I have always loved travelling by trains, enjoying the feeling of nostalgia, and an experience that no other mode of transport can give you. But over a period of time due to time constraints I have travelled more and more by flights and taking trains less often.
The flights save you a lot of time especially when you are on a business trip. Booking train tickets always have been a pain, especially if you are trying to book train tickets online in tatkal on IRCTC, for a journey planned last-minute. You may end up spending more time trying to book train tickets, than the time taken by flight to reach your destination. But ever since one of the airline that was fueled by alcohol, evaporated in thin air, the low-cost airline are low-cost only in name. For a family of 4, going to home town, just the return plane tickets can easily cost upwards of 25 thousand bucks, not small change for most of us. Now compare this with less than 10 K for a comfortable ride in an AC couch of the great Indian railways for the whole family.
So, recently when the kids were returning from their grandparent’s home, we voted in favour of the train, with the money saved going towards a long list of demands that the girls gave to me. But more than the money saved it was the journey that made us so happy.
We were in the second AC compartment and the journey was of around 24 hours. After the initial confusion of finding seats, chaining the luggage and mediating a fight between siblings over berth rights, we settled. Soon the curtains were drawn and we had our own little kingdom, enough to stretch our arms. Once the train left the city, there were no cell phone signals, and the kids took out chess from their bag and started playing. I could not maintain my Swiss government like non-alignment for long and was soon drawn into the battle when we were crossing, I guess the, Haldi Ghati or was it Panipat?
Well it was immaterial, as Pinkette and me were losing every single pawn to the allied forces of mother and elder daughter, fortunately dinner arrived and the battle ground shifted from the chess board to the dinner plate. But not before the 4-year-old declared, “Papa you need to practice chess more often, otherwise I will not take you in my team next time”, I grinned, thinking that we need to travel more often by trains to get some quality family time together.
Is it not ironical that this little space in the train compartment revived the magic of great outdoors that I have experienced with the kids earlier? Trains may have a hundred drawbacks compared to a flight but the magical experience they offer can never be surpassed by flights. You may spend more time in the train, but trust me this time spent in the train is worth lot more than the money saved. So go ahead plan you next family trip together in the great Indian rail network that will happily take you from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Gujarat to Guwahati. Bon Voyage!
Sasha and Prasad Np are proud parents of 2 girls whom they fondly call Princess and Pinkette. He wears many hats after taking a break from being corner office critter for a long time. He is now an entrepreneur, blogger, photographer, traveler and a potential investor in start-ups with unique concepts especially if they are in travel related business. He blogs at Desi Traveler, and can be reached at Facebook and Twitter.