Thursday, August 11, 2016

Safar - The Journey From Delhi To Kalka "My Travel Diary to Shimla"

One nice rainy day in Delhi, all out of blue, we decided to visit Shimla for vacations. 
"So, when do you want to go ?" asked my family. And the answer was by end of next week. 
"But its raining there, climate is not favorable, media is full of news of land slides in Shimla, its too risky. Plan for winters. " Said parents. 
But I have always been known as an obstinate person. As one, who once decided, then have to do it. 
Within next 4 days, I got my train and hotel reservations. 
Again all suggested me to travel by Volvo or Car. Hotel was ready to provide car service from Delhi to Shimla, but again, I said a big NO. 
The reason, I wanted to enjoy the beauty of nature. I am a traveler by nature not a tourist. 

Happened the unexpected : 
On evening of 31st July 2016, we were good to go. We had reservations in Kalka Shatabdi. 
We boarded, got our seats and happened the unexpected when a gentleman came and claimed that the seat was his. He presented his tickets and we presented ours in counter. Both of us were convenience that we are right and railways must have made some mistake. 
We crossed checked our PNR numbers and all was same there. What to do now ?
We rushed to Station Master. He examined the tickets and he was affirmative that some mistake has been there in ticketing system. But he kept himself away from case by saying, "In case of Shatabdi, you need to talk to Ticket Checking Officials on board. Its not my jurisdiction."
Train was about to leave in next 10 mins. There was no time to argument. 
We approached the said officials, and they were affirmative too. But one seat cannot be assigned to two persons. 
"Is is urgent to go. Cannot it be next week or next day. I can manage the refunds. " He asked me. 
But I had decided, and said sorry. I have to go. 
He suggested to get on board and he will see the matter in the train. 
We were on board. My friends were in huff about the complications. 

Next most unexpected thing, You can laugh at it : 
TC came and suggested, to get tickets cancelled and get new. But new tickets were double the price. 
All asked me to deboard at next station ( Kukukshetra ) and board next train from there. But thanks to my obstinate nature and we decided to buy tickets in train itself from TC, so what if its double price. 
And another unexpected situation was waiting for us. 
None of us were carrying sufficient cash. All were getting mad now. Some how managed to get them calm and think, all is well. 
What next, all looked at me with a lot of questions on their faces. 
We will get cash at Ambala Station from ATM, the best possible solution. I suggested. 
"But it stops only for 5 mins there, my friend said." Its my responsibility. 
I calculated the time. The train was running early and stop was of 8 mins officially. Enough for me. 
Some how, in situations like these, I have always been able to do the task. 

At Ambala : 
Like, our bad luck was favored by its stars in sky. All ATMs at Ambala Station - PNB, SBI, Union Bank and Bank of India, were either out of cash or not working. SBI ATM was actually looking like it had been ripped apart. 
In 5 mins, I have covered all these ATMs, almost out of my breath, boarded train again. 
TC, thanks to him, had been very helpful. Chandigarh, is next, you can try there. 

At Chandigarh : 
Something else was running in my mind. I started searching form some old friends in Chandigarh and found some were still there. Thanks to the almighty that, I have been blessed with friends who hardly ask questions on my decisions or requirements. 
I just said, Hay, I am reaching Chandigarh on way to Kalka, and need some money; and they immediately replied, which platform and how much. 
It was like my backup, if ATMs at Chandigarh happen to be same like at Ambala. 
Well, my friend came and helped. thanks to him and ATMs at Chandigarh, were again not working. 

We reached Kalka : 
Finally we reached Kalka on scheduled time around 10:30 pm and a long wait of 9 hours was there for next train - Shivalik Express. From Kalka to Shimla. 

A lot of hickups had happened so far. And after knowing for 9 hours, we have to stay at station as its raining out side and no good hotels are nearby. Also, no one would like to miss the train in the early morning and last, it was unwise to put heavy money in hotel when Indian railway had decent waiting facility. 

The wait was over :
It was a beautiful breezy morning at Kalka. I came out of waiting room. Took a long walk at platform. It was so beautiful, outside. It was raining and I could easily see clouds kissing the hills.

Shivalik Express was there, but departure had been rescheduled and it was late by 2 hours now. 
After knowing that train is late, some of friends were so mad and impatience. But I had maintained my peace with situation. Because I knew, a very beautiful journey is waiting for us and all will be saying thanks to me for it. :) 

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