Whoever came up with the idea of low-cost airfares for domestic routes was a genius! And i speak from my heart when i say this. After all, how else would it have been possible for common people like you and me to experience the wonders of a plane journey?
Before you start going into the economics of low-cost flights and their financial (un)viability from the long term point of view, let me clarify that I’m not talking about such complex issues. Nor is it my intention to debate whether the fares are actually low or not (how low is low really??). Rather, what I’m trying to say is that were it not for these low cost flights, most of us would still be forced to endure the horrors of a train journey.
By now, I’m sure, its apparent that I dislike travelling by trains. Chiefly, because of 2 reasons- One, they take ages to reach the destination (which wouldn’t be such a bad thing, except for the second reason). Two, you could end up sharing a compartment with just about anybody (I really need not be any more specific here!). It is on these two factors that the fate of a ‘happy journey’ is delicately hinged upon.
A recent journey from Mumbai to Goa by train (yeah well, this time the low cost fares were indeed not low so we had no choice!) renewed my dislike for trains. Just as my husband and I were settling down into our seats, a big group of almost 15 people and 30 bags (!!!) walked in and started hunting around for their seat numbers. Unfortunately (for us), all their seats were not together, so for the next 15 minutes, till they could request and cajole other passengers into moving around so that they could as ‘together’ as possible, there was total chaos all around. And that was only the beginning. Being a big group, they naturally assumed that it is their duty to keep the rest of the passengers in the bogie apprised of how much fun they were having by talking (more like shouting) at the top of their voices. All of us were also kept well informed of each and every food item consumed by them. I guess that they had probably also bet on who in the group would be loser enough to sleep first (for none of them slept a wink) and so, of course, the rest of us also did not sleep. Given that a major part of the journey was covered in the night, you don’t need me to tell you that our journey was no fun at all!!
Well, fortunately our stay in Goa was amazing so the train journey now seems like a minor blemish on n otherwise fantastic vacation.
Its just that when people travel in big groups in a train, they forget anyone else exists and presume that the ‘group’ gives them the license to be as loud as they please. A liberty that airplanes (fortunately) do not permit. For all my criticism of trains and groups, it would not be fair if I did not confess that I too have travelled in really large groups in trains (the good old college days and college trips!) and behaved in exactly the same (maybe worse) manner as I described above. Now would also be a good time to mention that I am, at the moment, heading back to Mumbai in (you guessed it!) a train. After all, where else can you find the time to write an article? A plane journey is really too short, isn’t it?!?