My sister and her husband, who have been our guests for a month, were supposed to go back to Kerala on 4th Jan by Sabari Express.
Since it’s the peak season of the pilgrimage to the hilltop temple of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala in Kerala, there are no seats available on the train until 20th Jan. Anyone who travels to Kerala by train from any part of the country knows that the two and a half month long pilgrimage season (Nov-Jan) is the hardest to book tickets.
The pilgrims book all seats in advance. It results in ordinary passengers facing untold hardships.The railway runs special trains from various stations to Kerala to ease the rush, but the devotees of Lord Ayyappa don’t spare the special trains either!
Knowing the situation very well I booked two seats in waiting list through a friend for 4th Jan. What we thought was that we could manage to get the tickets confirmed in emergency quota with the help of a contact. It had worked on a few occasions in the past. But this time it didn’t work. We knew this bitter truth only after we had reached Secunderabad Railway Station for boarding the train.
The platform was inundated with the pilgrims in black robe and the atmosphere was reverberating with their chants and songs with the accompaniment of musical instruments. It was clear that for every reserved seat there would be a dozen swamis (the devotees, pilgrims) hanging on.

My sister and brother-in-law stood no chance of a comfortable journey. So we canceled the tickets and returned home.

Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa!

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