10 July 2009

The lifeline of India and an overnight journey

I hope you all have enjoyed reading the experiences from my recent trip to India and Nepal (click for part 1 and part 2).

I stayed in Delhi for four days but hardly had any significant outing due to the hot weather. The heat was just unbearable especially in the day time. No wonder I couldn’t stop sweating when I slept at nights even with fan on full blast. I read in the newspaper that the whole northern India was hit by the heat waves.

10th May 2009: It was the day, I had to leave Delhi. I was accompanied by some of my relatives. We had our reservations in the train called 'Amritsar-Saharsa Garibrath'. We reached New Delhi railway station about an hour before the scheduled departure. The train came almost right on time which made me pleasantly surprised given the reputation of Indian railways. After some time, the train was in full swing and soon the capital city was left behind. And left behind were those innumerable sights of New Delhi railway station- the noise of the screaming vendors, variety of unique co-passengers creating a blur, the hustle bustle of railway station, and alike. Indian railway is considered as the lifeline of India. In the fading lights I could see the stunning views blessed by nature, with rich vegetation and wide open landscapes. It was a treat to the eyes and soul.

It was an election 'season' in India. So I wasn't at all surprised to see people in our compartment indulged into the election gossip. Anyway, I found the whole discussion very interesting and hence joined them with whatever knowledge I had about the Indian politics. After a discussion of a couple of hours or more, one guy nearly jumped from his seat once he saw the ticket checker entering into the cabin. 'The AC (air-conditioner) is not working properly, could you please ask the responsible guys to fix it?', he almost screamed. The ticket checker barely smiled in response. He had a weird look to the guy as if he was an alien from a different galaxy. We just couldn't stop laughing.

We continued talking till mid night- politics, culture, technology, movie stuffs, philosophy and beyond. I have traveled by train in many countries, but the Indian experience is a unique one. No matter you are traveling alone or in a group, you won't feel bored (provided you don't mind mixing with people of different backgrounds). However, the atmosphere is radically opposite during the nights when nothing but the utter silence gives you company!

(The Masala Chai Train: source)

It was around 10 o'clock when the train stopped at Lucknow station. I got out of the train and looked around. It appeared that the station was like a shelter for homeless. People were all over the platform, many lying on the floor. I got in as the train was about to leave. I took my position on the upper berth. I tried hard but failed to sleep though. It was a reserved compartment yet one could find many passengers without seat reservations. Many were just resting on the floor. I recalled some of my experiences of traveling outside Asia. However, it's pretty unfair to compare the developed countries with the ground realities in India. When you visit a developed country, you often wonder how most of the people in India or Nepal (rather the south Asian countries) live under so many scarcities and inconveniences. Unpleasant smells, noisy atmosphere, unorganized slums, dirty cities, wandering beggars etc. tend to give you an awkward feeling of these poor countries.

But, there are definitely several good things about these countries. If you look with your heart, you will see plenty of beautiful things around. These places lack the so called modern facilities but the joy and sense of satisfaction in the eyes of the slum dwellers are beyond our common perception. They take joy in simple things. It's the place where strangers sit together to share the same meal like family members. The kids do not need any amusement park to be happy but what they need are some friends and some space they can run around. These are priceless things that you can't get in the so called advanced countries.

Our train was going full speed and I didn't realize when I fell asleep though it must be around 1 or 2 AM. It was around 6 o'clock in the morning when I woke up due to the noise made by the chai bala (tea seller). The spicy-sweet aroma of tea was just irresistible. I ordered for it and asked him to wait there for few minutes and rushed outside of the compartment to wash my face. I came back, took the cup of tea from the chai bala and gave him a 5 rupee coin (about 10 cents). The taste of tea was refreshing.

After a couple of hours (around 8 o'clock morning), the train reached to the Muzaffarpur station which was my destination. We got off the train. The journey was around 1000km long which took almost 14 hours. I looked at my fellow passengers who were waving hands. I came across them only few hours before but I thought I knew them all. One of them yelled, "take care, have a nice day!"

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Mukesh on July 11, 2009 at 2:18 AM said...

Dear Bhaiya,
Very nice article. When I was reading this post, I was feeling Delhi's hot wether and I was about to sweat. Thank god it was a small post and my clothes didn't get to wet completely. Nicely expressed. I will look forward reading some other interesting matters.

badri on July 11, 2009 at 10:17 AM said...

Very nice and thank you for the sharing..

pralad on July 11, 2009 at 12:39 PM said...

nikai ramro cha post good article

Sujan Sharma on July 11, 2009 at 4:34 PM said...

दिपेन्द्र जी! तपाँईको ब्लग को आधा भन्दा बढी भाग एउटा कालो लेयरले छोपेको देखिन्छ । आधा पढ्न मिल्दैन। हामी काहाँ बाट मात्र को अरुको बाट पनि त्यस्तै देखिन्छ ।यो समस्या धाइबा जी को ब्लगमा पनि देखिएको छ ।एकपटक हेर्नु होला ।

Dilip Acharya on July 11, 2009 at 5:09 PM said...

Yet another interesting travel diary. As half of your page is covered by a nagging image,I read you post in the feed. Yes, you can not compare the travelling experiences you have in this region with other part of the country, but there are also some bright sides, as you have pointed in this post.
It seems somebody played 'dirty game' with with the image file, you were using to enable "Back to top" function.

If you have installed that function as Html/Java element, removing that will solve this problem, otherwise you need to remove this image file manually:


Anonymous said...

Dear Sujan ji and Dilip ji, I heard that today the imageshack image hosting site was hijacked by a group of hackers who call themselves Anti-sec movement. Since some of the images on my blog are hosted at imageshak you might see a big black overlay image. I am now in the process of moving all the images to google servers. The site will return to normal in a little while. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Btw, Thanks for your suggestion for solving the problem.

Jotare Dhaiba on July 12, 2009 at 9:58 PM said...

So hot! You have filled that travel experience animately . I felt after reading your some post, you are lover of travelling and expert to present tour diary. As Dilip Dai Said there are also heavenly parts in that region. Next time we will hope to read your sweet expreence.

Thanks for sharing.

Now your blog is clear. I didn't face problem of image hack.

B.J. Dummali on July 13, 2009 at 12:08 AM said...

NIce article Deependra jee, keep it up.

India Tour on July 17, 2009 at 2:40 PM said...

thanks for sharing your 14 hours long, train related experience.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dhaiba ji and Dummali ji for finding the post interesting.

Davis on December 4, 2009 at 7:03 PM said...

Travel all over India and all the Cities and you will find yourself at 0 as there are so many beautiful places to cherish.


aruba vacation on January 12, 2011 at 2:45 PM said...

I was just flatten by your choice of the HEADLINE.
The article is to very good.
India is really beautiful and it will continue to give birth to the talented people like you.

Thanks for sharing.

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