One way flight from Delhi to Patna was costing Rs 20000 for one person for immediate booking and about Rs 5887 if booked two weeks in advance. Train was costing Rs 1500 to 1800. But it was still out of my budget.
Next day I checked Indian railways site and got 2 tickets booked @Rs 1300 which was reasonable price and within my budget.
My friends and relatives had warned me that saving on tickets might cost me more. But I was adamant. They could spend Rs 5000 just for the sake of convenience and luxury but my pocket didn’t allow steep price.
Everyone has a budget that should be kept in mind before spending money.
We had planned 2 months earlier but couldn’t go due to tragedy in our family. At that time both plane and train tickets were easily available and that too in very good price and confirmed tickets.
But you cannot fight with destiny.
Presently the train was good but tickets were not confirmed. Waiting list for me and my wife was 12 and 13 respectively.
This was 2 weeks back in 4th week of March. We were happy that tickets would be confirmed in any case till our travel date.
We packed our luggage. I was excited.
We had to shift to Patna as I had decided to do business with one of my friend. I was not finding Delhi interesting anymore may be due to traffic jams, long distances, and pollution among other things.
I wanted to settle in a small city and earn reasonably to fulfill our needs and serve society.
My friend was from Delhi and was into business. He had established another shop in Patna as there are more traders in Patna than anywhere else in north and east India and has a very vast potential for earning.
I was not worried about accommodation.
It took several days to decide what to pack and what to leave. We started packing and took couple of days in completing packing. Finally our travel date arrived and we checked all our belongings.
We were surprised to see 5 luggage bags that we had to drag with us in the journey. We had not expected so many bags. We tried to empty some of our belongings but everything was important. It was not a leisure trip. We had to settle in Patna.
My parents also wanted to come with us to the railway station. I said, “Please relax at home. We will manage”. But they didn’t listen.
My wife thought of checking PNR status.PNR status is allotted by Indian railways against tickets booked and gives details of coach, seat numbers and confirmation status among other things.
We had planned to go by Delhi metro but finally decided to take cab as we had to go with parents.
Now time was very short and we had to take calculated moves.
PNR status was opened. My heartbeat went down and my wife was surprised. Tickets were still not confirmed but waiting was still 2 and 3 respectively. It had never happened that tickets booked earlier were not confirmed even after 2 weeks.
We were frequent travelers and last time waiting list of 17 and 18 was confirmed only after a week.
My father was angry after knowing the ticket status. He simply said, “Why confirmed tickets were not booked”. It was difficult for me to make him understand why confirmed tickets were not booked. We silently listened and kept quiet.
Cab arrived in 5 minutes at 5.30 PM. We had booked cab keeping in mind train departure time which was scheduled for 8.00 PM.
Cab was small and we were 4 people with 5 luggage bags. Radio cabs are allowed to carry maximum 4 passengers and 2 luggage bags. I decided to go by metro if the cab driver refused to take all of us. I requested the driver to open boot space. Boot space had CNG cylinder but thankfully there was some space. The driver arranged 2 luggage bags in boot space. My wife and my parents sat at the back with 2 bags. I was left with one bag.
I sat in front but could not keep bag. There was no space. I came out and kept the bag. Now I could not sit. Everyone laughed and I was embarrassed.
The driver came and kept the luggage on the floor mat. Then I sat. My leg was between the bag and the gear box. There was no space for another leg. The driver asked me to adjust my piece of leg between the door and the bag. It was adjusted after much efforts and cab finally moved.
After 15 minutes I felt uneasiness in both legs and pain started in thighs. I couldn’t do anything. My left foot was inclined downwards and I couldn’t keep it flat. Right thigh was tilted right towards the gear box and I couldn’t move it. I cursed myself.
It was better to travel by metro.
I could not express my feelings when I saw traffic jam in Google maps. I laughed at my fate and thought of sleeping to ignore leg pain. Half an hour distance stretched to about 45 minutes.
Finally we reached railway station. We paid Rs 378 to cab driver and reached inside railway station. First task was to get a general ticket so that it could be converted into confirmed ticket by TC (ticket checker).
