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Old 13th March 2011, 22:09   #1
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Default Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile

THE RAILWAY CHRONICLES

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-100.jpg

Slavery isn't abolished.
Its just a whole lot more sophisticated.

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-151.jpg

What matters is that xobile remembers.....
The only boundaries.....are the ones in his head.
Because while the world stops all those it can......

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-60.jpg

.....it salutes the ones it can't.

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-63.jpg

And the world salutes xobile.
There are stories, and then there are "the stories."
Stories that remain forever on the pages of history books.

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-65.jpg

Stories come and stories go, but xobile's railway chronicles remain forever. Etched on the minds of readers.

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-116.jpg

Presenting the story of a railway journey. Through the eyes of xobile.
A journey of Maharashtra.
A tale of three cities.
Pune.
Nasik.
Shirdi.
All in this first ever travelogue written by xobile.

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-171.jpg

Stay tuned and feast yourself at these pics when the first chapter will be penned down, coming up next.

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-142.jpg
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Old 13th March 2011, 23:01   #2
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Default Re: Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile

CHAPTER 1.
THE PLAN.


Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-108.jpg

Or should I say, the lack of it. Mom insisted on visiting Shirdi on late Feb and I too was enthusiastic, 'cause it will be my fist visit ever.

"Chalo, bulava, aaya hai, baba ne bulaya hai."

But there's one problem. Waiting period. And a big helluva one at that.
Xobile is in tantrums.
To go, or not to go. To go, or not to go.

Kinda like a pre dating date.
She loves me, she hates me. She loves me, she hates me....
Perfect reality show funda. Time to vote.

I drive the Kizashi two days before travel and think...jaon ki nahi jaon?
I then say...whatever be the situation, we will go.
I login to www.irctc.co.in and check the trains.
Unconscious.
W/L 100. W/L 45. W/L 60 etc etc.
Time to do some jugaad.
I call up my star agent, Mr. A.
"Bhow..bhokaal ho gaya hai.."
"Kya?"
"Teen ticket chahiye Kopargaon ki, 24 tareek ki. Aur sab trainon me rukawat hai."
"Chinta not, mil jayega"
"Mujhe chahiye CONFIRM ticket"..I shout at the peak of my voice.
"Bhow chinta not, confirmed milega, Tatkaal mein."
"kaunsa kaal?"
"Tatkaal".
OK..enough of fretting my brains.

And here I go, with enough cash, crank my santro and rush to the agent near my house.
"Bhow..trains dekho"
"Dost, kaunsi train chahiye? batao?"
Koi bhi jo Dilli se Kopargaon jaati ho.
After 30 mins of shouting and screaming, hard hitting and brain tossing, we do a toss and narrow down to two trains.

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-84.jpg
(Pic: Jhelum express and Goa express side by side at the at Kopargaon station)
  • Jhelum Express, which will depart at around 9:20 AM and reach Kopargaon the next day at about 9:10 AM.
  • Goa Express, which will depart Delhi 2 hours later and reach Kopargaon, again at 11:10 AM.
I give him money and tell him to book the ticket at any of these two available trains by 8 AM on 22nd, exactly 48 hours before the departure time under the tatkal scheme.

February 22, 7:45 AM

I get up early, brush with colgate maxfresh cooling crystals for crystal clear breath and view of the locality around on my way to the agent.
Fingers crossed.
8:00 AM.
Three windows are opened.
Server down.
I bang up the primitive computer.
8:05 AM.
Booking finally opens.
Khat khat..khat khat..khat khat...three names are fed.
Mom, pop and xo.
Processing...processing..and finally, good news.
THREE CONFIRMED TICKETS to Kopargaon for February 24th.

After much debate we narrowed the final train choice to this.

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-4.jpg

Just because our plan was to reach Kopargaon by 9:10, and go straightaway to shirdi, which is just 15 kms away instead of getting down at manmad.
And while I go to drive the Kizashi, mom and pop start the packing and the pieces of jigsaw puzzle finally begin to be put in one place.

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-106.jpg

But there is a cache..the return tickets to Delhi are not booked and we proceed as scheduled.
Will our journey be as smooth as silk as we go through silk route?
Find out in chapter 2 of the railway chronicles, coming up next.


Last edited by sidindica : 13th March 2011 at 23:04.
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Old 14th March 2011, 00:00   #3
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Default Re: Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile

What is it about a train that flutters the heart of 2 year old and so does 20!
You mention about Goa Express, took me back to those times, when it was my only train for vacations!
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Old 14th March 2011, 00:30   #4
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Default Re: Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile

Followed you all the way on FB and now here.

I had been to Shirdi - Shani Shingnapur - Traimbakeshwar - Panchvati - Nashik - Mumbai - Bangalore exactly 1 year ago. That was a Fantastic journey.

I rate Shirdi Baba darshan much above the Chaotic and Political Tirupathi.

Waiting for your wonderful writing.

