Thursday, June 18, 2009

Life line of the city…local trains

Yesterday I had an experience of my life. Because of some prior commitments I travelled from my residence to one of the extremes of Kolkata (I am still confused, although Kolkata is not so huge but it never ends also). My god, that entire travel was awesome. I somehow managed to reach Sealdah station to catch a local train, I said somehow because it started to rain while I was on the way and traffic came to a standstill. I purchased a ticket for my travel after so many consultations over phone with multiple navigators who were supposed to keep track on my movement. Amazingly the fares are still very cheap. For a travel of 45 minutes all I paid was just seven Rupees.

Incidentally this was my first ever attempt or first ever dare to travel in any local train. This was a mixed feeling of excitement and concern as I always prefer to avoid all this messy means of travelling. These are called as life lines of the cities they carry. Even my maid also uses this to reach at my place in morning. Although she has to start as early as 4.00 AM to reach in time. I always wondered how she was able to manage all this. So back to the journey. I entered the local and managed to get a place near the window. Each seat looked as it was meant for three people and four were occupying it.

The train started bang on time without any delay but by the time it started it was jam packed. It was a mixed bag of people, some returning from job, some returning from college, few were vendors offering various products like lassi, snacks and even ayurvedic medicine and very few like me travelling for the first time. But the situation was really pathetic as you can see in the picture below

local train Kol  

On reaching the destination, I completed my pre-fixed commitment and then moved to a Govt Guest house for taking rest. It was a location situated on the banks of Hoogly river. The location was an excellent one but very poorly maintained. The view of river was awesome.

IMAGE_036The overall feeling and experience was a good one. Although it was a pleasant one but I would always prefer to avoid travelling through locals in this city as it was not an experience I would like to have again.

I believe the guest house can earn a lot more attraction if it maintained properly and of course the situation in trains should be lot better. Also they should think of providing First class as in Mumbai locals, so that people can think of that as an viable option instead of wasting money and fuel on taxies and cars.

1 comment:

Himanshu Parashar said...

Congratulations! Finally after living half of your age you found yourself lucky enough to travle in a local train. Congrats! again for getting a seat and that too on a window. Jealous of your luck on this. :) I have travelled in local trains right from Mumbai, Chennai, Pune to Mexico City, will check Kolkatta soon. One thing is sure, U MUST and MUST take trips in these trains whenever you get a chance. These are really the life lines of a city and you get acclaimatize to any unknown place faster if you know how to take public transport. In all the places I travelled, I was always surprised by one fact; at a place where you cannot find space to bring your hand upto your forehead to wipe off the sweat, these vendors still find a place to move and also sell their stuff. Hats off to them!