I am going to Hyderabad for Diwali later this month and I was all set to buy the tickets. Everything fell in place so well. One of my cousins is getting married just a few days before Diwali, so I can directly attend the wedding and later head to Rajahmundry to celebrate the festival. I love attending weddings (though I cannot recall a single wedding that I attended and didn’t fall asleep in one of those plastic chairs while the rituals are meticulously being followed) and I love Rajahmundry, so it is double whammy this Diwali and my spirits are pretty high.
It was just another Wednesday afternoon after lunch, I just tapped my spider and gave it a hi-five (hi-eight may be) and sat down at the comp to book the tickets, RAC 12, not bad at all, I thought and clicked through a series of links filling up all kinds of forms to book an online ticket home. Everything was going on well, I Okayed the transaction through online SBI and the payment was made and I got the intermediate screen saying that my ticket is being generated and the site will be automatically redirected in 5 seconds. And that was when lady luck decided to ditch me; I was redirected in 5 seconds, not to my ticket but to a black and white screen showing my fate in bold capital letters SERVICE UNAVAILABLE. (My usual luck!) One of those error messages I can never make sense of. What exactly do they mean by SERVICE UNAVAILABLE? Which "service" was unavailable? Is it the ticket-printing service? Is it the ticket-booking service? Or is it the whole of IRCTC? The only service that worked was taking-money-from-your-bank service and may I add it was very prompt. They took 300-something rupees from my bank account and I don’t know what happened to them. I tried to access the failed transactions page in IRCTC and I get the same message SERVICE UNAVAILABLE. Ironically, five minutes later, SBI sends me an SMS thanking me for using online SBI for “successfully” booking my railway ticket! This is what happens when you depend on three Govt. services- Indian Railways, online SBI and last but not the least IITB’s LAN for doing one simple thing!
My money still hangs in balance somewhere, so does my holiday. Spirits still high, bank balance slightly lower :(.
PS: I am still waiting for the day when I can completely trust the internet to do simple things involving money.