In the last month, practically all the three of us present here in the house, have travelled quite a bit (of course individually and that too in different directions, at different times and in different trains). That travel itself is an adventure and events during travel never end, is never disputed. Here are some of the interesting things that we had to share:
- The trains are so packed with people, even the reserved compartments (a general observation by all of us).
- At night getting into the train which has already travelled some distance is a real walk through the 'minefield'... there are people sleeping in every bit of space available: on the aisle, under the seats, at least two on each berth (which hardly can accommodate one).
- If by chance you need to go for your needs during the night you can be sure that on your return you'll find that someone else had usurped your berth! Waking that fellow up is another adventure!
- The Ticket collectors and the squads have a ball of a time these days. They collect money from every one who enters the reserved compartments and let them continue to stay on, thus lighting the match in an already tensed mood. Those with reserved tickets claim the seats as their, and so do those who bribed the TTs.
- That it is summer is perhaps the best part of the travel. Add to that the unavailability of running water in the compartment. Add further to that the rush that ensues at the water taps on platforms once the trains reach a station. One gets to see people in all sorts of attire - at times with the bare minimal clothing too. During my trip to Coimbatore, I happened to see a Sister travelling in the train. Every other person in that section (numbering about 20-25, which is actually meant for just 8) was a Muslim in his full attire. It was quite a scene! (But I should add, the guys never misbehaved or caused confusion).
- Unlike earlier times, people have become a little more practical and have realised the futility of carrying heavy pieces of lugguage. However, squabbles over the placement of lugguage is a recurring event.
- The most famous - and infamous - guys are the TTs. They are eternally swarmed by a big group of people requesting for a seat or berth -- and the rest keep abusing them for taking bribes and making lives miserable during the journey for all, those with reservation and those without!
- Besides the TTs the only other group of people who really are thrilled about this combo of holiday season and summer are the vendors. The train may be packed and there may not be an inch to place one's foot, but that does not deter the cool drink walla or the chanawala from making his way from one end of the train to the other - making a good collection.
- As for the pic above, it is just something that one hardly get to see this time of the year - a vacant section!