My adventure with unconfirmed ticket

One way flight from Delhi to Patna was costing Rs 20000 for one person for immediate booking and about Rs 5887 if booked two weeks in advance.  Train was costing Rs 1500 to 1800. But it was still out of my budget.

Next day I checked Indian railways site and got 2 tickets booked @Rs 1300 which was reasonable price and within my budget.

My friends and relatives had warned me that saving on tickets might cost me more. But I was adamant. They could spend Rs 5000 just for the sake of convenience and luxury but my pocket didn’t allow steep price.

Everyone has a budget that should be kept in mind before spending money.

We had planned 2 months earlier but couldn’t go due to tragedy in our family. At that time both plane and train tickets were easily available and that too in very good price and confirmed tickets.

But you cannot fight with destiny.

Presently the train was good but tickets were not confirmed. Waiting list for me and my wife was 12 and 13 respectively.

This was 2 weeks back in 4th week of March. We were happy that tickets would be confirmed in any case till our travel date.

We packed our luggage. I was excited.

We had to shift to Patna as I had decided to do business with one of my friend. I was not finding Delhi interesting anymore may be due to traffic jams, long distances, and pollution among other things.

I wanted to settle in a small city and earn reasonably to fulfill our needs and serve society.

My friend was from Delhi and was into business. He had established another shop in Patna as there are more traders in Patna than anywhere else in north and east India and has a very vast potential for earning.

I was not worried about accommodation.

It took several days to decide what to pack and what to leave. We started packing and took couple of days in completing packing. Finally our travel date arrived and we checked all our belongings.

We were surprised to see 5 luggage bags that we had to drag with us in the journey. We had not expected so many bags. We tried to empty some of our belongings but everything was important. It was not a leisure trip. We had to settle in Patna.

My parents also wanted to come with us to the railway station. I said, “Please relax at home. We will manage”. But they didn’t listen.

My wife thought of checking PNR status.PNR status is allotted by Indian railways against tickets booked and gives details of coach, seat numbers and confirmation status among other things.

We had planned to go by Delhi metro but finally decided to take cab as we had to go with parents.

Now time was very short and we had to take calculated moves.

4.00 PM

PNR status was opened. My heartbeat went down and my wife was surprised. Tickets were still not confirmed but waiting was still 2 and 3 respectively. It had never happened that tickets booked earlier were not confirmed even after 2 weeks.

We were frequent travelers and last time waiting list of 17 and 18 was confirmed only after a week.

My father was angry after knowing the ticket status. He simply said, “Why confirmed tickets were not booked”. It was difficult for me to make him understand why confirmed tickets were not booked. We silently listened and kept quiet.

5.30 PM

Cab arrived in 5 minutes at 5.30 PM. We had booked cab keeping in mind train departure time which was scheduled for 8.00 PM.

Cab was small and we were 4 people with 5 luggage bags. Radio cabs are allowed to carry maximum 4 passengers and 2 luggage bags. I decided to go by metro if the cab driver refused to take all of us. I requested the driver to open boot space. Boot space had CNG cylinder but thankfully there was some space. The driver arranged 2 luggage bags in boot space. My wife and my parents sat at the back with 2 bags. I was left with one bag.

I sat in front but could not keep bag. There was no space. I came out and kept the bag. Now I could not sit. Everyone laughed and I was embarrassed.

The driver came and kept the luggage on the floor mat. Then I sat. My leg was between the bag and the gear box. There was no space for another leg. The driver asked me to adjust my piece of leg between the door and the bag. It was adjusted after much efforts and cab finally moved.

After 15 minutes I felt uneasiness in both legs and pain started in thighs. I couldn’t do anything. My left foot was inclined downwards and I couldn’t keep it flat. Right thigh was tilted right towards the gear box and I couldn’t move it. I cursed myself.

It was better to travel by metro.

I could not express my feelings when I saw traffic jam in Google maps. I laughed at my fate and thought of sleeping to ignore leg pain. Half an hour distance stretched to about 45 minutes.


6.15 PM

Finally we reached railway station. We paid Rs 378 to cab driver and reached inside railway station. First task was to get a general ticket so that it could be converted into confirmed ticket by TC (ticket checker).

Ground floor had 3 counters and we stood in queue in one of the lines. 10 minutes later one guy came and informed that general ticket is issued on 1st floor.

