Friday, May 11, 2012

The Shatabdi Express - Pune to Hyderabad

The change in my Shatabdi experience since last December is marginal.  I have now moved into first class which offers more space and that is about it. The food is just about palatable - in fact I keep leaving out more than I eat, the overall cleanliness pretty ordinary (I had to dust my seat before I sat in it this morning to get some bread crumbs off it), the loos while going to Pune were atrocious, and the general service varies from unsmiling to rather intimidating at times. I do wish someone would train these people who serve food to show some semblance of a smile, of peace around them so the eating experience gets better. And not stare at the poor passengers as if they had made some completely outrageous demands by partaking of the food that they had paid for. The Pune-Hyderabad Shatabdi must be taken for sheer functionality and nothing else. All else is a bonus really - food, service, cleanliness.

One thing that is a constant feature on all forms of travel these days is the ubiquitous Telugu bidda (we are all over the world now anyway) armed with their loud cell phones playing raucous music or their laptops playing downloaded Telugu movies loudly. For some reason I have always had this experience with Telugu biddas only - they seem completely oblivious to the fact that there are other people around them. Give them a cell phone, a laptop and they are lost to the world and go about playing it loudly. Normally they operate in pairs and both seem to enjoy the loud rendition or the movie screening exclaiming to one another loudly. Today's special in the train was a Telugu movie that the two middle aged gentlemen watched at the cost of keeping everyone around them awake. Headphones my dear Telugus, are available. Please use them. I can also see why the Telugus get whacked wherever they go these days - I feel like whacking my fellow countrymen myself and knocking some sense into them sometimes. Well meaning chaps but you know - a bit loud sometimes.

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