Saturday, 5:57 am, I sprint across the crowded New Delhi Railway Station that bustles with excited travellers and coolies donned in red, trying their best to convince everyone that their four-wheeled suitcases needed a stronger hand. Children slap their slippers lazily as eager parents rush them to their respective platforms. There's a wave of urgency that engulfs the station, and I feel that wave hitting me with full force because my train to Jhansi leaves in exactly three minutes, and I have to cross the entire length of the station, its sixteen platforms to reach my boarding platform.
I make it just in time, huffing and puffing, in complete contrast to my elegantly seated co-passengers who were there well before time. The executive coach of the Shatabdi welcomes me with its spacious seats and a well-dressed attendant who offers me fruits and a tetra pack of juice. The train whistles and we're on our way to Jhansi, right on time! I'm impressed, this is a side of Indian Railways that one rarely gets to see. Thanks to its efficient routes, in only 4.75 hours, I will reach Orccha, a heritage town that I have two days to explore. I had no idea that Madhya Pradesh was so easily accessible from New Delhi and I instantly take to Instagram to duly inform my travel community about the same.
Thanks to the several rounds of tea, coffee, snacks and breakfast, I scarcely notice the passage of time. Our train was already pulling into the Jhansi station.