Thursday, April 21, 2011

A little saved today is more spent tomorrow


Have you heard the cliché “penny wise pound foolish”? Its origin can be traced to our British colonial past (pound and penny) and its survival to our regard for conventional wisdom. However, you wouldn’t hear many people admit that they lived the aphorism. This week I did. Let me explain how. 

During my last five years in Bangalore, I have promised my parents many times that I would visit Calcutta twice a year, but it didn’t work out. This year I made up my mind to do it, once at the end and once in the middle of the year. April, being the fourth month of the year, felt somewhat close to the middle if not perfectly so. So I chose last week of April for my travel home.

My friend, who helps me buy tickets online since I don’t have a credit card (without grumbling), insisted I fly up and down. I said I would be economic and travel one leg of the journey by train. “Which one?” Because I would get tired while returning, the return journey seemed more appropriate for flight. So I bought a return-flight ticket from Calcutta to Bangalore.

But where I would get my train ticket to go to Calcutta from?

Flight tickets can be easy to get but not so with train tickets.

I approached a ticket agent and he promised me that while he wouldn’t be able to get me a regular ticket due to paucity of time, he would be able to arrange for a tatkal one, which is issued only a day or two before boarding. I said I wanted a ticket on 22nd April, and he replied, “Done sir.”

Today, in the morning, he called me and said he hadn’t got a confirmed tatkal ticket; what he got was on waiting list behind eight people. Such tickets never translate into confirmed ones and you are booted out of the train unless you are lucky.

He asked me whether I would be interested to fly to Calcutta and I outrightly dismissed the idea and said I would visit his office later.

When I visited his office, I didn’t like the train options he told me. Then he scoured a website to show me flight options. I settled for the least-priced one, Rs. 6600. Earlier I had given him an advance for the train ticket; I paid him the remaining amount.

While returning home, I reflected if I had bought a flight ticket for going together with my return ticket, instead of trying to travel by train and be economic, I would be richer by a tidy sum.

Be that as it may, at least I am going home. (I am flying by Air India on Sunday morning, 24th April.)


You can also call me an April fool.





3 comments:

Being Pramoda... said...

I avoid flight travel like anything..unless otherwise required Im not ready to fly as well..:)

U said it right..and the title is apt..:)

indrablog said...

Hi Pramoda,
For last three years or so I have been traveling by flight and have got addicted to it. Thanks for visiting.

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