Summer Trip 2017: Maharashtra!
Train: Bangalore to Solapur
Train: Solapur to Kopargaon
Hotel: Sai Ashram & Dwaravati Bhaktinivas Shirdi
Vehicle: Shirdi to Aurangabad
Hotel: VITS Aurangabad
Train: Aurangabad to Mumbai
Train: Mumbai to Lonavala
Hotel: Ganga Zaran Lonavala
Train: Lonavala to Pune
Hotel: FabHotel Lakme Executive Pune
Flight: Pune to Bangalore
The first leg of this trip involved a train journey from Bangalore to Solapur. We could have also booked a train directly to Kopargaon or Aurangabad to begin with, but that would involve a daytime journey in the train. Not a good idea. So, we decided to take a train to Solapur, stay there for a day at my aunts house and take a train the next night to Kopargaon.
Of our group of 17, 2 started the journey from Solapur, 3 people would join us directly at Solapur and 9 would take the train from Bangalore. My cousin and her dad would fly to Pune and join us at Kopargaon. My dad would join us at Shirdi later that day. His was an interesting story :p.
Of the 9 originating in Bangalore, 8 took the Basava Express, Train No. 17307 on the 12th of May. It departed at 1630 from Bangalore City Junction and arrived to Solapur Junction at 0710 the next day.
I took the Yeshwantpur Solapur Superfast Express, Train No. 22134 on the 13th of May as I had a day of school left. It departed at 2050 and arrived at 0840 the next day. This train departed from Yeshwantpur Junction which is pretty far from my house. There is a direct bus to Kempegowda Bus Station or KBS (Which is next to Bangalore City), but Yeshwantpur requires another bus.
Usually when departing on this train, I take the bus 335E to KBS and then take any other bus to Mantri Square Mall, Malleshwaram. There I can easily kill any spare time I have at the mall and then easily take the Metro on the Purple Line to Yeshwantpur. I could directly take a bus from KBS to Yeshwantpur, but wheres the fun in that ;)? The Metro Station is also connected to the Railway Station and as traffic doesn’t affect it, it’s my preferred mode of transport.
This time, my journey was smooth till the Mall. When I began to walk towards the Metro Station, I saw the notice which said the Metro services on this segment were not operating between 10th and 16th May. Shit! I’d read it in the newspaper and forgotten about it. I was then forced to book an UberPool as taking the bus would be extremely time consuming.
I still reached the station more than and hour early, which was okay as I had my Kindle for company. I had tried ordering food through the IRCTC e-Catering portal (They deliver the food to your seat at the station) once before and it had come correctly, so I decided I’d do it again. The first time it was a Dominos Pizza. This time I ordered some Paranthas. Well, I should have remembered Murphy’s Law.
I had chosen Cash on Delivery the first time but this time, I decided to pay by Paytm. I waited the whole hour, and finally it was time for the train to depart, but no food. Finally the train departed and I had to sleep hungry. Well, not technically. I dad stop over at a Burger King so I was okay. 😉
Now begins the story of my seat itself. Indian Railways issues 3 kinds of tickets.
- CNF – Confirmed
- RAC – Reservation Against Cancellation
- WL – Waiting List
In a nutshell: CNF means you have a berth to sleep and a seat to sit. RAC means you only have a seat to sit on. Two people get allotted the same seat number in RAC so you can both sit, or kind of divide a berth into two and try to sleep next to each other. WL means you shouldn’t even be traveling.
Well, my dad was also supposed to come with me on this journey, but his plans changed. And our tickets were RAC. So I didn’t bother cancelling his, as now I could have a full berth to myself and hopefully sleep in peace.
Now, my relatives warned me not to tell the TTE that my dad didn’t come as he would allot his seat to a random stranger on a WL ticket. Then, there would be no point. So, when the TTE came, he asked where the other person (my dad) is. I told him he’s sitting in another coach for now. He confirmed by asking if he has come. I said yes. Then he went. A few hours later, he come back again and wakes me up and asks me is the other person is. I said he’s sitting in another coach for now. Then he says, now I was groggy but I believe this is what he said, “If the other guy isn’t coming, tell me. You can sleep on this bed and I’ll give the other one to someone else.” I said fine. Okay. And he left me alone.
But wait, ‘Other one’? Wait. Did our tickets confirm last minute? Or did the TTE allot us an extra empty berth? Who knows?
The rest of the journey was pretty uneventful except for the guy who kept sitting near my head or legs. Thats why I hate Side Lower Berth!
As usual, the train emptied out at Gulbarga, and I had exactly 4 people in my coach left. We reached Solapur about 30 minutes late, but other than that, it was okay.
An okay start to a great trip!