Happy days are gone as far as train journeys are concerned (“Train of woes; they call it ‘shubh yatra',” Open Page, Sept.25). I have been a frequent traveller for the last 15 years, and can say that it is stressful for passengers right from booking tickets till the journey is completed. First, the allotment of the tatkal quota has substantially increased, which automatically reduces the open quota booking. Talking about journeys, the problems are more in the a/c compartments. Pests like cockroaches greet you the moment you enter the coach. The less said about the quality of cleanliness the better. On a few occasions, I have been subjected to passive smoking. When I have raised questions about this I have only got eerie and scary stares from smokers as if I had intervened in their personal affairs.
The standard of discipline inside a train has reduced drastically. Many passengers act selfishly as they occupy a lot of space under the seats to store their luggage. Mealtime is a nightmare as food is littered all around. When all is over and you stretch out to sleep, the noise from multiple sources of snoring is very annoying despite cotton stuck firmly inside your ears. You thus lose a night of rest.
Every morning, thousands of passengers exiting and boarding various trains walk across bundles of bedlinen placed on platforms 1,2,3,4 at the Chennai Central station. In the process, the sheets and covers become cleaning pads for footwear. It's a dreadful thought wondering what would happen if we sleep on one of those pillowcases and sheets in a coach.