Well, that was a blessing in disguise-since it was early morning, I decided to do my morning walk first, and, as with most mornings, a brainwave stuck-why not go to a new place to walk, instead of the same ole street(s), the same ole park where people try to keep pace with me by hopping a few feet ahead or jogging a few feet ahead? You'll never guess this great new place- the Baroda Railway Station.
Just parked my 2-wheeler in the bylane outside, went to the ticket window and bought a platform ticket(No point in taking a 'fine' risk, na, for just Rs. 3/-), and walked in. First, on platform 1. From one end to the other. There's so many nice changes done at the station, which one would not notice when being there to board a train/drop off people/pick up people, since time is always a constraint.
-There's the small aquarium with brighly coloured fishes swimming around- a cool 1/2 hr could be spent there, when wanting to relax the mind.(No, I didn't spend half hour, since it was walk time).
- The Upper Class waiting room has been done up so that it's even better than the waiting lounge at Ahmedabad airport(where pigeons also fly about, but that's another story)- comfy seats, a TV set,...I could see people fast asleep, which means that they came early to get a good catnap before their journey, knowing the airconditioning would be working well.:)
- The catering's mostly been converted into identical cabins, with the IRCTC(Indian Railway Catering...) boards above, and seem to be much cleaner than ever before.
- The signboards are all digital, displaying which coach will come where, when a train's about to arrive. There's also a board(On the outside) displaying how many seats are available in each coach, if at all.(Baroda Express would usually have '0' everywhere...haha).
- At the fag end of platform 1, I saw a board which said 'Way to Platform 6'- I'd always thought platform 6 was on the Alkapuri side, after Platform 5(And, had intended to explore that, too..haha).
- Platform 6, for those who know Baroda but not this platform, is the new platform and is after the end of Platform 1- you take a zigzag route, and you're there. Very neat and clean, extra entrance from right opposite the GSRTC bus station. And, lots of parking available.
There was a train standing there- Shanti Express(Heaven knows how many trains have been added, since I last used to do regular travel from the station)- Indore to Gandhinagar(or, was it vice versa?). Saw a group of 4 college kids getting up, as the guard waved the green signal. Only one of them began running after the train, after it began moving. There were others as well, who came running onto the platform. running as if their life depends on it. A nice ole uncle was happily buying chips when the train began moving, and he just managed to catch the last bogie of the train after a good 10 minutes run. (All this while, I was continuing my brisk morning walk). I continued ahead till the end of the platform, and turned around. By this time, the train had come to a halt again. Guess why? Yes, the other three college kids had told their friend to pull the chain before it left the station. So, they were smiling now and walking towards the stalled train. Amazing, what some people will do for kicks. And, rotten, to think that our Railways are at the mercy of such people who don't care about time. Anyway, far be it for me to get annoyed.
On Platform 6 also,there're IRCTC stalls every few metres. There's also a photo-set on a banner, depicting Jawaharlal Nehru alighting on the platform, with other dignitaries of that time. I didn't really stop to look closely...will do that on a lazy afternoon, when I enter the platform from that entrance. I couldn't help wondering, though- if someone reaches the platform JIT(Just In Time), with oodles of baggage, and finds that his or her train is from Platform 6, it would be a terrible mess- going from PF1 to 6 would be like a real challenge even for a coolie with his trolley. (I guess there also, two coolies would be required-one to run and pull the chain...LOL- Idea is India, as they say!!(As my school friend used to say, rather).
Well, I came back to PF 1. Then, climbed the stairs towards platform 2, two steps at a time to increase the heart rate a bit more.:) And, came down on the other side. There was a holiday special Pune-Abad train on PF 3. Quite empty, and it made me wish I'd made my Abad program for today, rather than on Monday..haha. This platform's also quite well maintained, compared to the earlier memories I have of it.(Another post on those memories later). The Railway staff cabins are still the same, though- the same files, nee, cardboards with red flaps on top, tied by a 'naada'(A pyjama string), the same letter box kind of cabinets, with titles on each. I wish someone would take steps to modernize these rooms as well, specially since the look of the platform is being done up so well.
Noticed some fun sights on/off the holiday special train- people hopping off and brushing their teeth, using the drinking water coolers basins(It's great fun, I think, to get up in a sleeper class compartment, peer out to see which station is there, get off and do a bit of exploring if there's time, etc). There were also the shouts of 'chaai chaaai' from the tea boys going from one bogie to the other. There were also those alumimium larriwallas, frying their bhajiyas and pakoras and people rushing to them to buy.
I did have a small nescafe at the IRCTC counter. Quite nice it was.
Well, what do you know? That interesting walk took all of 50 minutes- I finally walked back up the stairs, and down to PF 1. Checked out my favourite stall(Obviously, A.H. Wheeler bookshop)-they hadn't opened till then, for some reason.
(Above pic's a night scene-from Platform 2, courtesy google, but naturally). See the illuminated sign saying 'AS1', the typical village folks sitting on the ground waiting for their train and wondering when it would come, the parcels lying outside...so nice).
And, that was my new 'place to walk on' !Will surely repeat this soon!
Thought for the day:
It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, "What are we busy about"?
....Henry David Thoreau
Humour for the day:
Did anyone track the April Fools' Day newspaper pranks? I found a list of what some did, from an online edition of a paper (K.T.), which always remembers to give these fun details on 02.04(Thank you, folks, for sharing):
"In keeping with tradition, media outlets, companies, websites and other jokers came up with various April Fools’ hoaxes on Thursday that ranged from the ridiculous to the absurd.
Australian pen maker Artline was advertising a new product in newspapers and on its websitewww.artline.com.au — a pen that remembers everything you write. “Forget the worry of losing the shopping list or the scrap of paper with that vital name or number on it,” read the Artline advertisement. “You can download it all later — as you wrote it, or in the typeface of your choice.”
Last year on April 1 the company unveiled a pen with microchip tracking so no one could pinch it.
The website HowStuffWorks.com came up with the “twapler”, which is a “stapler that automatically sends a message via Bluetooth or WiFi to a Twitter feed detailing exactly what you’re stapling at any given moment”.
“Whether you’re joining together a research project, tax forms or your divorce papers, the Twapler will send out a message for eager tweeters to revel in.”
Australian broadcaster ABC put out a spoof interview with an injured David Beckham in which the former
England soccer captain said he was set to join the Australian national team, the Socceroos, as assistant manager and lead them to World Cup glory in . South Africa
Residents of the small Australian town of
woke up to the news in local newspaper the Tweed Daily News that “Avatar” director James Cameron had scouted local rainforests as a location for a sequel to the box-office hit. Murwillumbah
By tradition in most countries, people can pull pranks before noon on April 1 in the name of April Fools’ Day but become the fool if they do it in the afternoon.