That day the train was on time for a change. Myself and Musi got into the S8 coach without wasting time. For some reason we often get seats in S8 and lot of interesting incidents happen whenever weravel in S8. The first reaction once we got into the coach was a sign of relief. The coach did not have a side middle berth. This side middle berth seems to be a ingenious idea of a sincere government servant. On the first sight the concept looked quite ok to me. Side middle Berth meant more seats to lie down and dream for the entire night. But thats the only thing you can do, if you get up a little
fast from your sleep, you will end up banging your head on the side upper berth. The most haunting part is the way in which thereservations are made and how the seats are allocated. The way in which seats are allocated is based on the old algorithm based on 72 seats per coach, so once you board it is just confusion with all people in coach proposing their own ideas on how seats are allocated. To confuse this further you have two numbers written near every seat. The confusion will continue till the TTE arrives. One TTE preferred not to do that and we were forced to sleep on the side berths, which in no way is convenient taking the height factor into consideration.
So that explains why we were happy on seeing the missing SMB. We made ourselves comfortable and started our discussion that ranges from modern day Asin to historic Kundavai. But that did not last long, soon we were disturbed by few people who claimed the seats belonged to them. Soon there were around four people checking the tickets. Everything looked perfect, except for the date of journey. We had reserved seats in S8 for the return journey. For the onward trip it was on S5. Once we realised that we were wrong, we did not stay there for more than one second. Ignoring the smiling faces we walked away and never turned back.
S5 was in utter chaos, the reason was the SMB and two set of numbers written near every seat. Grrrrr once again there were theories floating around. Atlast TTE came around 11.00 and claimed that there is no change in the seating arrangements. The side middle berth is not to be used, which means the old numbering will be followed. But the confusion did not end, as people who boarded at the next station in the middle of the night had no other option other than waking up the people who are lost in dreams.
The final decision still remains unclear, will it continue to be like this, will it be discontinued. Hope government officials resolve it soon.