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Published: August 30th 2017
Geo: 19.8853, 75.3197
I know I have mentioned traveling on the train system here before but the other day we took a train trip that made all the rest seem like pleasant Sunday drives. Due to the fact we had left booking our tickets to Udaipur (where we currently are) from Goa via Aurangabad a bit late we had to take whatever seats where available. In India you have a choice of what level of comfort you want and this depends on how much you want to pay. Obviously the majority of commuters take "general class" its the cheapest, no frills, no reserve seats section. From there you can go to "sleeper class" this is compartments with 3 bunks either side of the small box, a passage and 2 bunks along the side, then it goes up to 3 AC which is the same lay out as sleeper class but with air con and curtains and then finally 2 AC which has 2 bunks on either side of the compartment and instead of curtains it sometimes has a door and air con. The time of day we are traveling and availability usually dictates what class of ticket we choose. This time we had little choice it was either "general" or "sleeper", I have witnessed the passengers getting onto general class and to be honest I don't think I have it in me to treat other people with such disregard that I am willing to push, shove and literally walk over them just to get a seat on a train but that's exactly what you have to be prepared to do. We chose "sleeper class", this meant we had a reserved bunk each, being a night train we thought we could get some sleep even if it wasn't air conditioned. Alarm bells started to ring as soon as the train pulled into the station, hoards of people gathered around the entrance doors to all the carriage's, each carriage is designed to accommodate roughly between 70 and 90 people, there must have been at least that many at each entrance door either end of each carriage. Indians have not adopted the queuing system where by you wait patiently until its your turn, Indians prefer the system where you push past everybody else in the hope that you get what you want and stuff the rest. This was the system employed by everybody who wanted to get onto the train, it didn't seem to matter that there where people trying to get off the train, the ones wanting to get on didn't embrace the logic of " if we let these people off then maybe there will be enough space for us to get on" they just wanted on, at one stage an old man with a walking stick was prevented from getting out of the carriage until he got so angry and upset that he started to threaten people with his stick and eventually, reluctantly people moved ever so slightly to let him off, the void created by his departure was automatically filled with about 10 new bodies sucked into the vortex like some kind of human black hole. So for us to get on the train we had to join the scrum, fully loaded with our back packs we had to charge our way in. On entering the carriage we had to step over the bodies of sleeping, yes sleeping ( how that is possible with all this going on about you I cant understand) people on the filthy steel floor that is the entrance to the train and the walkway/ doorway to the toilets, if I refer back to a previous blog then these people were sleeping in "Satan's armpit". We eventually found our bunks, put our packs on them and waited to see what would happen next. People, people and more people crammed onto this train, it soon became obvious that there was far more people than there was seating or sleeping room and once the train was underway even more people from the general class carriage came in because there was no room for them in there. I sat on my bunk and watched in amazement as people crammed themselves into every available space, bunks were shared by up to 4 people ( a bunk is about the size of a single camping mattress and by any stretch of the imagination is not designed for more than 1 person) people slid themselves under the lowest bunk which is about 300mm off the ground along the filth covered floor to sleep, others just laid down in the isles making it almost impossible for anybody to move. At on stage I spotted a cockroach who had no doubt been evicted from his putrid corner by a human passenger walking about checking every nook and cranny trying to find a place to settle and I swear I could see the frustration on his face because no matter where he turned and no matter how small and disgusting the area he tried to get into was he couldn't because it was already filled with a human body part, eventually he climbed onto somebodies bag exhausted and dejected, he couldn't compete. From my bunk looking down the sight of people writhing, pushing and shoving attempting to claim a small space for themselves reminded me of bacteria in a petri dish. Needless to say I didnt get much sleep that night in "sleeper class".
Tot: 2.602s; Tpl: 0.04s; cc: 13; qc: 50; dbt: 0.0475s; 2; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
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