Travelling alone from Jabalpur to Rajkot, which is 28 hour ride by train, and that too when your ticket is under RAC (you only have half of the seat) definitely leaves you with a lot of time!
And so, I was fully prepared to confront those 28 hours…I had a phone with two seasons of Lost, 3 movies, more than 1000 unsolved Kakuro and Sudoku puzzles, a fully charged 13000 mAh power bank, a charger, and quite a lot of songs, and of course a book on Sociology, which I knew I might not even open! And of course I planned on spending some quality time on whatsapp as it’s been long since I had a chat with many of my friends!
As the train started rolling, I arranged my luggage and stretched my legs on the seat (thankfully my co-passenger was supposed to board after 4-5 hours! Combination of heavy breakfast and nice air conditioning can make you sleep in minutes! But the problem with side lower berth is that anyone and everyone seem to have a license to come and sit there on the corners! And then with continuous movement of train and these bums…I mean their bums, within no time, they are the ones in comfortable position and by that time the high of heavy breakfast and air conditioning gets lost somewhere between cramped legs and shouting kids!
It didn’t take much time to realize that chatting in moving train can be a pain due to fluctuation in network. Well I still had a lot to do…I watched 2-3 episodes of Lost, and a movie, had my lunch, listened to few songs, solved 4 kakuro puzzles until my phone started screaming for mercy! After putting my phone on charging, I realized that Rajkot was still more than 20 hours away! It was a relief to have a charging point on my seat and a power bank at my disposal. With this very thought started the train of thoughts! To think of it…so much has changed over a period of time…!
Back in my school days…summer and winter vacations were the time to travel and train travel used to imply a reservation in sleeper class! At times when ticket did not get confirmed, travelling in general class was the alternate…although troublesome, but with a little persuasion and negotiation with the TT (or TC) it was still manageable! And now, even when the summers are yet to reach their peak, the thought of travelling in Sleeper is somehow scary…and in winters it’s definitely not an option as that would mean packing a blanket! Further, the concept of watching a movie or browsing internet during train journey was alien at that time. The only modes of killing time were chatting with actual people, eating peanuts, reading chacha choudhary and nagraj and maybe playing on handy videogame till the pencil cells lasted. Offcourse using rechargeable pencil cells was also not an option as there were no charging points in train! Also, one of the most important parts of pacing used to be selection of cassettes for Walkman! Now I don’t see nobody reading those comics or I don’t hear those monophonic sounds of clearing a stage! So much has changed!
But then, the kids still love jumping from one seat to another, and climbing to top berth is still a mission worth accomplishing for them. Still there are parents who give their piece of mind to those kids when they lose their peace of mind trying to keep a tab on movement of those kids! 😀 The wailing of these kids still resonates with the crying infants. Still there are people persuading and negotiating with TT for seats and ofcourse, I do have childhood memories of people first sitting at the corner and then slowly getting comfortable on my seat! People still get down at stations and bring back samosas and bread pakodas! And you can always find people standing near the door feeling the speed of train! So much is still the same!
Maybe things are still the same and it’s me who has changed with the journey of time and it’s this relative change which triggered this whole train of thoughts…or maybe it was just me getting bored!
Anyways! What matters is these thoughts have helped me kill three more hours and now it’s time for dinner and then I can continue watching Lost and playing kakuro! 😀