma Express. 25th July 2010

I woke up to a lazy rainy morning in our hotel room in Bhubaneshwar at around 8.30am. Dad was busy dialling 139. Half asleep I told him, "Why are you even trying? We booked our SL tickets in Falaknuma a month back and all it has moved is from W/L 11 to W/L 10. We have confirmed 2S tickets in Dhauli, will go by it, will manage the unreserved intruders somehow". Even as I said this, my mind kept going back to the sight I had seen at Bhubaneshwar station a week back of unreserved passengers bound for Puri boarding every reserved coach, including 2A! Unable to get through, dad asked me to try 139 from my cellphone. Disinterested, but just to satisfy him, I dial the number, enter the PNR, and the pre-recorded voice said, "Train number 2704. Falaknuma Express. Passenger 1- Confirmed! Coach S2, seat 22. Passenger 2 - confirmed! Coach S2, seat 42. Passenger 3 - confirmed! Coach S2, seat 64!" Damn! Time to rush now! Rather than relaxing in hotel upto 13.20 departure of Dhauli, now we had to get ready, check out and rush to take the 10.50 Falaknuma!

At 10.00, we walked out of the hotel, adjoining the station premises and reached the station building, which resembles the concourse of a small town airport with metal canopies et al, and rechecked at the charts that our waitlisted tickets had indeed been confirmed at charting. The arrival/departure indicator at Bhubaneshwar station is quite weird- it has columns for train number, name, arrival, departure and a blinking light that glows when train is on platform, but strangely no column to indicate platform number of arriving trains! We walked aimlessly onto Platform 1 where the empty rake of Bhubaneshwar-LTT Express was stabled. Behind it, on platform 2 was another empty rake- of the Koraput-Bhubaneshwar-something-something passenger. I walked down to the enquiry counter to ask the platform number and coach position of S2. He told the coach will come "ekdum peeche" but refused to divulge the platform number! It was now 10.35, just 15 minutes to arrival, and unable to contain my curiosity, I ask the Ticket Checker at the gate if he knew Falaknuma's platform number. He snapped- "Din me 50 train hai aur sirf 4 platform! Kaise bataye kahaan lagegi gaadi. Jab announce hoga tab sun lena!" Great, such severe shortage and you keep 2 out of 4 platforms occupied with empty rakes!

At 10.50, running out of patience, we decided to climb the FOB and stand bang in the middle, ready to get off onto any platform that they announce at the last minute. We were not the only ones doing that. The rather narrow FOB was full of passengers awaiting that elusive announcement for Falaknuma. By 11.00, the FOB was completely packed with Falaknuma passengers leaving no space to walk on the bridge. Meanwhile I started asking, what looked like daily travellers, coach position of S2. One gentleman firmly said it would be 4th from loco, another one confidently said it would be 4th from last! At 11.10 finally it was announced that Falaknuma is arriving "shortly" on PF-3 and the entire crowd descended onto the platform. We decided to wait with the luggage at the center of the platform while I went around enquiring with more people about the location of S2 (the coach indicators on platform were blank). IRCTC stall guy "Ekdum aage aaega", IRCTC pantry guy "Bahut peeche aaega", a coolie "Engine se 4th hoga", a local vendor, "Peeche se 3-4 kuch hoga"! Great! Now I had four votes each in favor of 4th from loco and 4th from rear! Finally at 11.20, bright clean SRC WAP-4 #22621 brought in the 24 coach rake of Falaknuma Express. The first few general coaches were followed by AC coaches and the first coach after that read- "S-14"! Picking up the baggage we started the long walk towards the rear of the train to reach S-2. We had seat numbers 22 (UB), 42(UB) and 64 (SU) but as I walked in, I found the Side Lower berth next to 22 lying vacant and I immediately grabbed that and asked dad to sit there too, praying that no one turns up to claim it, while mom sat on 22. We let the passengers occupying 42 and 64 undisturbed.

By now PF-1 was vacated and a freshly cleaned LHB rake of Rajdhani Express was shunted there. With the EOG humming at deafening levels and our coach being 21th from loco, it was impossible to hear the horn. We started after a brief five minute halt and nobody came to claim the Side Lower! It was raining all this while but as we crawled out of Bhubaneshwar, the rains stopped and allowed me to open the two windows, one of them being the Emergency Window, that too trackside! Apperently the rightful occupant of that SLB was sleeping on SUB and had no intentions of waking up until Howrah! The rightful occupant of SUB was a female student from Hyderabad who had occupied the LB window and I have no clue where the rightful occupant of the LB was! Anyways, from the prospect of travelling in 3X3 seating in Dhauli with just one window seat, we were now comfortable seated in SL class with just 5 passengers in the bay of 8 and me getting the trackside Side Lower Berth with Emergency Window, a railfan's favorite place! Falaknuma had truly turned out to be what its literal meaning is- Gift from Heaven!

