The railway woes

The writing starts at 6.45 pm, on Wednesday, April 3, 2013.

It has nearly two hours on the Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, and I am yet to establish a proper connection with the on-board wi-fi, which was ostentatiously inaugurated by railway minister Dinesh Tribedi yesterday aboard the New Delhi-Howrah Rajdhani. The network access to the login portal has just been established, but its still a long way before I see anything from the ‘interwebz’.

The way it should work is fairly simple. I try to open any web portal on my laptop, tablet PC, smartphone or any phone that can access the internet, and I will be directed to a specific login portal that will grant me internet access through the railways’ on-the-train servers. But it will first require a username and a password. And to get that, I need to register my PNR, following which the aforementioned username and password will be sent to me by text message.

Point is, the text message is to be sent to the registered phone number. Now, my ticket was booked online, so one phone number to which the SMS could go to is that of the person under whose IRCTC login my ticket was booked. Then, while booking, my dad gave his phone number as a contact number in case of emergencies or if any change was made to the booking. So his number is a candidate too.

However, not all tickets are booked through IRCTC’s online portal, so the first isn’t a case for consideration. The second is the phone number that all ticket booking forms, both offline and online, require. In my case, it is the latter, but there has been no SMS to my dad’s phone either…

And finally, 15 minutes after I register, the SMS arrives on the third possibility: my own telephone, whose number I had provided while registering for this service a few minutes ago.

Just as I am beginning to think that this will be the beginning of some smooth surfing, a la my experience of using state-owned internet connections like MTNL in New Delhi. Fat chance! The young porter who I had badgered at the starting of the trip somewhat smugly tried to tell me that the ‘mistri’ had just fixed the problem. Really? He must have chuckled inwardly. The internet connection is as shaky as this train, and I am losing connection much more frequently than a goldfish exhausts its memory span!

Nevertheless, I soldier on. It’s a good thing that blogware like Windows Live Writer can help bloggers compose the entire text of a new post offline, on their desktop, and then let us publish it at the click of a button, within that small window of time when the patron saint of internet connectivity smiles on my laptop for that small window of time.

Finally published at 7.50 pm.

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