Ground floor had 3 counters and we stood in queue in one of the lines. 10 minutes later one guy came and informed that general ticket is issued on 1st floor.
We went upstairs. There was neither escalator nor lift. There were 5 queues and we stood in the shortest queue. We approached the window and asked for general ticket. The counter guy said, “This ticket cannot be converted into confirmed one in such a short time.”
We thought of taking risk since we had come all the way from home and there was no point in looking back.
We paid INR 540 and took ticket. We went downstairs, took our luggage and we all four started for platform.
There was benched on one side and we found seats on one of the bench. We inquired about the train. The train was already there on the platform. We found three tier AC coaches and luckily we were sitting on the bench facing three tier AC coaches. After 5 minutes, I inquired from a local vendor for TC and when gates would be opened.
He said, “Gates will open at 7.00 and TC will come at 7.30.”
We waited for 15 minutes. My wife went to northern railways staff man standing in front of another AC coach and inquired the same thing. He said, “Gates will open at 7.15 and TC will come at 7.45.”
We were feeling uncomfortable as time was running out.
The gates didn’t open and there was no sign of TC on the platform.
I saw another railway staff man and inquired. He said, “Gates will open soon but TC comes 10 minutes before departure of train.
My father again was angry and shouted at the platform, “I had told you to get confirmed tickets. Now see what’s happening.”
Gates finally opened and everyone waiting for AC coach went inside. Very few people left on the platform.
We became somewhat nervous as we had 5 bags and it was not easy in10 minutes to get confirmed ticket and board train with 5 bags.
The TC finally came. We could recognize him by his white shirt and black trouser with a black coat neatly worn on shirt.
We requested the TC for confirmed ticket. He said, “Ticket cannot be confirmed as there is no seat available.” We again requested. He said, “Please talk to sleeper class TC. He may have seat.”
We went to sleeper class TC but he had same answer. Now my heartbeat jumped and I became nervous. TC informed us to board sleeper class and contact him at Aligarh station. We could get confirmed ticket either in sleeper or AC coach.
We were in confusion as it was not sure that we get confirmed ticket at Aligarh and it was 15 hours journey from Delhi to Patna.
We boarded the sleeper class as we didn’t want to go back after so much had happened. We had not travelled in sleeper class much especially my wife who always travelled in AC coach. There was smell of urinal and people were sitting on the floor between seats on either side of the coach.
We could not bear this. We immediately got all 5 bags out of the coach. Now we were on the platform.
We discussed if we should board the train or not. We decided not to board the train as it would have been a nightmare travelling for 15 hours without a seat with 5 bags.
The train started moving and we waited on the platform for the train to go.
It was a frustrating moment for all of us.
We moved out of the platform and thought of going back by metro. But it was difficult in going till metro gate and moreover we had to change metro to reach our destination.
Finally we decided to take a cab as metro would have cost at least Rs 150 for all four of us. Cab would cost somewhere around Rs 400.
Cab was booked. Cab was again small. Only 3 people could sit inside the cab.
My father shouted at the driver and asked him to open boot space and show him why luggage could not be kept. Boot space had CNG cylinder leaving no space for the luggage.
My father made all of us sit in the cab. I sat in the back seat along with my mother and wife and of course 4 bags.
Father sat in the front with bag on legs. We could fee he was not comfortable. My wife was also not comfortable as 3 bags were kept behind us blocking the rear view. One bag was kept on her legs.
Finally we reached home at 10.00 and paid Rs 438. We all felt relaxed after deboarding the cab.
My friends had been calling me but I didn’t want to answer calls. They would ask, “Where have you reached.”
We had dinner and went to sleep. I was feeling very tired and tried to sleep but it seemed as if sleep had eluded me. I was lost in thoughts.
I should have opted for confirmed ticket even if it was costing Rs 200-300 extra. I had ending up paying approx Rs 1400 extra for general ticket and two way cab.
I kept on thinking about this and not sure when I slept. Soon I started dreaming of looking next available date for confirmed ticket.