I was deep into my work when my Sony Ericsson w810i set off a loud alarm. I was startled by the sudden sound as the entire office was silent. Only two of us were working in the morning shift. The mobile was showing the time as 07:59 AM. I felt something rolling in my stomach. It should be the adrenalin. I had committed for a tough task. I minimized all the windows in my screen and opened up the internet browser. I preferred Firefox over IE as I thought it has good caching ability.
I started typing in the address bar: www.irctc.co.in. Yes. I was about to book the train tickets. And most importantly, it was for Diwali. You have to be extremely lucky to get a ticket if you didnt book on the opening day. For the last couple of days I worked hard to book my tickets up and down to chennai. I managed to book, partly because of the fact that there are 6 trains to Chennai. Few minutes earlier, my collegue had called me and asked me to book tickets from his native to Bangalore. I got all his details and promised him I will book.
The page loaded immediately. Great. This is is unusual. You will mostly get “Service Unavailable” page; particularly on an important day like this. I hurried filling up the train details and checked the availability. There were 160 seats. Thank god! Without any delay, I started filling in the passenger details. I can feel the sweat rolling near my ears. I called my collegue and confirmed the ID details. Ok. Got them. Filled them in and clicked next. I was hoping the page loads correctly. I remembered the news that was broadcasted the day before: Tickets are already full and the people complaining that the agents have booked all the tickets. I was booking for one day later.
The next page got loaded where in it showed passenger details and the date details for confirmation. I checked them and when I was about to press the “Make Payment” button, I was taken aback. The availability which was 160 a minute ago showed itself as just 14. OMG! The adrenalin was shooting up to high levels. It was not like this even in the Drop Zone in Wonder laa. My frustration and anger naturally turned towards the so called “agents” who will book the tickets and sell it to the people for a higher charge. Swearing them I hurried up to pay the money. Finally I made it. The page showed “Congratulations! Your reservation is successful”. Phew! What a relief!! I felt all the sine waves in my body to subside and become a flat line.
With a pride of success, I went through the ticket one more time only to find that there was no berth/seat number. What?? How can that be? Frustrated to the core, I went to the booked tickets history and checked the status of this ticket. It was booked at RAC 5. God! It went from 160 to RAC 5 in just two minutes after the opening time. Phew! Atleast it was not in Waiting List! I was happy that I promised to book the ticket and not the confirmed tickets 🙂
Introduction of online booking has eased ticket booking.While it is a boon for few, it is a bane for many. Even the agents have access to online booking but in this case it might not be very helpful as the ID of the traveller is a must.
Some will decide to travel by bus instead but to find it is equally tough to get tickets. Many tickets will be sold in black; mostly double the actual rate. And one can never forget the special bus. People book tickets in special buses inspite of higher rates, just to find that it is a ordinary town bus and you have to travel all the way with a cramped legs. When you get down you would be like Perazhagan Surya with X legs.
Anyways, I am happy that I was able to confirm my tickets atleast.