BTW, What is that Orange Palio doing in your posted photos....?
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Old 14th March 2011, 07:44   #5
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Default Re: Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile

Great to read a Train TL. Would be waiting for subsequent chapters

Quote:
Originally Posted by PAVAN KADAM View Post
BTW, What is that Orange Palio doing in your posted photos....?
I guess that is his local ride in Pune. Is that correct Sid?
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Old 14th March 2011, 10:08   #6
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Default Re: Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile

CHAPTER 2.
THREES COMPANY ABOARD JHELUM EXPRESS.


Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-5.jpg

While I was busy compiling the Kizashi report, the packing was almost over, and going by the quality of food available in IRCTC, as always, mom decided to take home made meals for the train journey. All three that's breakfast, lunch and dinner were prepared and now the question was arising on the alarming number of bags we had to carry. Two strolleys, a food bag and a laptop bag, yet it was falling short.

Back to square one. Time to get jazzy.
Honda gifted me a jazz accessory bag last year on some FB contest thingy and finally its time to inaugurate it. No pulled punches. Its huge, tough and adventurous. After all, its designed for adventurous people. Because its one life, so why so serious?

Food at front, covered laptop, camera and other chargers at the ear. Light yet tough, it reduces the load of one bag and at the same time, is flexible and convenient to carry many items in that jazz bag.

Packing over, time to call a taxi.
Dial-a-cab service in Mayur Vihar Phase-2.
Troo troo..troo troo..
Dad gives the house address and within the specified time, a black n yellow wagon-R LXI CNG (old BS3 model) comes to our house and we depart at 9:00 AM going by the mad Delhi traffic in our heels, to board 11078 down Jammu Tawi to Pune, which is scheduled to arrive at New Delhi at 10:05 AM and depart at 10:20 AM.

The taxi goes painfully slow yet a steady speed is maintained and surprisingly, despite the mad ITO rush, we reach New Delhi by 9:40 AM. I get baffled when I see the train destination arrival and departure board and it mentions Jhelum express arrival at 1:30 PM.

Xo is xoxoed.
Pin drop silence.
And its when mom says that its for the other train which will go towards Jammu Tawi. Dad goes through pre boarding checks and enquires about our train. Thankfully, its there on time and we go through security checks and rush towards platform 3, to the extreme last but one area. Thankfully, an escalator is installed on the main pedestrian over bridge from the entrance to the respective platform connectors.

While mom and dad wait for the train to arrive at the correct boarding point of the B-3 coach (Third coach of the 3 tier AC sleeper), I rush towards the reservation chart and heave a big sigh of relief.

Three confirmed seats. Mom and dad get a set of lower and middle berths somewhere in the middle (not side) and I get an upper berth just behind their row.

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-22.jpg

The train finally arrives and we board the B-3 coach. Somehow the coach, made in 2000 at RCF Kapurthala, doesn't appeal to me and looks utterly claustrophobic. Mom and dad take their seats and there I see something different-a colourful jazzed up shatabdi express standing on platform 5.

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-1.jpg

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-3.jpg

Just next to our train, the Karnataka express rubs shoulders on the other track.

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-6.jpg

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-7.jpg

64 seats, with twin power outlets in each of the bigger 6 berth sets, and I sound releived.
Buttt the combination of orangish-tan rexine seat and dark crimson red curtains that are fitted as standard equipment, along with the necessary AC, lights and fan, make the coach appear utterly cramped and dark...
Somehow I get the seat and the train starts its journey towards Pune at 10:30 AM, while we look forward to get down at Kopargaon the next day at 9:20 AM.

Minutes later, the train stops at Hazrat Nizamuddin and parked next to our train is a Mumbai bound Rajdhani Express.

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-10.jpg

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-11.jpg

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-12.jpg

As if railways calls its Jhelum xpress, which has an average speed of 60 kmph as superfast, what would you call a rajdhani which is too optimistically rated at 160 kmph? A rocket?

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-9.jpg

Now as the train starts its journey towards Kopargaon, I take out my mobile and begin to browse internet. Minutes later, something unexpected is about to happen inside the coach and all hell will break loose.

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-23.jpg

This will chart the entire course of my Nizamuddin to Kopargaon journey.

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-25.jpg

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-29.jpg

What am I about to witness?
And what will be our reaction?
Find out all about it in Chapter 3, coming up next....

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Old 14th March 2011, 10:41   #7
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Default Re: Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile

Hi Sid,
These photos should also be uploaded to IRFCA.org . I hope you know about this website of Indian Railway Fan Club.
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Old 14th March 2011, 12:05   #8
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Default Re: Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile

This is interesting, really interesting.
Waiting for more.

Btw, Indian rail has started a weekly train from Delhi to sainagar shirdi station.
You don't need to alight at Kopargaon, its fianl destination is shirdi.
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Old 14th March 2011, 12:07   #9
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Default Re: Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile

Reminds me of my train travel through the mighty western ghats. I am sure you will love these pics.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travelogues/87561-mangalore-bangalore-via-sakleshpur.html
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Old 14th March 2011, 19:33   #10
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Default Re: Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile

Where is chapter3? :o)
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Old 17th March 2011, 07:09   #11
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Default Re: Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile

Man, just reminded me of my childhood.

