As a kid I loved travelling in the train. I still enjoy doing so…unless something like this happens
The journey takes 5-6 hours by train to Vijayawada, my home city. As usual, I slept late and was looking forward to a delightful nap on one of my passenger’s shoulder (You can’t help it)
An early start
Train starts at 6AM, I was there on time (surprisingly) and when it came in, I got in along with a few thousand people. Ok someone got their math wrong, there were more passengers than seats, easily 4 times more.
Everyone was scrambling..not for a seat, they just needed a place to stand!
WoW I never saw so many people get into a reserved compartment. What reservation? The system collapsed with an overwhelming surge of humanity to go home for the holidays. We were struggling to gain square inches.
Too late. I couldn’t get out of this
Journey in my Journey
I was able to get into the train, but a wall of bodies stopped me at the exit. The train started.
Now I had to try to get to my reserved seat – it looked impossible.
Inch by Inch I pushed through, trampling feet, elbowing my way through the sweaty masses to get close to my seat.
45 minutes to travel 7 feet – Great timing!
Claiming my prize
I knew that someone would be sitting in my seat. With the reservation printout in my hand, ready to shove in their face, I was determined to evict the squatter.
To my dismay, there was an old man in my seat and when I politely asked, he just raised his hands in a Namaste, pleading with his eyes…
Damn! Just when I was about to test my sense of authority, I was asked to show my unselfish generosity, which, I thought wasn’t part of my nature. But I nodded my head implying “OK. No Problem”
Now the Fun part
Reality of my gesture sunk in after standing for a few minutes, “I could be standing for the next few hours” . Now why couldn’t the old man be a really pretty girl.
BUT it was not just about the standing, it was about surviving in this human pit. All of us stuck together like glue.
We were even struggling for hand-holding space. Oh it was just painted and the paint did not dry completely.
The ones sitting were no better, 4-5 bodies were jammed on a seat that could hold only 3. It was fascinating to watch so many people.
What were they thinking when they all decided to go home in this train?
Did they realize that everyone was thinking the same
Did they know that I was one of the few idiots who actually reserved his seat?
Fortunately others took pity on my plight and got me squeezed into the opposite seat. Relief after standing for 3 hours.
I nodded off to sleep. A woman sleeping next to me was using my body as a bed-rest. On my left was another guy. Her daughter somehow wound up in my lap.
There was a big shouting match when a few folks with reserved seats rudely evicted a middle-aged couple.
Later, I showed my Mobile’s camera feature to the daughter & son of that lady. As expected, the kids were delighted.
Soon my phone was “borrowed”, there was a brief tussle between the kids and surprisingly the little girl got the phone . Her brother was much more subdued than this girl.
Eventually, the adventure was over and I reached Vijayawada. A journey which I will try my best to avoid again.
But I did get a good story out of this. Hope you guys enjoyed it.