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Showing posts with the label Indian Railway Canteen

Less Order On The Superfast Express!

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I was happy to see the train already placed and ready for boarding as I entered the platform that afternoon. I was happier to find my two-tier compartment sparsely populated, a bright-looking young man sat hunched over his smartphone on the lower berth opposite to mine and the two upper berths were unoccupied. The two side berths were empty too. I accosted the young man perfunctorily and sat down on my berth in royal comfort after pushing my handbag under the berth. Normally, I don’t get too talkative with fellow passengers, because most of the times they disappoint you with their casual time-pass manners and, to make it worse, they always seem to take advantage of anything at your cost. Therefore, on my train journeys I mostly keep myself busy with books and phones. Of course, I invariably enjoy the food on board, and in the night, I enjoy lying down on the berth with the rhythmic movement lulling me into a good slumber. My gastronomy works much more efficiently too than otherwise.
I…

The Connecting Train!

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I was supremely confident that the connecting train would wait for us. Our first train was running five hours late, and the onward connecting train was to leave from the big junction at about three hours after the scheduled arrival of our train. Most of the passengers booked for that train gave up hope. I tried my best to infuse confidence in them by pointing out the obvious fact that our reservation tickets showed confirmed births on the connecting train, and therefore, it was a sacred obligation on the part of the Indian Railways to make the train wait for us. Some of the depressed co-passengers believed in me. I was not only mistaken but was colossally being naive.
Yes, the connecting train left on the scheduled departure time, more than two hours before our final arrival, leaving us stranded for the night at the station waiting room. Of course, the ticket was valid and it was adjusted in the train leaving early morning next day for our destination. This was the first case of missi…

Nostalgia: Indian Railway Canteens and Meals!

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Today I just happened to read a news item regarding a Mumbai railway canteen which is serving only biscuits and samosas due to policy decisions. And, suddenly all the nostalgia came surging back to me!

Call it fate or coincidence, in the late eighties and early nineties I used to miss the connecting trains on my journeys from Mumbai to Guwahati almost always getting stranded at Howrah. But during my nights at the second class waiting room floors I used to have sound sleep, Because, I always had the sumptuous thali (rice plate) at the Howrah railway cafeteria. All the varieties were there--vegetarian, fish curry plate, egg curry plate or the chicken thali. The food was homely, innocent and always tasty. To make matters ecstatic, I was ravenously hungry on all the occasions!

Not only at Howrah, all of the railway canteens anywhere in India appealed to my gastronomic mind hugely. They looked so welcoming and appetizing. It was a comfort zone, almost a home where you can barge in with al…