All my childhood (till I was 21 years old), we stayed in Pune and used to go to my hometown Sonipat using Jhelum express or Goa express (till Nizamuddin). I must have traveled in this train at least 20 times from Pune to Sonipat over the years. I guess I still remember all the train stations enroute.
Manmad ka dosa, Bhusaval ke Kele, Gwalior's flavored milk, Agra ke pethe and Mathura ke pede. Ah, what memories.
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Old 17th March 2011, 07:24   #12
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Default Re: Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile

The most culinary textural change on this route (Goa Express) was the servings of Omelettes in winter!

From Delhi to Agra/Jhansi its Bread And Omellete the French Toast way! Bread is in the omellete! The moment train enters Itarsi, the texture changes to Omelletes being wrapped in Paratas! And it once again changes where train goes beyond Daund to Pune/Satara. I dont even have say how the Omellete is!
Its "Pau" time !

Last edited by ampere : 17th March 2011 at 07:26.
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Old 17th March 2011, 13:04   #13
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Default Re: Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile

A true novelistic experience. I love the way you are introducing us to each moment. You are an amazing write and love to read this.
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Old 17th March 2011, 16:29   #14
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Default Re: Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile

Nostalgia wriiten all over it! Lovely way of describing the entire Tlog too.

"Pune se Delhi jaane wali Jammu Tawi Express, apne nirdharit samay se 20 ghante deri se chal rahi hai. Yatriyon ki honewali asuvidha ke liye kshama chahte hain". That was the line (or something similar) one used to hear quite a few times.

Thanks for bringing back those memories Sid. Now where is the 3rd chapter as promised?
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Old 17th March 2011, 20:58   #15
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Default Re: Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile

CHAPTER 3
EK PREM KAHAANI. TRAIN KE ANDER. ZO KI JUBAANI.


Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-30.jpg

The Nizamuddin station is short halt, and I am alone waiting for my 5 co passengers to board. This is the moment when all hell will brake loose.

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-32.jpg

Bang bang bang, bang bang zamaana bole.
5 people get in and shout at each other trying to push all their paraphernalia.
A father, mother, 4 year old kid, and his paternal grandparents (if the kid's D word instead of N word is to be believed.)
Dhad dhad, the luggage is thrown down the seats, and the train departs.

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-33.jpg

I am face booking from my tiny 6303i, and this kid then starts yelling and screaming at the entire seating row. Donno what he says or tries to say, he's a complete spoilt brat. And his pops is breaking his hell loose by trying to shout and scream at him...and then he gets multiple phone calls from some unknown numbers and hes sleeping on the uper birth when all of a sudden an earthquake strikes in my seating area.

Pin drop silence.
That dad of this kid uses all the abusive words he can and for 10 minutes, makes the environment unbearable, even more so than a typical politician's rally. I am merrily reading autocar India for timepass and again, this kid now starts to irritate the whole bunch.

Lag gayi vaat.

I am getting bored and irritated. Good that I am single nahi to fir.....

I take out my old school camera, and cross one coach and head towards the S1 coach. Sleeper coach. But its exactly the opposite. The world never sleeps here. No AC, curtains or any kind of luxuries. Just light, fan and the joy of openness. Compared to the claustrophobic B3, this coach is just the completely opposite of it. Blues here, there and everywhere. to get rid of the B3 blues.

I find an empty side seat and start clicking..whatever I find..just for timepass. 4 GB pays off after all. I discover India like never before...the montains, the ghats, the hilly areas..the nature's creation, two shades, green and brown. The colour of nature. And to top it all, sunshine atop the clear blue sky. Its priceless.

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-34.jpg

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-35.jpg

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-36.jpg

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-37.jpg

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-38.jpg

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-39.jpg

The so called superfast train must be travelling at 50-55 kmph and I am enjoying the fresh air. Pics clicked from moving train. Spend about half an hour and then go back to my coach only to find a shock.

Somethings cooking. And cooking big time. From nowhere, a l'il girl appears sitting on my seat and playing with my autocar india magazine. The boy admires the cover and the new ford fiesta..and the look on their faces...that days..that good old days of love..rekindle. Thos who were following my updates on FB get a shock when I update that some kind of prem kahaani is cooking between this 4 year old boy and a 3 year old girl..and I can't believe my eyes. I sarcastically make faces and react but that girl refuses to go away. No, she isnt her cousin or her sister but someone else...sitting in the side birth some rows ahead. She looks so cute...but why in the open? Simple..his parents and grandparents are.

No, I ain't kidding. It really happened. And I was there murmering when suddenly,

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-47.jpg

A humongous and a high bridge nears over the Chambal river.

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-48.jpg

As usual, I run and start to take the snaps of this awesome spectacle.

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-49.jpg

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-50.jpg

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-51.jpg

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-52.jpg

This one is my personal favourite.

Shirdi, Pune, Nasik. The Railway Chronicles by !Xobile-img-53.jpg

The depth is humongous and everything appears small. Pint sized. I am mesmerized. If only I can ever get a chance to drive over the millau viaduct...
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