We went upstairs. There was neither escalator nor lift. There were 5 queues and we stood in the shortest queue. We approached the window and asked for general ticket. The counter guy said, “This ticket cannot be converted into confirmed one in such a short time.”

We thought of taking risk since we had come all the way from home and there was no point in looking back.

We paid INR 540 and took ticket. We went downstairs, took our luggage and we all four started for platform.

6.45 PM

There was benched on one side and we found seats on one of the bench. We inquired about the train. The train was already there on the platform. We found three tier AC coaches and luckily we were sitting on the bench facing three tier AC coaches. After 5 minutes, I inquired from a local vendor for TC and when gates would be opened.

He said, “Gates will open at 7.00 and TC will come at 7.30.”

We waited for 15 minutes. My wife went to northern railways staff man standing in front of another AC coach and inquired the same thing. He said, “Gates will open at 7.15 and TC will come at 7.45.”

We were feeling uncomfortable as time was running out.

7.15 PM

The gates didn’t open and there was no sign of TC on the platform.

I saw another railway staff man and inquired. He said, “Gates will open soon but TC comes 10 minutes before departure of train.

My father again was angry and shouted at the platform, “I had told you to get confirmed tickets. Now see what’s happening.”

7.30 PM

Gates finally opened and everyone waiting for AC coach went inside. Very few people left on the platform.

We became somewhat nervous as we had 5 bags and it was not easy in10 minutes to get confirmed ticket and board train with 5 bags.

7.50 PM

The TC finally came. We could recognize him by his white shirt and black trouser with a black coat neatly worn on shirt.

We requested the TC for confirmed ticket. He said, “Ticket cannot be confirmed as there is no seat available.”  We again requested. He said, “Please talk to sleeper class TC. He may have seat.”

7.53 PM

We went to sleeper class TC but he had same answer. Now my heartbeat jumped and I became nervous. TC informed us to board sleeper class and contact him at Aligarh station. We could get confirmed ticket either in sleeper or AC coach.

7.56 PM

We were in confusion as it was not sure that we get confirmed ticket at Aligarh and it was 15 hours journey from Delhi to Patna.

7.57 PM

We boarded the sleeper class as we didn’t want to go back after so much had happened. We had not travelled in sleeper class much especially my wife who always travelled in AC coach. There was smell of urinal and people were sitting on the floor between seats on either side of the coach.

We could not bear this. We immediately got all 5 bags out of the coach. Now we were on the platform.

7.58 PM

We discussed if we should board the train or not. We decided not to board the train as it would have been a nightmare travelling for 15 hours without a seat with 5 bags.

8.00 PM

The train started moving and we waited on the platform for the train to go.

8.05 PM

It was a frustrating moment for all of us.

We moved out of the platform and thought of going back by metro. But it was difficult in going till metro gate and moreover we had to change metro to reach our destination.

Finally we decided to take a cab as metro would have cost at least Rs 150 for all four of us. Cab would cost somewhere around Rs 400.

Cab was booked. Cab was again small. Only 3 people could sit inside the cab.

My father shouted at the driver and asked him to open boot space and show him why luggage could not be kept. Boot space had CNG cylinder leaving no space for the luggage.

My father made all of us sit in the cab. I sat in the back seat along with my mother and wife and of course 4 bags.

Father sat in the front with bag on legs. We could fee he was not comfortable. My wife was also not comfortable as 3 bags were kept behind us blocking the rear view. One bag was kept on her legs.

Finally we reached home at 10.00 and paid Rs 438. We all felt relaxed after deboarding the cab.

My friends had been calling me but I didn’t want to answer calls. They would ask, “Where have you reached.”

We had dinner and went to sleep. I was feeling very tired and tried to sleep but it seemed as if sleep had eluded me. I was lost in thoughts.

I should have opted for confirmed ticket even if it was costing Rs 200-300 extra. I had ending up paying approx Rs 1400 extra for general ticket and two way cab.

I kept on thinking about this and not sure when I slept. Soon I started dreaming of looking next available date for confirmed ticket.


World of Zombies-Part 2

Incidence 2

There is another instance of zombie where earthquakes were felt in many parts of the world especially Greek island of Crete. Extensive research led to digging out of numerous enormous animals that perished. These animals were trying to come out but could not come out. Shriek sounds came out from Crete Island which could be heard for many miles.

