Somnath Express

April 2013

Very inspired by Amit-jis advertisements for the Gujrat tourism board, I decided it was time to visit the state. After all when Amitabh Bachchan exhorts you to travel, how can you not listen?

Due to paucity of time, I had to abandon my rather ambitious plan, in favour of an itinerary put together by friends/co-workers who had done the trip a month ago.

This trip is memorable for so many reasons, the primary one being that it was the first trip I took all by myself.

Being *RAC 1, I hopped on to the Somnath Express carefree. There’s always atleast 1 person who cancels or misses the train. “There’s no way, RAC 1 will not get confirmed.”, I thought to myself. That, unfortunately, was not what the Ticket  Checker (TC) believed.  the train was full. He would have to wait for the next big station a couple of hours away, before allotting seats. Bah!

Very well then, I crunched up on my seat and put my yoga to test. Afterall the yoga instructor was always saying that yoga is all about being able to attain shavasana (tranquility of the dead) in any posture. Very luckily, the TC was soon back and I got a berth to stretch out on.

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Breakfast

I woke up the next morning to the sights and smells of Gujrat. And, to the softest, yummiest dhoklas, served with piquant green chutney at Rajkot station. The train splits at Rajkot. One part goes towards Porbandar, the birthplace of the Mahatma. the other, towards Veraval, where I was headed. Being forewarned, I wasn’t alarmed when most of the train pulled out of the station, leaving behind just a few compartments.

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Indian Railways

Stick ice-creams seem to be very popular in these parts. Throughout the journey and all through the trip I noticed the old and young enjoy it alike. A few stations down the line, I jumped out of the train, unable to resist the pull of icecream. As I approached a vendor and asked him if i could get a particular bar, he smilingly replied, “Sure, but you’ll miss your train.” I turned around in time to see the train chugging past. Running along, I got into the unreserved bogie. The hour or so that I spent here was an experience in itself.

As I hopped off at the next stop, I found the TC beaming at me. He seemed more relieved than I was that he had not lost me!

* RAC – reservation against cancellation. On an Indian Railways train, an RAC ticket holder is entitled to a seat but not to a berth. In case of cancellation by confirmed ticket holders, RAC tickets are automatically upgraded to get berths.

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