The next stop, Cuttack came even before we were settled, and in between we crossed two out of the four Mahanadi bridges. From Cuttack, a lady and her two kids joined us in our bay and both of them wanted window seats. My dad told the elder buy, who looked like brat, that we had seat number 64 which is a window and lying vacant and the boy, aged not more than 12, bullied the passenger sitting there to vacate the window for himself! Immediately after Cuttack we crossed the huge third Mahanadi bridge, then a smaller fourth one and then the LPs decided its time to unleash the power of the WAP-4. Within no time we accelerated to 110 km/hr and at the very next station, a passenger train in the loop bit the dust (quite literally) as the 5000 horses inside the Red Monster made a mincemeat of the 24 coach load, full horns blaring, visible right upto 21st coach! A sight I always love to experience! Apart from the occasional slowdown on account of SRs or freights ahead not having cleared the block, we went full blast upto Bhadrak, reaching there 20 minutes behind schedule. By now the IRCTC Pantry guy had made a couple of rounds selling Veg Biryani and Egg Biryani, no signs of lunch anywhere. From Bhadrak, a local vendor came in selling Lemon Tea! Curiousity made me buy one, and I must admit it was one of the most refreshing drink I ever had, all for Rs 4 only! The tight schedule of Falaknuma left no scope of recovery and we reached Balasore again delayed by 20 minutes.

One thing I noticed here was that inspite of a sizeable crowd of unreserved passengers wanting to board the train, not one passenger entered the reserved coaches! I was told by Anamitra that SER is very strict about this and I was getting to see it in person. I walked across the coach and there was not a single unreserved passenger even in the doors or corridors! Neat! After Balasore, the pantry guy fed up that his Biryani was not selling, made a third round, this time shouting "Veg Fried Rice, Egg Fried Rice" carrying the very same packets that he was selling as Biryani an hour back! Still no signs of lunch from Pantry. To our rescue came a local vendor selling Bonda which is the same as Batata Wada sold in the West, followed by another one selling Mudhi, which is nothing but Bhel for us West Indians! An hour into the run, we were put in the loop at a tiny wayside station. The sign was clear- the Rajdhani scheduled to depart 10 minutes after our departure from Bhubaneshwar now wanted to go ahead of us! I fished out my camera and ventured on the other side of the mainline to capture the high speed overtake while the Chief Ticket Inspector, KGP division stood at the door of our coach guarding it from unreserved passengers. After a 10 minute wait, horns blaring, headlights on, came at full speed a BRC WAP-4 (yes, Vadodara!) and the short LHB rake went past us in a flash! This overtake cost us another precious 20 minutes and now we were almost 45 minutes behind schedule. The line cleared by Rajdhani was used in the best possible way by us as we raced to Kharagpur, reaching there around 16.00. We were taken on PF-6, so my wish to get myself photographed on the longest platform in the world remained unfulfiled. The Rajdhani was still there at the station, waiting on PF-4, its loco having reversed (or so I think) and attached at the other end for the journey to Delhi.

After Kharagpur, I got my first glimpse of Calcutta area EMUs as a couple of them sped past us, in the classic maroon-cream livery. Around a dozen suburban stations were cleaned up by our speeding train with occasional slowdowns. Somewhere after Bauria we were put on the bi-directional middle line and we overtook, first a BOXN freight and then an EMU on the fly. At 18.00, we crawled to a stop at Santragachi and many passengers got off. The SRC electric trip shed had, apart from the usual suspects, a BSL WAP-4! A whole maze of tracks all around, Howrah Bridge in the background, we slowly crawled across points, as the EMU we had overtaken earlier now raced past us, and Mumbai bound Gitanjali Express started its long journey, and pulled into Howrah station at 18.20, delayed by 35 minutes. For the first few minutes I had no clue where we had landed, soon the indicator boards flashed "PF-22" and I realised what I had read on various mails on IRFCA- about the ER and SER sides of HWH station. We walked the 21 coaches ahead, had a juice at Comesum and exited through what is called "Terminal 2" onto the road outside, not having got a glimpse of the "main" station concourse of Howrah station! That was to be done a few days later, and Bappa da has already covered that in his trip report.

