In my opinion, the Indian Railways is one of the most unique railway establishments that the world has there. I don’t write this because I’m Indian or biased, there are many, many travellers around the globe who will agree with this statement I made here. The fact that the Indian Railways(IR) employs a million people, astonishes me. That’s a lot of people. And they are not doing a bad job, because the way I see it, it’s 1 million handling say 1 billion people, assuming that the rest 2% of the people don’t travel across the country by train, which is partly true.
As a preference, keeping comfort in mind, I enjoy travelling in fancy air conditioned compartments, but as many including my favorite author Monisha Rajesh of ‘Around India in 80 trains’ say, India is best experienced travelling in local sleeper compartments. Because that is where you meet real India.
My love for the Indian Railways began in 2012, when I boarded a train from Bombay to Kerala, and the journey lasted 25 hours.
- I did not know what to expect.
- I did not know what would/would not happen over the 24 hours and how safe it would be.
- I had images in my head of me getting lost/losing my stuff.
Nothing happened, and 99% of my journeys across India have been in trains since then. The government does warn you of not to accept food from strangers(because drugs, robbery etc), yada yada, which is not wrong on their part, but hey, if you have expensive gizmos on you, chances are you can probably afford the fancy air conditioned compartments which are relatively safer.
Again, chances are, nothing bad will happen at all, I’ve travelled both in AC compartments, and I usually travel in sleeper compartments like the majority of Indians do, and I’ve met amazing people, who have so much to share! Food, stories, laughter! The berth, in my compartment, is like a home to me now, and every day that I’m not on it, hearing the vendors sing ‘Chai, chai, chai….’ or ‘Pani(water), cold dreeenkssssss’, I miss it, with the bottom of my heart.
My heart jumps with joy every time I’m on a long distance train. I get the urge from deep within to yell out ‘HEYYYYYY NEW PERSON’ everytime I see new faces in a new train journey, but I’m sure if I did that, I’d be hailed a lunatic. I can’t really explain in words all the feelings in my heart, in words, but you get the picture.