Finally, we are off. The BBC India election train rumbled out of a quiet station in Delhi, close to the upscale Safdarjung neighbourhood, at exactly three in the afternoon local time. I have to say the seven-coach train is looking really good, branded in red and white. We have begun the 8000km, eight-city, 18-day journey at last.
I am travelling in an air-conditioned coach with a musty, red carpet, and a door handle hanging precariously. An old Incredible India poster hangs near my bunk extolling the virtues of the Buddha. The bunks have fraying red upholstery and there is a little formica-topped storage space. Not bad for a first class coach on Indian Railways.
Our colleagues turned out in full force to see us off and there were instantly-printed framed photographs of us at the station. Members of the Indian media came along too - so let's see how they have to say.