Royal Ride on Rajdhani First AC - Sealdah to New Delhi on 2313 Rajdhni Express. 29th July 2010

It was the D-day, the day my long awaited wish of travelling by AC First Class of Rajdhani Express was going to be fulfilled. We left our hotel on the busy M.G. Road of Calcutta at around 3.15pm to board the Rajdhani that departs from Sealdah at 4.50pm, keeping enough margin to overcome the traffic enroute. After a slow crawl in the famed yellow Ambassador taxi, we came to a standstill, around 500m from Sealdah station. Time was running out, and the taxi driver suggested we get off and walk the remaining distance to the station. So, here we were, ready to undertake one of the most luxurious journeys that Indian Railways offers, but trudging along in drizzling rain through narrow congested dirty entrance that leads to Sealdah station, luggage in hand, pushing through the crowd. What a start!

Sealdah railway station, like Dadar in Mumbai has an ugly road bridge just outside, making the entrance very claustrophobic and unimpressive. The concourse was packed with evening crowd, mostly commuters travelling home by the various EMUs. We crossed the crowd slowly to reach Platform 9A, where the gleaming clean red-and-silver rake of Sealdah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express was already berthed. The First AC coach "H1" was second last, right after the End-on Generator Car, so we did not have to walk much. All this while, I was wondering who would be the fourth person we would have to tolerate if the coach was full since we were three passengers and the cabins have four seats. However, one look at the Reservation Chart pasted at the door, and I was smiling- the coach had only 11 passengers booked, and as a result, the three of us were assigned Cabin C with "Emergency Window" all to ourselves. I think this idea of having one assigned Emergency Window makes no sense in First AC with individual cabins. Suppose our train meets an accident and we need to use the Emergency Window, are the passengers from other cabins supposed to come knocking at the door of our cabin, waiting for us to open the door, so that they can enter the cabin and jump off the Emergency Window? Silly.

It was 4.15pm now, and the railfan in me was getting impatient to check the loco link, and finally I decided to walk the long distance across 18 coaches. Yes, the already long rake was made longer by the addition of a totally empty First AC coach next to H1. The attendant said it was being taken to Delhi to ferry back MPs to their homes in UP, Bihar and Jharkhand, since the parliament was in session. Doing the honours of hauling our Rajdhani was GZB WAP-7 #30234 in fairly clean avatar. I decided to make the long walk back from inside the coaches rather than on the platform, and in the process almost missed Kolkata railfan Pal Bappa who had come all the way to specially meet me at the Rajdhani. By the time I was back in the cabin, a policeman and a sniffer dog had finished checking every cabin of the First AC coach. Bappa da left soon, and we started off with a slight jerk at exactly 4.50pm.

The moment we were out of Sealdah, a coach attendant came with a tray full of fresh red roses and mints and offered one rose to each passenger with a friendly smile. Another attendant brought in three bottles of drinking water for us but we insisted on taking only one and asked him to keep the others in the fridge for cooling. Even before we could cross the Ganga over the Vivekananda Bridge, an attendant came to offer us fruit juices, the choices being guava and pineapple. He also asked us if we had any special demand for dinner and offered to cook "fresh maachi (fish)" which we declined. By now we were out of Calcutta city limits and the acceleration of WAP-7 plus LHB coaches plus us being at the very end of the train was starting to show its effect in the form of terrible jerks everytime we accelerated or braked. After Dankuni, evening snacks were served, comprising of a dry fruit samosa, a slice of cheese sandwich, a packet of soan-papdi (sweet), a packet of salted cashewnuts, a bar of chocolate and tea/coffee, all served in fine bone china crockery.

By the time we had the snacks, we had raced past Bardhaman Jn. and were now on the four line section to Asansol. I was expecting some parallel overtakes but unfortunately the other track was on the other side beyond the cabin door. The ticket checker came by, saw our ticket and marked a big "F" on the eticket. Does anyone know what that means? We reached Durgapur at 6.45pm, three minutes before time, and departed bang on time. The next stop, Asansol came pretty soon, at 7.20pm, again 4 minutes ahead of schedule. By now, the pantry attendant had come to serve Mixed Vegetable soup. The soup was brought in bone china bowls with breadsticks and butter. The IRCTC advertisement on the tray mentioned that the soup course in First AC includes bread sticks and a bun, but when I pointed out this to the attendant, he first tried to cover up the matter by insisting it was bread sticks OR bun. I casually commented to my dad, in such a way that the attendant could hear it, "Ok, tomorrow morning this goes to the complaint book to IRCTC". Hearing this, the tone of the attendant turned from bossy to apologetic and he narrated how Rajdhanis that leave Delhi, especially with the VIPs onboard get breadsticks AND buns delivered by IRCTC but the ones ex-Sealdah get either breadsticks OR bun, never both! I don't know what the truth is, but the fact is that IRCTC did skip the bun mentioned in the menu.

