“QUIRKY EXPERIENCES IN INDIAN TRAIN TRAVELS”
Train journeys are often compelling situations when you have to grin and bear. I didn’t have confirmed tickets in the first place to board the train, until about 4 hours before train departure. After a while, confirmation comes for sleeper class, the only option available and best under the circumstances. So, I pack my bags knowing that the journey will be a noisy one at the very least. Greeted by a jam packed station, I could barely stand comfortably. I could hear the cacophony, loud and clear. In this din, train announcements, required special hearing abilities.
In the midst of all this were groups of people on pilgrimage, crowding all the boarding points. As the train arrived, the usual scene of a mad rush to enter the coach, played out. At this point, applying mind on orderly entry would help all. But that didn’t happen. Furthermore, the shriek while entering the coach, as if a musical chairs event went on, seemed unnecessary. It would be a surprise if they settled down fast. This set the tone for what to expect from people, from noise point of view, while the journey progresses.
Also read: Keeping Decorum #BlogchatterA2Z
Inside the coach, silence became a forgotten word. Once the train moved, many phones rang, and as many shrill voices spoke, it looked as though cross talk went on. Meanwhile as ladies chatted, we gained the impression, they only knew comma in a sentence and not a full stop. A few of us men, went from exchanging pleasantries to strong opinions, that would put news channels in the shade. At the slightest hint of some sarcastic comment, they burst out with laughter, reminding me of Ravan.
At dusk, our pilgrimage group began to claim their fair share of making themselves felt. Beginning from talking to each other loudly, in multiple languages, from one end of the coach to another. Thereafter they assembled together, to sing hymns, some mellifluous, and some in jarring voices, accompanied by percussion instruments, that were deafening the ears. Overall it did not evoke a sense of prayer, but they had mercy on us, by ending their impromptu program.
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At night fall, once all of us were in bed, our university student friends, got busy on their mobiles. Their mobiles rang louder, their whispers audible enough to tell their intimate stories, and their videos glare disturbing. But those were things you could switch off with the flick of a button. On the contrary, what can you do if the person who sleeping next to you snores in different patterns, or if a person coughs through the night, or if a person constantly sneezes? It is here that we need to see such co-passengers with some empathy.
With a target of getting off my train at 6am, I try to get a semblance of sleep that night. I didn’t need an alarm. The pilgrims began their hymns early morning, and sooner than later I got off the train. I quietly thanked them for waking me up, for if I had missed the station it would have taken me a minimum of 4 hours to get back.
I will cover unpredictability of arrivals and departures in one of my upcoming posts.
Until then here’s signing off for the day. Please come back for more tomorrow.
The quirky experiences on an Indian train travel continues….