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Trains - vermin, new friends and SRK

INDIA | Thursday, 20 March 2008 | Views [1129]

Early morning photos from the train were often spectacular

Early morning photos from the train were often spectacular


I was standing on the platform, and felt, rather than saw, the ground shifting beneath me.

No, I wasn't the victim of any kind of drug taking (though we'd been warned about accepting drinks from strangers). On closer inspection, the shifting surface of the ground was the crawling of rats across the rail way lines.


(this is where I shudder and suppress the urge to gag)

Well, India (and Albert) says, get over it, cause this is the way of life here.

Every train station was infested (gorgeous word) with rats and mice. They climbed over the luggage in the cloak rooms, and shared the train tracks with the trains. They seem to live with little fear and look relatively fat and healthy.

Yes, I saw a couple on the trains, scuttling with a little more idea for self preservation. With people casually throwing everything to the floor, I guess something will come along and fossick in it before the beggar children arrive with their bags at the end of the line. (>> insert sigh of resignation <<)


In hindsight (usually the best place to view these experiences), we all enjoyed sleeping on the trains.

The rocking, the cha cha of the train over the tracks, the soothing bumping. Just yesterday Jett (our 8 year old) said how nicely he remembered it. Of course, it could have been how nice it was in comparision to the hard floor he was laying on in our (under preparedstill in experimental stages) tent. Regardless, we think fondly of those good old times, safely in the past.

We pulled out our sleeping bags and threw our heads down on one of our softest bags.

The local travellers were some what different in their approach.

Usually a family of India travellers carried with them three extra large bags. One had all the bedding for the train. One had stuff we never saw. And one had food that they ate for their journey... and was absolutley home made delicious stuff with the works (chutney, yoghurt, pickles).

When they made their beds up (and yes this is pretty universal for all the trips we did), they would place a sheet down, and a pillow, and then a sheet on top, and then layer the blankets on top. They put everything under the seats and I only saw the Sikh's (the silver bracelet, turban, moustache, dagger wearing, sometimes trident carrying, super nice, from Punjab, excellent dancing people) lock their belongings with a chain and padlock.

We just slept on our stuff and made sure our shoes were off the floor. We'd only heard of shoes being stolen on trains in  India. (I'm sure other stuff has happened, but that's our experience)


One of the positive, renound experiences of traveling by train in India, of course, is the food you're going to be offered. I don't know what half of it was, but ate 'veg' - and DELICIOUS sauces and interesting concoctions... and err, after the first train trip and indignation of watching people throw their rubbish out of the window, we also threw it out... adding to the food for the rats, of course....

It was a rather freeing moment... just - CHUCK ... and it was gone... into the past, behind us.. and now some one else's problem...

(We only threw biodegradable stuff - kept the plastics and cans seperate)


(shriek of girlish delight)

One of the coolest moments for me, was listening to the calls of chaya chaia, chai through the evening and early morning.

If you have seen Dil Se, you will be familiar with 'chaya' and the repitition of this song...  Finally I understood the sound, the lyrics, the feel. It was fantasic.... It meant a lot to me at the moment of half sleep.


Tags: india, sunrises, trains

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