I recently took a train from Delhi to Allahabad.  It was a curious journey, in a way. I had a waitlisted ticket, which I was sure would clear, but I didn’t know until an hour before the train when they got around to preparing the chart. In theory, charts are supposed to be prepared four hours before the journey, but that’s not always the case.

For this train, I was #1 on the waitlist, and there were a couple of people after me. However, when I first got on the train in Delhi, there were about 6 empty berths in the coach, though some were due to be filled in Kanpur or later. Strangely, more than an hour after we left the station, and long before we had reached the first stop, several people came trouping through the coach with their luggage in hand, one of which deposited himself unceremoniously in my compartment without a word. In Kanpur, a family got on, with an extra person squeezed in. What was even more surprising, however, was the fact that there were several undocumented (unticketed) passengers sitting on the floor at the end of each carriage, including 1AC! This is one train where you are theoretically not even allowed to board unless you have a confirmed seat, so obviously they had gotten there by paying a bit of baksheesh. The TTE certainly has a lucrative side business going for himself there. Made me a little nervous, though. The Rajdhanis are the premier trains in India (apart from the premier tourist trains like the Palace on Wheels), and they are supposed to be the most secure.

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