Travelling is a passion to many and you are no different to that. However there is difference in the way and the reason everyone travels. We find different stories while on the voyage. These stories are not the ones we read in any story book. These stories are the real life people; our fellow travelers. We like to talk to them about them, their lives, their experience and that on mine too. They often open up the all new side of the region you are going to travel to. Both of the tings interest people a lot.
Not many people will share my view; but for those who do, railways are the best option to travel in. You tend to meet different people in railways and if you are travelling a long distance you often make good friends. You may find instances of some friend who met a girl in railways and now he is married to her. Well this seldom happens, but you will find many stories of friendships that begin in railways.
Lets us see one example. Assume it was in summer of 2009 and you were travelling with a friend to Ernakulum in Kerala. You had planned to roam in Kerala in the public transport all over. It was a wonderful experience. You booked the tickets on line over the IRCTC website, just 25 days before the travel. Thus you got tickets in the waiting list up to 231 and 232. From this experience with travelling in railways you were sure that the tickets will not be getting confirmed before the travel. However, with dying hope you checked the PNR status just one day before the travel. As expected, the tickets were not confirmed.
The online reservation window for the tickets in Indian railways starts some 2 months in advance over the IRCTC website. Most of the tickets are booked within first 15 days. This scenario of course differs as per the route and season of travel. But as a thumb rule, if anyone is planning to travel in Indian railways please book the tickets minimum of 45 days in advance.
You boarded the train any way from Mumbai CST for the 28 hours journey which you were planning to complete sitting on the floor of the reservation compartments as your tickets were not confirmed. There you met Major Basu from the Indian army. True to the image of the Indian Army personnel Basu was a through gentleman. You specifically remember his impeccably polished DMS shoes over which you fiend steps to spoil the polish. The major was furious. What started off as a hostile conversation eventually turned into a warm hearted friendship which you have maintained till today. Major Basu then offered to share his berth with you. It was like a God gift. Yes, it was. Consider the horror of travelling 28 hours without a berth which we would have had to face otherwise. Major Basu was a Kerala resident and he also advised you on the local transport in Kerala and different accommodation options which helped us immensely through your travel from Ernakulum to Kottyem to Tekkadi to Tiruvananthapuram and to Kanyakumari.
Such experiences make your trip with railways memorable. Moreover, the PNR facility is very helpful for knowing about your ticket status.