Saturday, March 3, 2012

indian railways and me: 2 stories

*This post was written for 'Around The World With Expedia' contest by ( for indiblogger #ExpediaIndia*

For as long as I have started travelling, every time there is something, someone in the journey that make me want to shoot myself during/after the journey. So I wont be doing justice to those ‘characters’ if I write about each of them in one post. Domestic flights are short duration and hence I can choose to NOT talk and pretend to be sleepy all the time. Ergo, I have tried to write about 2 of such experiences, which happened during my date with Indian railways. Without further ado, here goes:

Exhibit 1 - Where ‘s my Seat?

When Bangalore bound Karnataka express left New Delhi station I had no idea I will develop suicidal tendencies for weeks to come after the journey. I was travelling alone and was on middle berth which is the worst Indian railways could do to you after taking away your money and not giving you something to sit/sleep upon (read waiting). Next day around noon a mother and daughter entered the compartment. Female looked a little around 25-ish give or take 3 years (oh yes she was cute) and was accompanied was her bodyguard-cum-mother. She kept mentioning how many diseases one could have traveling in sleeper class so I gathered medical student. It was during lunchtime that they took out something to eat that the mother turned to me and fired her first shot

Aunty- beta what is your caste?

Me- *shocked at the question* excuse me?

Female – mom wants to know what caste you belong to?

It was unbelievable

Me- I am (still clueless about why she deemed that necessary)

Aunty- here, have this (she offered the mixture and fruits that she was peeling on a plate)

Me- (making my WTF face) frankly speaking aunty, I don’t like to eat from strangers on a journey.

I have had enough so I got up and left to stand near doors. There is something about sound of a moving train that makes you forget a lot of things. I could not believe this, how could they? What if I didn’t belong to the caste they were looking for? And gods help the patients this female is going to see after she graduates, or whatever doctors call it, because they never actually do.

I went back to take my purse when I saw that the female was reading my book; she waved and mentioned that she took it. Boy, Wasn’t I grateful for the heads up?

I was starting to question words like sanity, civilization etc.

Several hours passed, I was standing near gates (yes I like it, can do it for hours) and NO I DON’T SMOKE, STOP ASKING ME FOR MATCHSTICKS.

It was when I returned I noticed that the female was sleeping on my (middle) berth and her mother was on lower berth.

Now seriously, WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?

I woke up the mother as gently as I could because trying to touch a woman my age in the dark wont look good and past results weren’t too promising

Me- aunty, she is sleeping on my berth and…

Aunty- *before I could finish* Yes she said she wanted to sleep there.

Me- *stunned* ok so where do I sleep?

Aunty - go to upper berth, I am sure you don’t mind

Of course I didn’t/couldn’t, what choice did I have?

Exhibit 2- It’s a child; oh were they your sleepers?

It happened on last day of Feb ‘12 when I was returning from home and got upgraded to 2nd ac, which I hate for so many reasons one of which being they are full of patients and children’s. Either you agree with me or you haven’t travelled in railways enough.

Guess what? My compartment had, surprise surprise, BOTH (oh yes a patient AND a child). The moment I saw the drapes on and lights off, prayers came to my lips automatically ‘PLEASE GOD, not this one, PLEASE’

“Oh this is my berth!”

I noticed a patient on my lower berth and a crying-talking baby on the other side. What more could have I asked for?

Oh did I tell you that the mother believed in ACCIDENTLY using slippers without asking? Oh yes I found out when she came back from washroom after attending to her kid’s washroom needs and stuff. The wetness gave it away. She didn’t ask, if you wanted to know. The child was exceptional to say the least, he kept saying he is hungry and refused to eat when his parents brought food and kept crying during the process. Look children are cute and stuff but when you are trying to sleep and some person keeps yelling at everything, well lets just assume normal human behavior is predictable.

I was trying very hard to sleep amidst all the ‘OH MY GOD TRAIN STARTED’, ‘DO YOU KNOW HOW TO GIVE INJECTIONS?’ ‘OH I LIKE MAGAZINES, LETS BUY’ and other things I didn’t bother to listen in highest pitch its humanly possible, but it was like the universe didn’t want me to sleep. In the mean time some guy in other compartment decided that this could be the best time to watch Agneepath in the Dolby digital sound speakers

Every time I got down for going to loo or some fresh air, I had to ask that female for MY sleepers, s-l-o-w-l-y because hey, there is a patient in the compartment.


I patted my back for being patient in the whole journey when I reached New Delhi and ran straight to the metro for the fear that these people will ask me to help with there luggage.

These are some of the instances when the people I met weren’t interesting. There are many more, If you ask. The one where there were 8 people on my berth, the one with a professor uncle, person who didn’t know about torrents, the guy who liked himesh, the ‘CAN I SIT IN YOUR PLACE’ guy…the list is endless and every time I board that big-ol’blue vehicle a new story is waiting to unfold.

have you had a story to tell in your travel? share




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