Our flight from Kuala Lumpur to Delhi was bumpy, fighting with the mother nature, turbulence, the seat belt alarm keeps blinking almost every hour, we can barely sleep, not in a mood for chit chatting either. Ichie was studying the itinerary, and I keep myself busy reading the in-flight magazine.
It was already 10.30pm when we reached the Indira Gandhi International Airport, after impatiently queuing for the immigration (the immigration is actually very fast), we rushed to the Metro station to hop on the last train to New Delhi where we booked a lounge room in advance to have some rest before heading to Agra the next morning. It wasn’t the last train actually, there was another train before us, but I was behaving just like me, panic mode activated.
Our train to Agra was as early as 6am, initially we were planning to spend a night at the airport like hobos, but, to get up early and rush in a place we have not gotten used to yet, is a suicidal, we choose the latter. Everything seems all right, the metro train is considerably clean until we reached New Delhi Station. Most of the counter at Delhi Metro are closed by the time we reached, we walked, following the path and signs that brought us to NDLS (New Delhi Railway Station), pass through those cute little ricksha, in green and yellow, to my surprised no one has come near us to offer a ride.
Well, I wasn’t surprised as much as Ichie did, the anxiety disorder strikes, as we walked into the NDLS Railway Station (the lounge room is located inside the building) the floor was flooded with local trying to catch some sleep with a thin clothes layered underneath, on the floor. “Do not step on them, not even their blanket” I am very positive that they are not beggars, some might are, but most are families who spend a night at the train station to catch up late night train or early morning train, and they couldn’t afford a stay in a hotel or lounge room.
We were welcomed by the staff at the IRCTC Travelers Executive Lounge, it was about 15mins before midnight and our booking is from 12am until the next morning 4am, so the staff charged another 30mins (duhh, we should just step out for 15mins and check in but Ichie gave me a horrific face sign, NO). We had a dinner buffet later, but the meal wasn’t impressive enough. But the coffee was good, I’m not a coffee person, for me to compliment a good coffee is rare!
We paid 250INR per person, it was like RM15 each. We shouldn’t go for the buffet, NO!
The lounge room is claimed as a world-class executive lounge, well for the price that we paid, I’m okay with it, the area is clean and comfortable and the AC was too cold. There’s a TV and you can upgrade your stay to a better room, or reclined chair (I wasn’t paid attention to the brief)
We paid another 170rs to use the shower room, they provided us with towels and toiletries. They don’t have many female guests that day so we have the whole shower room area to ourselves. We checked out at 4am and started to look for our platform. The station itself is huge, our platform (where we were scheduled to depart from platform 1) is on the other side of the station at Paharganj Gate (another main entrance to the station). We found our platform with the help from one of the staff (we met him again when we were sorting out which way should we go).
It was still early once we got to our platform, there’s a few waiting rooms available for ladies and gents, and divided into different classes, yet the local choose to sit on the floor, with their overloaded luggages and the thin cloth as cover. We decided to wait in the waiting room, where there’s a group of high school students on their road trip, aunties with their colorful saris (and they keep staring at Ichie, for the reason I know why), enough starring Ichie said, let’s just wait outside.
The sun was yet to rise, the weather was good, the air was a mix of morning dew and a smell of pee(s), train toot tooting, the jackpot jiggles along with the announcement, people chattering and I already thrilled to discover India as a whole, and still hungry.