Today, at 6 a.m. I boarded Chennai borne Shatabdi express 12028. This is among the best passenger trains we have in India. You tend to pay ₹1000 appx. for 350 km one way ticket which includes the catering services as well.
I boarded the train and after some time the catering service started. The coach attendant started with morning tea/coffee and the breakfast ended with a modest bread with omelette with some coffee.
After the tables were cleared by the catering staff, one of them came with a small tray in his hand and started asking for tip. As usual, I am not generous enough when some one tries to extort money from me.. So I politely refused to tip him with any amount of money. To which he made such a face as if I am denying him his last rituals!! He said something to me but I opted not to listen as I was in no mood to argue ! Out of curiosity, my eyes followed his path and I realised that who so ever has denied money he had behaved in a similar manner.
Though, this is not the first time I have observed such behavior by any IRCTC catering staff. Earlier, I have noticed such staff misbehaving with elderly and foreigners for small tips which no one owes them..As this is their responsibility to serve passengers with best of their abilities!
This instance I opted to take a different path! The path of an social-media activist … 😀 I posted a small question through my twitter handle to @RailMinIndia asking them a simple question with my PNR number(ticket reference number) and you can read from the screen shot what followed there after.
Not only this, while I was coming back from the same train in the evening and was unaware about these messages, I got calls from IRCTC, Southern Railways Catering department and even catering contractor from the returning train came to my allotted seat and apologized for the misconduct of the staff. They not only called repeatedly over the span of 2 hours and apologized but they also collected the written feedback from me and other fellow passengers!
This experience is no more new for people travelling through Indian Railways..Things are changing for sure and for good.. I also, pointed out in my feedback to the authorities that this is prevalent in all the trains .. and insisted not to punish the staff because I happen to be in his coach. This is a decade old practice by such staffs and it can only be curbed by taking series of measures, training the staff etc etc.. this gives such a wrong impression as if these staffs are under paid or may be not paid at all. If they are not then why government is not looking at those areas, why the rail,staff is begging for money from the passengers! Some time they quarrel and some time they misbehave. this happens every day and it is a bitter truth …
Now coming to the next observation at Chennai central railways station’s waiting room .. After I finished my work, I came back to railway station and sat in the general waiting room for the sake of passing time with some out of the World people.. Which accidentally I met this time as well. There were differently able sportsperson, who were in their mid teens, going to represent Tamil Nadu in any of the sporting events. Their coach informed me that the GOI has sponsored their hearing aids and other required equipment.. Those kids looked really cute in their own way, the way they were making gestures at each other and it was fun to watch them from a safe distance as I never meant to make them realize that they are less different than us (so called normal people),
Anyways, I could not sit there for more as the stinking toilet close by did not let me sit there for rest of my time. I decided to try my luck in the pre-paid AC waiting room which costed ₹30/hr and ₹20/hr once you cross the first hour limit. To my surprise, the pre-paid AC waiting room was neat, clean equipped with TVs, enough charging points and off-course google powered Free WiFi for an hour. The wash-room was clean, it felt good that at a nominal price it was available. I am posting a video and you can compare on your own, the difference between the two waiting rooms.
What I have released that it is us who have made the difference, the regular waiting room was good enough, but people who were using it, are the cause of concern. They are the one who made it look messy, dirty and dingy … So if we need change, we have to bring the change.. No government … can do that.. if you want system to change and listen to you, you,have to raise the flag, you have to make them accountable.. just try it out once, that one step towards this will change you and things around you. We all can crib as much as we want .. but Its better to try then to crib.. 🤗