Whether it be for a festive season or a normal weekend, the preparations to go home for an NRK(Non Resident Keralite) in Bangalore starts exactly 90 days before. Yes.. that is the day when the railway ticket reservation starts before a particular date of journey. Costing deliciously at around 200-300 Rs for a Sleeper class ticket as compared to 500 - 1000 Rs in private buses and other modes of transport and the less tedious journey to top up; almost every Bangalore Malayali (or more lovingly called Mallu) tries his/her luck to get their names in the railway reservation chart. Just 4 trains to savour the gluttonous rush for tickets, it is a race against time and as always the few lucky early birds catch the pray. The others are left behind with RACs and WLs and a lot of chaos and vagaries to deal with. The same exercise happens 5 days before the date of journey too... That is when our next hero "Tatkal" comes into play. Though costing 150 Rs more, but surely less than the cost of most of the other modes, the failed birds give a try to this also. I was a bird of this kind on 21st Jan 2009. Pledging precious morning sleep at always cool M10, Gopalan Gardenia and determined to book a Tatkal ticket from Ernakulam to Bangalore for 26th, I glued into the www.irctc.com site from 7:30 am onwards without even brushing my teeth. The booking exercise starts at exactly 8:00 am railway time every morning and lasts for a few minutes usually. Clicking on the "Find Trains" tab every half a minute and logging in multiple tabs in Opera and Firefox, I didn't gave any chance for relegation till the booking started. Booking started at 8:00 am. My reflexes were agile and clicked the "Find Trains" tab and followed subsequent formalities. The make payment screen came and when I was about to make the payment, my eyes fluttered over the Total Availability.
Total Availability at IST 8:02
WL 96/WL 96 Sleeper Class(SL)
More than 96 birds had flew over me to grab the prey in a time less than 2 minutes.
I realized at that moment 2 minutes meant a lots of time in a game like this. :(:(:(