These creatures were actually Minotaur Zombie which were in the shape of half man, half bull and were linked to earthquakes.

Crete is tectonically active. A 2007 study revealed that Crete had many carbon isotopes of fossilized marine organisms along the coast of island. Further analysis led to the discovery of something staggering.

Countless animals were found died at precisely the same moment in 365 AD. At that time Crete was pushed about 10 meters out of the ocean in single instance of earthquake.

A 2008 study identified boulders along the Greek coast with shelled marine animals thrown out of the sea by earthquake induced tsunami. Some of these boulders dated back to 365 AD.

Incidence 3

Zombies of medieval period are not described much physically. Ancient British king Vortigern was forced to flee to Welsh hills as the Saxons invaded. He demanded building of a fort to protect the kingdom from enemies. But every time fort was built it fell down. His wise men advised to bring a child who is not born from the union between man and woman.

Vortigen sent his men to faraway places. Men found two boys fighting where one boy insulted another by saying bastard with no father. Men immediately grabbed the boy and took him to Vortigern.

Surprisingly the boy told the king that there were dragons below the ground and were responsible for the tumbling walls. The king ordered his men to dig the place and found the dragons throwing out flames.

Wales has many regions where coal gas gets collected in underground pockets. People thought that digging with tools that sparked against the rocks caused explosion. But the smell proved that it was not the explosion but the horrible foul of the monster zombies.

To be continued..

Drinking water turned into nightmare

It was Friday and the office clock struck 5 in the evening.

We planned to go out in the weekend. Myself, Karan, Atul, Michael, Christine and my wife-Niharika discussed places best suited for weekend so that we could join office on Monday.

The office was not very large with about 100 employees in Gurgaon. It was a new company set up 2 years back and was expanding. The management had plans to make it a thousand employees company in the future.

I had met Niharika in this office. I remembered she was wearing green suit with red and yellow design giving her a tall and slim look. She had come for the interview and asked me for cafeteria. I introduced myself and we chatted for about 10 minutes. I really liked her way of talking and she liked my sense of humour. That’s what I understood at that time.

When she joined the company after about a month, we again met in the cafeteria and started chatting like we were old friends. She told me that she lived in Pitampura in Delhi.

She asked, “Akshay-where do you stay?” I replied, “Rohini”.

She was glad because Pitampura and Rohini were adjacent to one another in North West Delhi.

We could both sense that we could meet easily.

We usually go to cafeteria or go out for walk whenever we got time. Eventually we decided to tie knots.

Six months later we got married.

I didn’t like much the idea of going out with colleagues during weekends but Niharika liked this and with passage of time I developed this taste.

We both had gone out couple of times with colleagues. It was a plus point for me as I interacted with both co-workers and my wife thus getting to know each other better.  My wife would not complain that I was not giving her time and my co-workers would not say that I didn’t go with them.

After marriage I had gone with my co-workers without Niharika only once. She told me that she respected my space and that I should devote time with male friends also which are very much required.

I had also gone with Niharika on several weekends and many times on weekdays taking leave from office on the pretext of one thing or another thing.

We had been together now for almost 18 months.

But I had been noticing for some time that she was not happy and fight with me on one or another thing. I asked her the reason but she didn’t disclose.

But later on she told me that she wanted me not to go out with colleagues and only remain with her on weekends.

I told her that I was in a senior position now and it was important to keep team happy. But she didn’t understand.

Anyways today we had to decide our destination for weekend but I could see that Niharika was not taking much interest. I looked at her and said, “Jaanu tell us where we should go.”

Everyone in the office knew that we used such words during leisure time or whenever we planned our weekend.

Niharika suggested for Jim Corbett Park. We discussed that it required more than 2 days but later on everyone agreed. We planned to leave early tomorrow morning at 4 to avoid traffic.

It was difficult to get up early and get ready by 4 in the morning but to gain something we have to sacrifice something. We had to sacrifice our good sleep to enjoy weekend.

We all took cab and reached Anand Vihar from where we had to board bus for Jim Corbett. The bus started and we all began to sing songs and crack jokes. There was no sleep in our eyes.

