Mysore station is gracious and clean and has much to offer. A civilised seating arrangement with a single queue multiple server system for booking tickets, a well stocked Higginbothams, good wadas and passable coffee, and the cosy metre gauge over on the west end of the station. The only disappointment was that the Nandini sweets stall on the platform did not have unlimited stocks of their renowned Mysore Pak. We sadly bought the only pack they had, while just minutes before that we had been debating whether a round half-dozen would be sufficient or not.
The leisured way to get to Bangalore from Mysore is by the Tippu. Late morning departure at 11.00 when all the office people have gone, and only retired people, people on holidays, some women-and-children (or women-cum-children as the ladies special buses are labelled in Madras) and a few stragglers who are in no hurry. Given this crowd, surprisingly, Tippu is actually the fastest mover, after the Shatabdi.
There is no pantry car on the Tippu since it is too short a journey and so we had packed khara buns and a large sweet bun with coconut and tutti-frooty filling as part of our due diligence the previous evening. Then we had a late, hearty breakfast of Idli-wada, Masala dosa, watermelon juice and coffee at the hotel. To get all the details right, the idli-wada suite was a two plus one affair, but when D wanted an extra wada instead of the extra idli, the hotel guy cheerfully gave us an additional one without replacement. At the station we picked up a bunch of bananas, and when the platform vendor told us that lunch would not be served on the train, we anxiously bought a couple of masalvadas. This plus an orange from the previous day's wanderings, and even Billy Bunter should have felt secure. Remember, we were to reach Bangalore by about half past one in the afternoon, on the same day.
On the way, we found that there was actually a steady stream of vendors. Not too much variety of stuff to eat, but certainly nobody had to worry about starvation. Apart from chewing on all the stuff we had, we bought a Maddur wada, to be on the safe side. The vendors were scrupulous in the description of their beverage offerings, as they gently announced "fresh coffee", "tea" and "cool drinks". So we had the coffee (which D announced was good) and a tea.
The train halted just before Mandya to let the Shatabdi through, at Mandya for its only scheduled halt and just after Mandya to let a passenger through, so it was fairly liberal in its outlook.
Arrangements were made on the cell-phone for a late lunch in Bangalore by a Palghat Iyer mama in the front seat, who awoke briefly from some stentorian snoring for this act. The snores were so vibrant and resonant that his wife had seen to it that she was on the other side of the aisle (the carriage was mostly empty). The wife was laughing helplessly (in both senses, she could not stop the husband from snoring and she could not stop laughing), which was a relief as then all of us could share her mirth openly.
That was it for the trip, except for a digi-cam toting foreginer who was keen on shooting the entry to the city after Nayandahalli and Gnanabharati Halt. This single line stretch must be the grimiest in Bangalore. It has urban scrap heaps, the plastic recycling boys and girls and other sights that are not pretty and is far too close to life to be comfortable. There is a 30 kmph speed restriction almost all the way after Kengeri and there is plenty of time to soak it all in.