Wednesday, 13 Dec 2006: Crossing India’s heartland January 12, 2007Posted by Arun Rajagopal in India, Indian Railways, Travel.
The 1482km ride on the Ratnagiri Superfast was interesting. Was quite hassled by a drunk co-passenger who was mad at me for exchanging my berth with a German traveller. He had asked me for the same berth, but I had absent-mindedly told him no. The German dude took out his guitar and strummed on as a crowd of curious onlookers gathered around him. Indulged in idle chit-chat with Rajneesh Kumar, a medical representative working in Allahabad, and the son of a railway guard. Found pleasure in swapping tales about raunchy SMS forwards. A new day began as the double WDM2 headed train ran from North India to Central and then Western India, as I soaked in the landscapes outside. I settled into John Grisham’s first work of non-fiction – An Innocent Man – didn’t enjoy it much. Bought a joke book from Itarsi. Laughed to myself frequently and had fellow passengers wondering what had gone wrong with me. Later, had fun explaining how flash-memory based mp3 players worked to a group of street urchins who had boarded the train in the evening. We stopped at Allahabad, Satna, Jabalpur, Itarsi, Bhusaval, Jalgaon, Manmad, Nasik Road, Igatpuri and Kalyan before reaching Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) around 11pm, after a 26 hour journey. Caught an auto rickshaw from LTT, spent some time looking for rooms, apparently most hotels were full. Finally checked into Hotel Plaza at Sion, quite expensive for its modest amenities.
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