I recently took a train journey, from Delhi to Guwahati in the First Class compartment of a Rajdhani Express. It’s been a long time since I traveled for 33 hours straight. I like trains. I like their rhythm, and I like the freedom of being suspended between two places, all anxieties of purpose taken care of: for this moment I know where I am going!
This was my very first, first class travel, and I was oh so excited!
I’ll start with the outside of the train! Red and grey has always been the signature Rajdhani look for Delhi – Dibrugarh, but the first class compartment has a beautiful picture of a group of Bihu dancers! So you get that Assam travel right from the New Delhi Railway Station platform!
AC First Class had 2-berth and 4-berth lockable bedrooms. We had been allotted a 4-berth coupe. The berths were much wider than those of the other classes and the doors with curtains provided extra privacy. The linen provided was the same as in other classes – two sheets, a hand towel, a blanket and a pillow.
Now let’s come to my favorite part of a Rajdhani journey – the food! Ever since I was a kid, I somehow loved it when they served the soup, then the lunch and then an ice cream! An hour or so into the journey, Rajdhani started with their refreshments. They started with tomato soup, followed by lunch. The options available to us were Indian veg or non veg (egg or chicken) or continental veg or non veg. I chose continental non-veg (pasta in white sauce, boiled peas and veggies, a piece of roast chicken, noodles, 2 slices of bread and yoghurt) and my parents settled for Indian non-veg (Bowl of dal (lentils), veggies, chicken curry, rotis, rice and yoghurt). Next day’s breakfast was a packet of Bagrry’s cornflakes, 2 slices of bread, a choice between boiled eggs and an omelette, and veggies – all of it served with tea or coffee!
Finally, a train journey is all about having time to reflect, connect and of course enjoy a read!