We stopped after about 2 hours for getting fresh and having breakfast. After about 30 minutes the bus started again. I was feeling like sleeping right now. I looked at Karan and Christine and they were yawning.

In about 10 minutes I was sleeping.

After about an hour the bus suddenly stopped. I saw outside but there was no restaurant in case anyone requested driver to stop the bus for refreshment.

I could see Atul going towards washroom followed by Michael.

I felt thirsty and looked for my water bottle but it was empty. I didn’t want to get out of the bus. Niharika’s bottle was also empty. I had no choice. I went outside to get my bottle refilled. But here also there was competition with about 10 people trying to reach the only tap available in this remote place.

It had been 5 minutes standing in the queue. I saw both Atul and Michael coming out of washroom and moving towards the bus.

My wife called me from the bus and asked me to come soon.

Still there were about 5 people waiting for the water. I heard horn of the bus and my heart sank. What if the bus moved and left me here.

I didn’t want to go with empty bottle especially after waiting for so long. I was not sure when the bus will stop and I will get water. I was in the habit of drinking lots of water and could not remain for long without water.

Now only 2 people were standing in front of me I being the third one.

Sound of the engine shrieked into my ears and I didn’t want to think that the bus had left.

I turned back and I was shocked. The bus was not there. Wild thoughts came to my mind. How will I go back? It would not be easy to go back in the absence of public transport and farm land everywhere.

I realized that I should not have gone after water which could be sacrificed for some time. I should have listened to others in the bus.

I started walking with fast pace towards the road to see if the bus had stopped some distance away. I could see very small part of iron rods at the back of the bus. I started running in the hope that it would be the same bus. I kept on running and my shirt and vest were wet with sweat and I was about to faint. I ran faster but the back of bus started diminishing. I ran for some more time but I lost the view of the bus. My legs were shaking and my whole body was wet with sweat. I took bottle to my mouth but the bottle was empty.

I fainted after some time.

Suddenly someone shook me and I got up immediately. I saw Niharika sitting next to me and wiping my face with towel.

I saw my co-workers who were sleeping.

I asked her what had happened. She replied, “You were trembling on your seat and your sweat was dripping from your face. You must have seen some nightmare.”

I could not understand for some time. I saw my face that had made towel wet. I could not understand anything.

I relaxed on my seat and started thinking what had happened. I didn’t remember anything.

It must be my dream.

But I learnt that never go out of the way if time is the key factor and others are eagerly waiting for you.


World of Zombies-Part 1

Half human, half beast.  Sometimes it is dragon that bites and sometimes it looks like a wolf. You must have seen these creatures in movies and serials.

These are Zombies that chases human being and may be harmful.

Zombie bites human being and the person if not treated will turn into the same monster within six months. This person who has become zombie will again bite and tear flesh of another human being and thus this becomes a vicious circle.

There are several stories on this.

Incidence 1

One of them was heard in the island of Haiti where a patient came to hospital for treatment in May 1962. He was suffering from severe body ache, sick with fever and spitting blood. He was admitted in hospital but his condition kept on deteriorating and was declared dead. His sister identified the body and made arrangement for his burial.

About 20 years later in 1981, the sister was approached by a man in the local marked and introduced himself with childhood name of his dead brother. She was stunned.

This name was known only to sister and very few family members knew. The man informed her that he had been turned into zombie and was forced to work in a plantation. This lead to the breaking news on the media and subsequently extensive psychiatric tests proved that this man was really her brother.

Many interviews were held with the masters who created zombies and discovered they were creating complex poisons from local ingredients. Human beings were inhaling or absorbing these poisons through their skins. This was leading affected human being to feel and looks like a dead person. The zombie masters disclosed to the interviewers that affected human beings were buried alive and later on dug up. These dug up bodies were beaten up by their masters so that old souls are driven out from the body. This extreme torture led to mental damage and they would do whatever their masters ask them to do.

To be continued…

Girlfriend waiting,bike keys left at home

I had to meet Neetu, my girlfriend today at 5.00 in the evening. I was excited as I had to propose her which was a surprise for her also.

I woke up at 7.00 in the morning and shaved to look smart.

I look 2-3 years older with beard and stubble on my long slim face and do not suit me as my complexion is dusky.

I took bath and wore nicely ironed full sleeved white shirt with a pair of denim jeans. I chose black pair of polished shoes with matching socks.

