I’ve been missing in action as always. I had taken quite a long break from all my travel activities due to health reasons. To everyone who is new here, let’s take a recap. I live in Sindhudurg since 2020, I love Konkan, and thanks to my freelance career I have the freedom to work from anywhere, I chose Konkan as my second home. The air is fresh, nature is in full bloom throughout the year and my health is mostly good when I’m here. The climate here is humid as Sindhudurg is a coastal district, however, it’s pollution free.
I was in Mumbai for good 3 months, did all my healthcare work, attended my best friend’s wedding, and finally decided to come back. My plans these days have become unusually spontaneous and I’m loving every bit of my spontaneity. No more planning for weeks and months, such plans never work out for me. Does it happen to you as well? I feel it happens with most of us. We keep planning and due to some or the other reason things simply don’t work in our favor.
Spontaneity was never my jam; it is my jam now. I Book tickets just a week prior to my journey and just go for it (of course it isn’t easy to get tickets on IRCTC). However, tatkal tickets and many express trains these days have made it easy to book tickets not much in advance.
I was more of a watch scenery listen to music and take a nap kind of person on a train, Ac compartments are comforting for people like me, but this time I decided to cut down my travel hours plus I wanted to experience the VISTA DOME coach. Indian railways have vista dome coaches in their express chair car trains. Usually, it takes around 8-10 hours of travel time if I decide to travel by regular trains like Mandovi, which runs from CSMT (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj terminus) to Madgaon (Goa). Tejas is a super fast train it takes just 5 hours and 45 minutes to reach kudal from panvel. Sounds like a fair deal to me.
The vista dome coaches have a capacity of 44 comfortable seats, these coaches have huge glass panels for travelers to witness the beauty of nature during their journey, with 360-degree rotatable seats. Sounds fun right? As the Vista dome coach is the last coach of the train, there is a small seating and standing area from where you can see a clearer view of the train moving speedily on the tracks.
So, while booking my ticket I had no idea EC was Executive Class/Chair car and EV was Vista dome coach. I thought the priciest ticket must be vista dome hence I went ahead and booked EC, I was super excited, and I had no clue I had booked the wrong ticket, wrong as in Ec was not vista dome.
Then came the day of my travel, I had planned to travel light, and guess what I just couldn’t. I don’t really understand how people even travel light. Anyway, I can’t blame myself, I had to take a truckload of stuff. Truckload for me is two suitcases weighing approximately 15 kgs each, and my laptop bag. I reached the station on time; the train was late as usual. Does it ever happen with you? Or, Does Indian Railway simply has something against me?
As the train was delayed, so was the announcement, since covid-19, Indian railways make announcements just 20 minutes prior to the arrival of the train. It’s really inconvenient and extremely annoying. Imagine running with three bags and my own body weight, huffing and puffing early in the morning, with my blood glucose dipping lower than my weight, which doesn’t sound pleasing to me.
Finally, the train arrived on platform no.6, the devil platform, if you’ve plenty of luggage don’t forget to pray for the will and courage to carry that luggage. I reached the platform 5 minutes prior to the departure, I was so relieved to see the train making its way to the platform, the engine screeched and the train stopped, Tejas express has automatic doors, I ran towards the EC coach door, then Mr. Ticket checker asked me which coach do you want to board, and my mouth immediately blurted out, vista dome, he guided me to the vista dome coach. I got in, there was literally no space to keep my luggage, hence I placed it neatly near the luggage loft and went ahead to look for my seat. Oh. I forgot to mention I literally panicked while boarding the train and asked a few uncles to get out of my way, but of course politely or not.
Guess what I couldn’t find my seat, and that was the moment I realized EC and EV coach are not the same, EV is a Vista dome coach, whereas EC is an executive class/chair. As mentioned above I thought the priciest ticket would be vista dome and booked EC instead of EV. The moment I realized the blunder I had created I really didn’t know whether I should laugh or cry. I just stood there with 40-something passengers looking at me with sympathy and disbelief. The worst was yet to come, EC and EV compartments have no internal connectivity. I had to wait till Ratnagiri to change my compartment. Not a single seat was available in EV, even though everyone kept offering some random seat, people would show up from the back of the coach which I call a selfie or video point of Vista dome.
People inside the train were so caring, the entire coach came to know about what had happened, everyone was nice to me except those uncles whom I rushed to get inside the train while boarding the wrong compartment.
It was breakfast time and the attendant was serving everyone breakfast, of course except me, even though I had opted for a vegetarian meal with my ticket. I wouldn’t care for my breakfast or tea had I not been a chronically ill person who needs to pop pills before and after each meal. I asked the attendant to give me tea so that I can take my meds and sit at the end of the coach and read my book. He impolitely refused me my breakfast and Tea. That’s it, I lost my patience and the only option in front of me was to tweet my issue to Railwayseva, Konkan railway, and Railministry, I know sounds too childish, but hey I didn’t miss my coach on purpose nor did I ask for my chronic illnesses. Within a few minutes of tweeting, the attendant came and agreed to serve me breakfast, and we both apologized to one another for losing our tempers. He even called my coach attendant and confirmed that I have boarded the train but I’m in the wrong coach. I was served my breakfast, which I ate took my meds and enjoyed the view. Both the attendants promised me they would help me change the coach at Ratnagiri and they sure did. I’m really grateful for both their kindness and generosity.
This is just an experience I wanted to share with my readers. What did I learn from this particular incident? Oh, I learned a lot. First of all, always use the internet to check what is EC and EV, and learn the difference between the two. Second, never leave home without snacks enough to feed your tummy not for the entire day, just enough for a single meal, even if you’ve opted for paid food during your journey. Third always be polite, and when your politeness is taken for granted, go ahead and tweet everyone, Chief minister, Prime minister, Railway minister, you might as well tweet God. Damn, kindness and politeness should never be taken for granted. Fourth, when someone apologizes for taking your kindness for granted, you accept that apology and apologize for not being patient. Fifth, there are really nice people out there, the world isn’t as bad as it seems, people come with a helping hand even though you didn’t ask for it, and believe in the power of kindness. Sixth, I literally manifested traveling in vista dome, I couldn’t sleep the night before my train journey, and I think the universe conspired and made me choose the wrong coach, even Mr. ticket examiner agreed to this. Damn, I was so happy when I changed the coach, imagine if had I hopped into the right coach, I would never see the beautiful landscapes I saw from vista dome coach, I wouldn’t meet all these lovely people. I just would’ve missed the opportunity to witness the beauty those 2 and half hours gave me. Learn to appreciate the little moments of happiness. That day I learned and told myself, from now on, whatever happens, happens for a reason Ashwini, always remember this. Never let go of the smallest of your dreams and keep manifesting.
Okay, next week I went ahead and booked Vista dome from Kudal to Goa because I’m greedy and also because I loved my Vista journey a bit too much, and guess what I met the same attendant, he recognized me and even asked how I was doing. Damn my world is small now.
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed sharing my experience, do comment below your train experience which made your journey interesting.