Indian Railways and Saboo

Customer delight is becoming a trend in the Indian service sector and the laaloo chuk chuk express has not been very far behind in delivering customer satisfaction, but it is spear heading by giving its passengers an extra delight. If you have traveled in the Indian railways you might well be familiar with what I am going to write next. After my training program a lot of my hidden positive attitude has come out to the extent that now a black hole looks like a shining star.

I was coming back to Delhi after a months training program on my first job. I had to board my train from Bhubaneshwar (Orissa) to delhi on the 13th july. The journey did not begin as a lot of people were going back to their hometowns after taking part in the famous rath yatra held in Puri. There were 6 of us going back to delhi and our tickets could not get confirmed. We tried for the same train the next day. My colleagues who had to go to punjab, had their tickets confirmed. They were quite agog about their confirmed tickets in the Purushottam ‘Superfast’ Express. We were also happy as our tickets were also confirmed, but in a different train, the kalingautkal ‘Express’. Their train had to depart at 11:25 pm and ours had to leave at 10:40 pm. The Purushottam ‘Superfast’ Express takes 36 hours whereas my train normally took 42. We reached the station at 10:40. What happened next was similar to the voice of my discipline teacher in school, who told me to take an extra round of the field when I came late.

Mr Saboo, as he was popularly known was a retired constable. Some said he was suspended from the service. Looking at his age I too thought so. His voice fell on my deaf ears as he told me to take 4 rounds of the football ground when I came late to school. It was a cold winter morning and Delhi’s winters made me even more lazy. I went to the field, which was a few meters away and went for the walk hoping it would be a leisure/pleasure walk,  a legal morning assembly bunk. As I eased myself on the field and began to enjoy the morning, unaware that the predators eyes were watching me carefully, I strolled through the finely cut grass enjoying the morning. As I walked the famous song pictured on Amitabh Bachchan, “Main aur meri tanhai aksar yeh baatein kartein hain” created a romantic mood, which I thought was caused by foggy weather and cool air brushing my head causing changes in the blood flow in my brain. All I thought about was my crush and I enjoyed the walk, till I hit a tree and fell down. The moment I fell, I thought I was lucky, to hit a soft tree. I looked around to see if anyone was watching and I saw 7 students standing in a line laughing.

“They are gone, laughing in front of sabooo, huh, mad creatures”

Just as these words passed through the romantic streams of my mind the acoustic guitar supporting the music seemed to get out of sync. The lines “yeh kahaan aa gaye ham” sung by the queen of melody, “Lata Mangeshkar” just seemed out of rhythm. “Ab iske sur ko kya hua”

SMASH!… THUD!…

I thought the tree was soft that its branch had weakened and broken as I had smashed into it. What a masculine man I was…

5 seconds might have passed after hitting the tree. As I came back to my senses, Saaboo sir had held my collar.

(manner less)Battameez!!!

(four more rounds) Chaar round auur lagaaoo….

Huh

*

…Teenee teenee teenee…

Train no: 8447 kalingautkal ‘Express’ is 3 hours late… sorry for inconvenience.

Woah…

Thats what I call as the wrong side of Indian Railways.

There were positive things yet to arrive ; just a bit late. My train was 3 hours late before it even arrived at the station. It departed at 1:45 am. My friends who had to leave at 11:25 left at 12:00 midnight. They were happy , in fact very happy”. This is what I call customer delight part one. Part two was with us. Their train in the end was 13 hours late and mine managed  to catch up and was only 2 hours late. We arrived at Delhi much before them. I had the same feeling, which I had few years back in school, when my punishment of 8 rounds by Mr Saboo was reduced to 2 rounds after the principal intervened and thats when I thought of another customer , the student and his delight. As days passed I became a known face and Saboo sir seldom missed me. Thanks to his efforts I took a step further in being disciplined. Those steps were, waking up early in the morning, and quickly getting ready.

You’ve got it wrong again. I’ll tell you about those steps in my next blog entry. Till then goodbye.

[Statutory Warning: If you are Mr Saboo, please take this in a good spirit like the way we travel via train (… sorry for inconvenience). If you know him don’t tell this to him, but do spread the word 😉 ]

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