I had chaach and Aijwain parantha in the breakfast.

It was 9.00.

My mom told me to bring medicine from drug store.

I went out into the garage where my Triumph bike was parked.

I took out the bike from the garage and pressed push button for the engine to start.

It made annoying sound as if something was struck in the exhaust pipe. I checked but could not find anything. I again tried but it didn’t start.

My heart sank.

I had to meet my girlfriend but would not make it if bike didn’t start.

Time was very short and I had to take it to the mechanic. I dragged bike in the scorching heat and reached mechanic.

Luckily mechanic shop was only 100 meters away.

I shouted at Dhanraj, the mechanic who had repaired my bike about a month ago. It costs a lot in coming again and again and getting it repaired.

Dhanraj reminded me that the service was due since last month and he had informed me earlier at the time of repairing my bike last month.

I calmed down as it was my mistake. In fact I was not getting time to get bike serviced as office schedule was hectic and I worked on weekends also during last couple of weeks to meet deadline.

Triumph service generally takes 7-8 hours but I still asked Dhanraj how much time it would take.

Dhanraj replied, “Your bike will be ready by 6.00 in the evening.”

I requested if I could get bike by 3.00. Dhanraj thought for some time and finally said, “Ok, I will try to give it by 3.00. Please call me at 3.00 to check the status.”

I felt relieved.

I came back home walking.

The moment Mom saw me she asked, “Vishal have you brought the medicine?”

I became irritated but said calmly, “I forgot as my bike was not keeping well. I am going to bring it.”

I walked all the way to the drug store and brought the medicine.

I was waiting for the beautiful evening and different thoughts occupied my mind.

The wall clock struck 3.00 and I immediately called the mechanic.

I asked Dhanraj, “I am coming to pick my bike.”

Dhanraj paused for a while and said, “Let me check.” He came back on phone after about a minute and said, “Sir Bike was serviced but could not be washed as you had taken the keys with you.”

I became angry and really wanted to beat up Dhanraj. I raised my voice and asked, “Why didn’t you ask for the key. You could have called me and I would have come again to hand over the keys.”

Dhanraj simply said, “Sorry sir.”

I didn’t have any choice but to get the work done so I stayed calm. There was no point in arguing over this issue.

I fumbled in pockets and found the key in left hip pocket. I immediately rushed to the workshop and handed over the key.

There were 2 more bikes waiting to be washed. Those bikes had come after my bike but were queued up earlier as keys were available for them.

I requested the mechanic if he could clean my bike before those 2 bikes. He refused saying other customers were equally important to him. I insisted and offered him a Rs 500 note. He agreed.

Finally the bike was ready at 4.00 and I paid for the service and immediately started my bike and reached home.

My shirt was wet with sweat and shoes had gathered dust.  I changed my shirt and polished my shoes again.

I looked myself in the mirror. I had the same glory as it was in the morning.

It was 4.30 and I would have been late if I had not started immediately.

I reached the Pandit chowk where I had to meet Neetu. I reached sharp at 5.00 and waited eagerly but she was not there.

I became anxious. I checked my mobile to see if she called me. There was no call. I checked the whatsapp message.

I was shattered when I read the message. She had written that she would not be meeting again as I had not reached on time. My mind was spinning like a wheel. I was not sure what was happening since today morning.

I checked earlier whatsapp chat again. Oh God! What I have done. The message clearly states that meeting time was 4.00 which was one hour earlier. I cursed my stars.

Frustrated I sat there on the bench. I thought for about 10 minutes and finally I ringed my girlfriend. She was very angry. We argued for about half an hour but I succeeded in consoling her.

Thanks God! We had to meet next weekend.

But I made it a point to service my bike regularly to avoid such situation in future.

Arrival of ladies Johnie Walker

If you drink whisky, you know Johnie Walker brand. This is for sure.

Jane Walker, female version of Johnie Walker has arrived that will give boost to ladies participation in whisky pleasure and will push towards more gender equality.

A female icon will be displayed on the bottle and will carry name Jane walker.

Stephanie Jacoby, VP of Johnie Walker said “It is a really exciting opportunity to invite women into the brand.”

Other brands like KFC have also pioneered in this field by putting female face on a traditionally male mascot. KFC tapped country singer Reba McEntire in January this year as Colonel Sanders in the latest marketing campaign.

