We are delighted to announce Aswathi Vengallur as the third winner of our Holidays by Shatabdi contest. Here is her Shatabdi travel story:
It was 1997; I was all of ten years, travelling to North India for the very first time. After the fascinating Mughal stories my Dad told us while travelling around Delhi, we were excited about travelling to Chandigarh. Shatabdi was going to be our ride from Delhi to Chandigarh and I was excited about travelling in chair car for the first time.
All of us boarded the train and being the youngest in the family gave me the privilege of the window seat. Almost nearing the end of the journey, I informed my mother that I had to go to the toilet urgently and she dutifully escorted me. It was already occupied as was evidenced by an ‘occupied’ sign that appeared on the door. A door that could tell you the toilet’s occupancy, to my ten year old mind was like magic! So when I got in, I had to lock it so that the door could inform the outside world that it was occupied.
After completing my business, I tried opening the door and soon found out that the door had jammed. I asked my mother to open it from outside and when she also could not, panic mode set in and loud bawling followed. Soon enough, I could hear my entire family outside trying their luck at opening the door frantically since we were to reach our station in a few minutes. Finally someone from the pantry came and had to break the lock and bust the door open. The brief moment of happiness when reunited with the family was followed by a lengthy scolding from the parents, and to my amusement, a few other passengers we did not know. We finally got down at Chandigarh and continued with the rest of our mostly uneventful trip. I have had a lot of Shatabdi journeys since then, but this definitely is the one I will be telling my grandkids about.
Aswathi is an MBA graduate currently working with Flipkart. In her spare time she enjoys reading, sleeping till lunch and dreaming about being a round-the-world traveller. Every now and then, she lets out the nomad in her and you can read about her escapades here.