It has been over a year since I travelled by the Shatabdi between Singaara Chennai and Bengaluru. As I hurriedly walked along platform 2A to board the Shatabdi, its new sleek look with steel coloured body caught my eye. I remember dismissing it off as a superficial, cosmetic indulgence of no consequence and braced my self to endure a 5 hour journey of cramped leg space, crying babies and if my luck was rotten, a steady AC blast to irritate my sensitive sinuses.
I was stumped when I got into my coach. I stood at the doorway with dropped jaws. The huge glass windows reminded me of a Kajol – Shah Rukh sequence from DDLJ – only that the scene through the glass was not that scenic. As I kept thinking of one random movie song after another, I was subconsciously yanking at the door – which for some strange reason refused to open.
An exasperated gentleman tapped me on my shoulder and sadly shook his head from side to side and showed me a big bright green sign that said “Slide to open”. He was a sure shot middle management type guy – suit, laptop, blackberry… and he gave me a look that said – “These village girls…” I was too consumed by the redone interiors of the train to process his look-down-upon-you attitude. I stepped into the coach and walked slowly – absorbing the swanky interiors – jaw still dropped, so much so I caused a traffic jam of sorts.
The upholstery is now a pleasant sea green with some super soft felt kind of fabric as against the drab grey earlier, the storage space is a kickass see through plastic slab fitted with reading lights, no more musty cloth curtains – there are now some awesome pull down screens, the leg space feels like I am flying business class and the leg rests have been placed more intelligently. I kept playing with the reading lights, only to corroborate the middle mgmt guy’s impression of me! And yeah – the AC ducts are now distributed evenly through the length of the train and I did not have to do through my SOP for fighting cold.
As I settled in, I was handed out a newspaper - characteristic salmon pink with my company’s name splashed on it that made me smile with pride. And much to Mr. Middle mgmt’s surprise, I actually read the paper!
I slept like a baby, read a great book and knew that a great weekend lay ahead of me. Could it be more perfect?