I have been around in Maharashtra on short trips to Lonavla, Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani, Matheran, Shirdi, Deolali, Nasik, Pune, Lavasa, Khopoli and a couple of other places that I am unable to recall. Otherwise, I tend to take off to Chennai most of the time as my parents and sisters live there. Apart from a few trips to temples in the south, and trips to Hyderabad and Bangalore as a kid, I have not travelled much.
|Pic courtesy: Indian Railways|
I got this wonderful chance to go to Delhi this week, and that too by Mumbai Rajdhani Express. I got to know from my sister Sujatha that this is the best of all the Rajdhani trains that connect to Delhi from various parts of the country. Yippee!
I left on January 17, 2012 on the B-4 compartment. The train looked beautiful and I was very impressed with the 3-tire A/C compartment. The toilets were very clean and the service commendable.
More than anything, they fed us almost non-stop. The train left at 4.40pm – perfect time of departure – and they gave us newspapers to read. Soon after, we were served with evening snack. There was a cheese sandwich triangle – it was huge – along with ketchup; hot kachori; vanilla-chocolate mawa cake and a tetra pack of fruit juice – all served stylishly on a tray. I have to commend Ghasitaram’s for the yummy food throughout the journey.
|Hot tomato soup with breadsticks|
In this instance, they gave us a paper cup along with a packet that contained sachets of coffee, sugar, milk powder and a plastic stirrer along with a flask of hot water. Well, it was not my cup of coffee.
About an hour later, we were served hot tomato soup along with beautifully packed breadsticks that were oh-so-fresh. And there were packets of Amul Butter, salt & pepper too.
Before we could fully digest this, along came dinner. This consisted of rotis (2, I think. I passed these on to another passenger as there was no space in my tummy); salad; paneer mattar; yellow dal; vegetable rice; a container of dahi and pickle. The food was hot and tasty. The dahi from Mahanand Dairy was simply delicious. The food was a feather in Indian Railways’ cap! It was a big wonder for one who has travelled the most by train in the Mumbai-Chennai route where the food served is pathetic. Believe me, I have experienced it over the past more than four decades. The food served only gets worse with time.
We finished the dinner when the waiter smilingly brought forth Strawberry Ice-cream. If their plan was to kill us with food, they were on their way to success.
The morning began with breakfast – mine was hot upma and 2 slices of bread with packets of butter and jam along with another tetra pack of fruit juice. Believe me, this was a 7 am as the train was due to arrive at New Delhi station at 8.40 am.
The coffee came after that. I was happy to give my stomach a break after that as the train was a couple of hours late and we had a food-free time over that period.
Good journey to the Capital of India! I really looked forward to my trip.
RETURN TRIP BY RAJDHANI EXPRESS:
I have to mention here that while the train was the same, the food was not as good on the return trip. The food was provided by Bikanervala. The service was not the best as the staff did not bother to heat most of the items. I refused to pay him a tip this time while I had tipped the waiter liberally on my onward journey.
I was also disappointed that the menu was identical to the one before. Can’t they have a variation?