Oct 21, 2009

Indian Train Journey

One train journey in India gives you a 360 degree experience of life. Apart from reaching your destination, you chat, criticize, empathize and play.

The people: There are 4 categories: The Sleeper, AC & General class travelers and the by passers.

By-passers are the most fun. “Original” is their favorite word. Everything they sell is a value for money, they say. You really can’t argue on value when in 10 Rs. he offers a packet with: 1 Scissor + 1 Scale + 1 Pen + 1 Key chain + 1 Eraser + 1 Diary. None of it is Made in China. Can you argue now? You can only ask why give an eraser with a pen? Their “original” products range from sweets, fruits, snacks, tea (always “special”), lighters, newspapers, books to torches. One stand out product is the multi-feature balm - looks like grease and can cure cold, cough, arthritis, backache, headache and impotency!

The other form of by-passers includes regular beggars who tap emotional pockets, smart beggars who clean your clean floor to tap “intelligent” pockets and the Eunuchs who touch you intelligently at emotional places.

The sleeper class people are over-friendly. They love to bargain with the by-passers, who curse them for this habit. They always demand a couple of extra Bananas on a dozen. They will then break the ice with you by offering you those extra Bananas. You say NO and they insist. Then you gain freakish insights on Indian politics, culture, cricket & economy while gulping those cursed Bananas. At the end of journey you will get to hear “If you ever come to XYZ city, do give me a call, I can help you with anything”.

Most of the AC travellers have switched to AC from the Sleeper class only. As a transformative result, they pretend to be over-aloof. They will speak loudly on the phone to let you know how rich/smart/educated they are. Breaking the ice is an ego issue here. You will probably end up in a debate after the ice is broken. The topics are still the same: Politics, culture, cricket & economy. The General class is well explained by Mr. Shashi Tharoor, so I won’t dig in to it.

The service: Other than Rajdhani, their food is a delicate garbage platter. The mutter-paneer has 1 paneer and 2 mutter. The name of the dish has both singular words, you should be happy you get an extra mutter. Dal has 6 -7 visible units of lentil (for protein) and 1 coriander leaf (for Iron), with lots of water (to prevent dehydration). The Roti is Sun-dried to give you less fat. The Rice is thick with a hint of light orangish carrot. Tea is made by dipping a heater rod (I have seen the pictures) in the water-milk mixture (80-20).

The test: Just when you start relaxing, enters the TC - Ticket Collector (Vital statistics: 36-48-36). I wonder how most of them have moustaches. Apart from the moustache, they carry a huge list of names and a metallic pen. With head down, spectacles about to drop from the nose, he looks up to you. He makes a claw, raises eye-brows and points the metallic pen towards you. This subtle gesture implies you need to show your ticket to him and that he is well educated man with dignity, not a beggar. He makes you feel dubious - “Man, what if I have lost my ticket?”

The sports: I am very fond of the part that connects 2 bogies. It’s like a free ride. Put one foot each on the two overlapping plates and you will either enjoy or get scared, kinda like rides. The one thing I don’t like about this place is the stench – toilets on either side. The toilets are Gaming Zones, only the Desi ones though. You have to manage between the train acceleration & lateral movements and your position & pressure. The only life-line to help you is a questionable handle with a thousand splendid fingerprints!!!

-x-

25 Comments:

Kay said...

lifes observation slender! excellent write

Rohan Sethi said...

Nice write man!!

Vinay Sharma said...

thnx @kay
thnx @sethi .. you came for the first time dude?

Kshitij said...

good one friend... I like the extra mutter part the most.

This writeup presents a somewhat funnily realistic picture of our trains... firangs will enjoy reading it...just a random thought.

Antarman said...

Very enjoyable post !I never order the food if I can manage without..its better to take something hot being prepared at plateform.

Vinay Sharma said...

@kshitij: yeah .. the first commenter is a firang i guess :)

@Antarman: thnx .. and ya that's what should be done .. eat something hot n fresh at the platform .. although that is also not fool proof ..

Varsha Shrote said...

Hi!Came here from Antaramn's!And I am so happy that I came here!WOW!
Excellent post....very funny and entertaining too:)
I liked the toilet part(description) the most!

Vinay Sharma said...

ohh u din have to put the word description in brackets .. being safe? :D

.. and thnks a lot for your appreciation ..

Dhanya said...

Lol @ your description of the food. Entertaining read! Indian train journeys are a lot of fun for the same -- you get to meet a lotta interesting ppl this way! :D

Chatterbox said...

Superb Post with a hilarious narrative!
I enjoyed every bit of it. So true and everyone of us who has traveled in Indian trains, can't help but agree with every word of what you've written.
I loved the description of the pantry food most. As pathetic is the food, awesome was your description for it.

Keep up the fantastic work Vinay!

Cheers!!

Vinay Sharma said...

@ Dhanya: you also get to meet interesting ppl who describe the train journey :)

@ Chatterbox: Thanks a lot ..

Uncommon Sense said...

i can relate to everything u said.. very well written

Vinay Sharma said...

thnx man ..

sulagna chatterjee said...

LOL:) eunuchs touching emotional areas!!! loved it...

Sourabh said...

Just came back by train...one uncle was all for recruiting me in the air force.
Never eat train food...unless you are dying..it will ease your passing on :P

Vinay Sharma said...

thnx @ Sulagna ..

@ Maeta: sahi hai .. Air Force !! .. dint he ask you to call him :P

pawan said...

Dude!
Didn't read your post as im not feeling well today and the up coming exams are also a huge diversion, I'll just be bak on ur blog after Nov 27th!

Cheers!

Deepti said...

veeeeeeeery neat! :)

"You should be happy you get an extra mutter".. Hehe.

Nice work.

Vinay Sharma said...

thnx@ Deepti ..

Sneha said...

Nice read! Enjoyed it thoroughly! :)

Vinay Sharma said...

Thnx and keep visiting Sneha ..

Tarun Mitra said...

To err is human:)
To forgive canine..

Nice article...

karan singh mac said...

NICE STORY VINU BHAIYA...VINEET BRO SHOWD ME UR BLOG 2DAY NLY AND AFTR READIN D 1ST STORY I HV 2 TELL U I AM A FAN ALREADY...NICE GOING...KEEP IT UP..

Vinay Sharma said...

thanks karan, keep visiting :)

theblogger said...

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