Meanwhile order for dinner was taken and we requested one Veg Continental dinner and two Veg Indian dinners. We asked if there was a choice of gravy dish and the attendant promptly agreed to give Paneer Mutter in one dinner and Paneer Butter Masala in the other. We reached Dhanbad at 8.15pm, 5 minutes ahead of time and after a long 10 minute halt, started off slowly. By now dinner had arrived and it looked delicious. The Veg Continental fare had Cheese Macaroni, Veg Noodles, boiled vegetables comprising of several pieces of carrot, a bowl full of peas, a piece each of tomato and potato and a large piece of paneer dipped in sugar, two pieces of Paneer cutlets, brown bread and butter. The Indian veg dinner had Paneer Mutter / Paneer Butter Masala, Aloo ki sabzi, hot rotis, salad, dal and jeera rice alongwith packed curd. The quantity served is way too much for one person and we could not finish everything. After dinner I ventured out towards the door and first time realized that in LHB Rajdhani rakes, the guard has access to remaining train through vestibule! We were slowly going along at 60-70 km/hr for a long time and the coach attendant informed what I had already guessed- speed restriction due to Naxal menace. Ice cream was served soon, with choice between Butter Scotch and Vanilla-Strawberry and after that I decided to call it a day and have a good sleep on the huge First AC berth.

When I woke up the next morning, we were approaching Kanpur, and the time was 06.00am, meaning we were running almost an hour late, mainly thanks to the speed restriction all the way from Dhanbad to Gaya. We were taken on PF-2 at Kanpur Jn and our coach was almost out of the platform. I was wondering why a prestigious train like Sealdah Rajdhani is not taken on PF-1 but I soon got the answer- Mamta's Pet Project #2 â€" the Yuva Express arrived from behind us and occupied PF-1! I was hoping we leave the Yuva behind, and that's exactly what happened. As soon as we left Kanpur, morning bed tea was served with two Marie biscuits and a newspaper. We had brief spells of high speed runs marred frequently by slowly crawling freights/express/passengers ahead. Soon after tea, the attendant brought in a bowl with corn flakes and hot milk. I thought this would be too much and decided to give it a skip. Somewhere before Tundla Jn, we were cruising at 130 km/hr and suddenly the LP applied Emergency Brakes and brought the train to a complete stop in less than 1 km distance. The coach attendant ran to the door murmuring "Lagta hai subah subah koi kat gaya!" and returned with the news that the brake pipe had opened up somewhere, hence the emergency braking. When we started again, the pantry guys came with morning breakfast comprising of a bowl full of upma, a bowl of suji halwa (sheera), two slices of brown bread, butter and jam with tea/coffee. Instead of upma-halwa, in one of the three plates, he brought Veg Cutlets with French Fries, and after five minutes came again with a packet and said, "Sir, try this too. Paneer cutlets. Made just now."

By this time, the PA system inside the cabin started playing the morning news from Air India Radio, first in English and then in Hindi. A few minutes later, the guard took over and announced that we were running 45 minutes late and ended with IR's favorite quote- "Inconvenience caused to passengers is deeply regretted." We crawled into Ghaziabad at 10.45am, and from there on it was a slow crawl all the way. As we were leaving Ghaziabad, the pantry guy came with a tray of juices, this time the options being apple and mango. Immediately after this, came the customary "dish for tip" with mouth fresheners and mints. Earlier in the morning, we had a friendly chat with the pantry guys (since we were the only ones awake, everyone else was sleeping with doors/curtains closed) and had joked whether they would be serving us the same juice left over from previous evening. Remembering this talk, just as we were crawling across the Yamuna, he came to our cabin with three glasses of pineapple juice and insisted we have it, since "train late hai". Finally, at 11.45am, we pulled into PF-12 of New Delhi, ending a wonderful journey, rather a wonderful experience.

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