Well, this is one of the million random incidents, both good and bad, that occur daily on various stations and trains of our mammoth Indian Railways network.
The reason this little tale find its way over here is because this led to a big smile on many faces. So, here’s the scene: Its 10:15 pm, Lucknow Railway Station, Platform 2, Train No. 12231 , the always-overcrowded Lucknow Chandigarh Superfast Express. The departure of the train being at 10:30pm, most of the people had already taken their seats. But wait, there is some confusion.
Right in front of my seat, there was a group of 6 seemingly illiterate, village people who were claiming the same seats as some other people in the compartment. According to them, although their status in the ticket was waitlisted, the seats belong to them as they had checked the same a few hours ago.
But their name is missing from the chart! Whats going on over here? In order to clear the confusion, I decide to step it. I ask the person to hand over his ticket to me, so that I can check his PNR status on my phone.
Well, surprise surprise, their ticket had been upgraded to AC-3 Tier! Though this news would have brought a smile on most people’s faces, this wasn’t the case right now. They were skeptical, confused and a bit intimidated with the thought of stepping in an AC compartment. They can’t be blamed for feeling like that for sure. This was quite an uncomfortable situation for someone who would never have in his/her wildest dreams though of travelling in an AC compartment, simply because it was out of their budget.
After some deliberation and whispering discussions, two of them decided to check out the seats, while the rest decided to wait back to talk to the TTE. After about 10 anxious minutes, both the long-awaited people and the TTE came. The train had already started moving. Here’s the conversation:
The pair: We could not reach the compartment. The division between the sleeper and AC coaches is locked and the TTE on the AC-side isn’t opening the door.
TTE: Just go and try again. Tell him that “mobile dikha raha hai ki AC me seat hai” (the mobile phone is showing that our seats are in the AC compartment).
The pair: Are you sure?
TTE: Yes, obviously. Just go and tell him “mobile dikha raha hai”.
So, they go again, and return after 10 minutes, happy with the confirmation that their seat has been upgraded and that the INDEED WOULD BE TRAVELLING IN AN AC COMPARTMENT. That sent a huge smile on the faces of the entire family(1 granny, 1 newly married couple, 1 not so newly married couple, 1 single man and 4 kids) and they happily proceeded to their new seats, for probably the dream journey of their lives.
So, that was the story. Something that could have happened only in India, on the Indian Railways network. Every day hundreds of tickets are upgraded, but this time, due to some policy framed by some railways minister, a family got a wonderful surprise gift from our not-so-efficient Indian Railways. 🙂