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!
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!"