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Archive for October 13th, 2008

I’m in Delhi for a well deserved Diwali break. But that’s the awesome part. Not the main awesome part at any rate. The fun and frankly eye popping was the journey.

I travelled by train. The Rajdhani Express. You see, I’m a great believer in planning ahead and in view of the worldwide recession, have decided to cut back on luxuries. Like food. So I figured (reluctantly and resistant to the last) that air travel logically belonged in that club.

But once the decision was made I was a bit squeamish about the prospect of rail travel after a long time. So I prepared myself for 16 hours of ennui, bad food and qualms about personal safety.

But I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Indian railways totally rock! First off, as soon as I walked into Mumbai Central Station there were metal detectors and security personnel who actually looked alert. Then, as soon as everyone was settled in the train, policemen came with sniffer dogs! Sniffer dogs in trains!    

I have never seen sniffer dogs in reality. Only on TV and it was all very intriguing. The dog, handsome bugger that he was, was quite disappointing though. Blame it on movies but I expected him to dart about energetically under the seats and ferret out all kinds of stuff. But he just went about his business lackadaisically and resisted all stimuli to play the hero.

Except when it came to my crotch. Maybe because I was pre-menstrual, he figured I was a bitch in heat and went at it much to the amusement of his handlers. God, I died of embarrassment and even after more than two hours had lapsed, steadfastly refused eye contact with my fellow passengers.

Things eased a bit after the train started zipping through the Mumbai suburbs and tea was served. There were the most scrumptious cheese sandwiches and samosas I have eaten. Ever. So while airlines are slashing costs by cutting back on already indifferent service and food, the Indian Railways have been quietly improving theirs. All in all a very pleasant journey. Long live Laloo Prasad Yadav and the Indian Railways.

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