"" Bleh and Awe: My Train trips to home

Sunday, 3 May 2015

My Train trips to home

Home is, where my heart is, and so are most of my pants. Well, I have a really strange fetish. Instead of opting for the easier air-conditioned or the 30-min flights, I take, the pain-in-the-ass seater train. That's right, Dhauli Express, or the Bhubhaneshwar-Kolkata Jan Shatabdi.

My college buddies (most of them sane individuals) consider my choice as repetitive "mistakes", but I love to see how people behave. True, a General coach would have been a much better experience, but that's for next time. Till then, seaters it is.

Awkward seat number
Well, I remember clearly my first train journey ( crummy ass Dhauli Express) from Kolkata to Puri. On my way to college, I was terrified about the whole college experience ( how to live with random individuals and exist without Ma waking me up or Dad shouting/criticizing). Well, Dad was there, and my ticket said "Male 18; Coach: D6 Seat:69 ", a window seat. As I dragged the luggage on to the
train (Dad criticizing). And, as I secretly knew, my seat was occupied. My Dad told me to be smart and approach the guy and to be polite. I followed orders and Whoa ! He asked "Babu where is your ticket?" I was taken aback as surely, Dad has the tickets. In a quick flash I asked the man for his tickets, which were swiftly handed over. As I read the ticket (he really didn't expect) I spotted it was a backdated ticket. Ah ha ! "Sir, that is my seat and this is a backdated ticket", with expressions flushed red. The man, out of the blue, changed from a predator to a soft kitten and "Adjust please?". Well, Dad stepped in and asked him to shift over to some other seat. Again, Dad was there to save the day (and I got reprimanded, for the fifth time).

I took my seat, and as the train departed and took up speed, it felt blissful . Lush green fields, stupid cows grazing, and I dozed off, only to be awaken 10 minutes later by a gang of Hijjras. Sigh, and I shelled out a rupee and went back to sleep. To be woken up at the very next station by a little kid (I don't really understand why people like kids, jeez dogs are cuter) who found the train seats to be the greatest bungee jumping cushions. And this went on, where we encountered magic shows, bhajjan shows, muri wallas, aerobatics and people begging in the strangest of ways. Slowly I saw how India is a really mashed up place, filled with so many strange, creepy and irritating people, but some great at heart, lead exciting lives, and are as normal as you and me.

NOTE: My family and friends completely disagree on the line(s) where I've mentioned that I'm "normal".

Well, my other trips I usually try to find out some college pal, or end upi making one, but funnily, I've deciphered some strange facts about the route.

  • The tickets say 6 hours of journey but it's always near about 8
  • Don't encourage begging
  • It takes around 45mins from Satragachi to Kolkata, while its 15 minutes by road
  • More luggage = Pain in the ass
  • Trips are better with a travel buddy
  • Don't forget to drink water
  • Don't forget to pee
  • Be nice to passengers even if they are jerks, but not at the loss of self-respect
To be honest, the first trip was really a jab to my life, as I had never traveled in such a train, but nevertheless, I wanted to thrive in the chaotic environment, as it taught and continues to teach the different aspect of travelling by Indian Railways. And oh, standing near a gate staring at the lush green fields, villages, abandoned houses and offices with the wind at your face while the train chugs along, can feel blissful.

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