The launch is the latest part of “Keep Walking America” campaign which began in 2016. Scotch whisky volumes grew 2% during 2002-2017 whereas Johnie Walker grew 18% in 2017.

The female version will come for the first time in nearly 200 years history and will be launched in U.S. on 1st March.

Ladies-what are you waiting for? Get ready to join the club.

Offices now in Forest

Have you ever dreamt of working in the forest?

Now companies like Amazon, Samsung and Alibaba are building structures in such a way that you can walk from the office and reach forest in few minutes and work in the lap of nature.

Companies are resorting to state of the art designs at work place so that employees are more happy, give better productivity and can stay for longer hours to meet deadlines.

This trend is called Biophilia where the people tend to connect with the nature. We feel more at ease in the lap of nature than in the sterile office.

How will you feel if you have to stick inside the office without a minute to go out and get some fresh air? Definitely not very pleasant.

People generally prefer daylight and that too surrounded by plants rather than working in the dark.

Working in the open and natural environment will definitely reduce electricity and other overhead expenses and will be healthier for human beings.

There are many offices which are even looking for aviary.

So let’s see what lies ahead for your future office.

Snow is now safe to eat

Many of you must have seen snow and I am sure you must have played with it enjoying chilly weather.

Snow which was considered earlier unfit to eat is now safe if it is half day old as per Romanian university which published results of 2017 experiments done so far.

Moreover the snow is safer to eat in winter months.

One thing to note is snow is unfit to eat if it two days old as per Istvan Mathe, a professor at one of the Hungarian University.

Few chunks of snow was taken during winter season in central Romania and placed in sterilized containers. Bacteria were grown in this container in temperature ranging from -1 degree Celsius to -17.4 degrees Celsius. Fresh snow had few bacteria but 2 days old snow had many bacteria as microorganisms increase due to impurities in the air.

So what are you waiting for? Enjoy with snow and play and eat it at the same time.

Asteroid coming close to Earth at 42 lakhs km

You must have heard about asteroids coming close to Earth and about to collide. Looks like a fairy tale.

But this is true.

February 4, 2018 which is less than a week from now will witness this when asteroid called “2002 AJ129” will zip past Earth at a speed of 1 lakh kmph and is designated potentially hazardous by NASA scientists.

This is potentially hazardous because the asteroid which is 1.1 Km wide will fly about 42 lakhs Km away from Earth which is considered very close in space terms.

To give an idea on this distance Moon is 3.84 lakhs km away from Earth.

In the early years of its formation asteroids had collided with Earth about 4 billion years ago that resulted in extinction of about 75% species of plants and animals including dinosaurs. This also resulted in climate change.

The proof of such a disaster is The Chicxulub crater located in Mexico’s Chicxulub town.

There are about 190 craters on Earth because of such disasters happened earlier.  Out of this 190 following countries have the maximum craters:

  • Canada-32
  • USA-28
  • Australia-27
  • Russia-19
  • Finland-11
  • Sweden-8
  • Brazil-7
  • Ukraine-7
  • Algeria-4
  • Estonia-4
  • Kazakhstan-4
  • South Africa- 4
  • Others-35

India has 2 craters one in The Lonar Lake in Buldhana district of Maharashtra and another one in Shivpuri district of Madhya Pradesh. These craters are believed to be 52,000 to 5, 70,000 years old and have a diameter of 11 kms.

Electric flights coming soon

Possibility of operating all flights on electricity is being explored and Norway will become the first county in the world to have all electric flights operating in domestic zone including other Scandinavian countries.

Norway has set Year 2040 as the deadline for all electric flights at least the domestic ones.

Chief executive Dag Falk-Peterson of Avinor, the public operator of Norwegian airports said “we think and wish to make all flights lasting up to 1.5 hours electric so that it becomes a solution and not a problem for the environment”.

This way the cost of operating flights will almost be halved resulting in nose diving of ticket price. People will travel more and will have more fun.

Norway is the largest oil and gas producer in Western Europe but is equally focused on transport sector and is a world leader in electric transport.

Falk-Peterson told the media that use of intermediary technologies, such as bio fuels and hybrid fuel would be a challenge. These challenges need to be addressed for making electric flights successful.