Sunday, April 15, 2007

Shalimar Express

The overnight Shalimar Express took us from the cool and breezy mountains back to the sultry plains and Dehli. We travelled in "2 AC" - second class air conditioned - which wasn't luxurious but allowed a good nights sleep and the chance to chat with our fellow Indian passengers.

The train was 90 minutes late arriving and I filled the time at Pathankot station expanding my collection of photographs of Indian signage. How sad am I! Indian Railways is the heavyweight champ of signage in a country which produces so many corkers. It's also the world's largest employer, with over 1.5 million people in it's service. We chatted to a doctor employed in the medical division, which seems to form an entirely parallel national heath care system, just for railway employees. From the evidence of this sign, Indian Railways also ranks as the world's most bureaucratic organisation.

This is my reigning champion of Indian signage. The small print is well worth a read, if you can bear it.

Pathankot station cafe didn't get high ratings for ambiance or service. Note the coveted position given to the complaints book, the sign for which has been painstakingly, nay lovingly, etched into the marble.

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