Last week for Diwali I some how managed to get tickets for my on journey from Chennai to Coimbatore…
But I was not too lucky to get my tickets booked in advance for return journey…
This is how I was forced into the tatkal-panic-scheme of booking tickets!
On the previous day night,
me: Mom i want to book my return tickets through tatkal
mom: switch off the grinder
me:Mom i want to book my return tickets through tatkal
mom:drink your glass of milk.. or else you will become more thin
me:Mom will you listen?
mom: do whatever you want!
After getting mom’s consent I made a secret prayer that night so that the miracle happens! Not that I get a tatkal ticket but that i wake up so early to go get tickets…. lol
On the day,
Due to my special prayers god somehow showed some gratitude by pulling my eyelids apart…
The panic day begun…
It was 3 in the morning .. And it will take 45 min for me to reach the station from my home…
I took my i pod, story book and a scarf(my mom tied it forcefully !!)… The firest two items where only to kill the five hours idle time before the tatkal counter opens….
It was 3.45am when I reached the railway counter… And to my shock I was given token number…. 13….
I literally fainted on the spot… Inspite of killing my sleep and god showing his gratitude .. All I got was 13….
When I settled with the shock it was 4am and I finally placed my token on the queue. The people there in front of me where in of the following category:
1.A poor daughter’s DAD(majority)
(She comes into picture because some ppl give them money to stand in queue from previos day night)
7.A poor old man who has a grand daughter working in Chennai
man1: How many tokens will get tickets today?
man2: 5-6 only
me: !!!!! (heart beat raises)
man3: I once got a ticket when I had token 16
man1: Ya happens when the booking operator at the counter is quick!!!
man2: So we not only need luck but also a quick young booking operator! lol :
man3: yes! (they start laughing in the traditional ‘i know everything’ style)
Tides started fiercely from the bottom of my stomach… And so in order to help improve the situation I went to have coffee and stuff in a nearby shop. It slowly turned out to be 5am when I finally went back
Man3 seemed to have better experience in tatkal booking. So he preferred giving general advice:
1. Always reduce number of minutes you stay in the counter because the more you stay there the more you loose seats and more the others loose their chances.
2.Keep filled forms ready for all options of trains you prefer. There should be no overwriting or stikeouts
3.Fill the “Booking person contact address and phone number details” in the botton of reservation form
4.Place a tatkal label @ the top of the reservation form
5.If you carry 500 or 1000 rupee notes, please write down their unique identification numbers in the form.
6.Keep surplus change… 1re, 2rs, 5rs coins, 10rs, 20rs, 50rs notes and try to give exact amount so that operator wont waste time in giving you change.
I tried to follow carefully whatever he said. Then they started talking useless things and so I went to read a novel that I carried to kill time. It was 7am when I realised that the reservation counter started becoming crowded.
Another thing that I was in need of was the list of trains that were available for booking. This info can be easily found online but I failed to take it there unaware of the time issues. But I was lucky enough that some of the people out there had brought the list and happily shared it with me.
Finally I selected four trains:
and filled four separate forms.
We now started forming a queue. A policeman came to the rescue by helping us stay organised and avoid cattle fights before the counter opens! I was surprised to find that the last person to join the queue was with token number 37 and still confident. Actually it made me more confident!
The booking operator came to the counter and started the system. She was young,fast and active(unlike most other railway employees I have seen!!) She gave some final instructions most of them that were already told by man3 and waited until the railways clock turned 8am.
The booking started. I first guy got BLUE and the availability dropped to 53 from 205.
The second guy got CHERAN (no BLUE for him) and the availabilty dropper to 105 from 205.
The third,fourth anf fifth settled with CHERAN, ALLEPY,BLUE AC tickets.
The guy before me got Special train sleeper.
I went to the counter and asked for Special train sleeper.”Not available”
“Allepy sleeper?”. “Not available”
“Any other options for night trains?”
“Third A/C Special train?” the operator asked.
Without hesitation I shook my head in consent.
I booked my tickets and came back home!
man3’s instructions were really helpful and hope it is useful for you also!