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My BEST train journey EVER!

Last updated on: May 9, 2013 10:48 IST

My BEST train journey EVER!

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Sumit Rajwade Sumit Rajwade/Rediff.com
Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi Express offers you a slice of luxury says Sumit Rajwade.

It was quiet warm Friday evening when I landed in Delhi with my family for a much-needed break to Shimla and Manali.

We were all quite excited and looking forward towards this vacation which we planned almost at the eleventh hour. While the rest of the bookings were done, I was quite sceptical to take the kids all the way from Delhi to Simla crammed in the car.

As it is, the journey from Shimla to Manali and from Manali back to Chandigarh in car would be taxing for the kids (It takes 8 hours each for both the rides)

So, we decided to book the car from Chandigarh and took a return flight from Chandigarh to Mumbai. The only better option left was a train from Delhi to Chandigarh. I was lucky to get four seats in AC Chair Class in the Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi Express.

The train is scheduled to depart from New Delhi at 7.40 am and reach Kalka in four hours later covering the distance of over 300 km.

This is what happened in those four-odd hours.

7.20 am

We reach the station where the train is docked on platform number two.

To my surprise I see a swanky new train with broad window coaches waiting there.

The Ticket Checker is speaking to some people about the waiting list positions. I suddenly see a person using the cleaner to clean all the windows. Wow! That's cool I say to myself. I am about to buy a bottle of water when the guy running a small canteen on the platform tells me that it will be given one in the train once it starts.

7.40 am

The train leaves on time. Not a minute late. An attendant named Rajendra introduces himself to us. He informs us he will be our caretaker for the rest of the journey. He gets us some newspapers and I pick up an English daily.

8.10 am

Rajendra returns again with a bottle of water and a flask which contains hot water. He serves both along with the tray which contains biscuits, dairy whiteners and tea/coffee sachets.

Did you take a train journey that has stayed with you even after all these years? Met someone interesting, made a friend, fell in love, got over a heartbreak, discovered yourself? Tell us all about it! Simply write in to getahead@rediff.co.in (subject line: 'My most memorable train journey') with photographs attached and the little story behind your contribution. We'll be posting the best entries right here on rediff.com all through the week!

Photographs: Sumit Rajwade/Rediff.com

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8.30 am

I look out the window and notice that the train is moving at super fast speeds now. Rajendra comes and hands over the menu card which mentions all the hot snacks which will be served on board today.

Since it is a morning train, he asks us to pick from the breakfast menu that contains everything from south Indian and north Indian vegetarian dishes to an eggs based non-vegetarian menu. I jokingly asked him if all the items were available and he politely replied "YES SIR!"

9:00 am

The train has just left Panipat. Rajendra returns again, this time with another tray and full breakfast served. It is hot and tastes great. As we start, he takes a round and asks people if they want something extra. I am impressed with the service!

9:45 am

By the time the train leaves Kurukshetra, we are done with our breakfast. Rajendra clears the plates and another person walks in and cleans small pieces of plastic, food etc lying on the floor.

10:00 am

I look around to see if I could charge my laptop to complete some last-minute work when I discover that each row is equipped with a charging point and reading lamps. This is turning out to be the best railway journey of my life.

10:45 am

Rajendra returns to take another round, this time he is asking people for tea or coffee.I give the beverages a pass but happily tip him for the services he's offered.

Rajendra looks pleased. He tells me I am the first person to tip him in the bogey.

I tell him that he deserved it for the warm service he offered.

It was indeed a 5 star treatment -- a luxury on wheels and as a custom, a good service should be tipped well!

Did you take a train journey that has stayed with you even after all these years? Met someone interesting, made a friend, fell in love, got over a heartbreak, discovered yourself? Tell us all about it! Simply write in to getahead@rediff.co.in (subject line: 'My most memorable train journey') with photographs attached and the little story behind your contribution. We'll be posting the best entries right here on rediff.com all through the week!

Photographs: Sumit Rajwade/Rediff.com

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