Check out these tips for traveling by train in India.
The sun was turning red and I could see it through my window. I went to the door with a stable mind and a content heart and just sat on the floor to admire the few moments of the giant star peeking straight into my eyes.
For me, traveling in a train has always been much more than a hobby or a casual likeness. During my childhood, we had a trip to Varanasi in a sleeper train. As a child, I loved the entire process of going on the journey. May was an arrogant month for me in those days as I would be waiting anxiously for that day to come. Arriving at the New Delhi railway station would mean entering a different space altogether. Instead of people, I used to see thousands of stories dangling all over the station. Stories where someone is getting a new job at a new place, where some are rushing to sell their products, where many are running to catch the seemingly slow-moving train and perhaps the sagas of the countless misshapen beggars. Annually, sunset became our boarding time.
Once I got into college and fortunately became a little more observant and thoughtful, I started to take journeys any moment I could get a chance. I was even more ready to ride a train alone than going on a flight with my family. If you want to know India, traveling in sleeper trains is the best way to do that. The vibrant personalities you come across will just make you fall in love with life all over again. The epic random conversations, tea stallers sprinting to catch the ten rupee note, kids crying in the midnight but definitely is preferred over the gigantic snores of the elderly.
There is an inimitable feeling you get once you are inside the train. It is as if all your senses are finally working in tandem. The width of your vision becomes boundless as you come to an ultimatum this is the world! This is all, right in front of me. It overwhelms you, astonishes you and throws your thoughts in those corners of your mind which you thought you never had. Then sound, nothing short of a random music playing flawlessly since decades. The smell, of which many people have taunted me, made fun of me that how can I stand the smell of trains. I guess you must be a desperate train lover to overcome that.
Being on the waiting list also offers great little stories. It is almost understood in the sleeper trains that your seat will be shared by other people. This understanding goes countrywide in India. I had many chances to travel on the waiting list. On one occasion, I had a pleasure to talk to a solo traveller from Spain backpacking around the streets of India in local trains and sleeper classes. I asked him if he liked traveling in India. And to my surprise, he narrated some life changing experiences that he lived here. He was greatly fond of the history India has to offer to an outsider. He told me that he had been on Deccan Odyssey train, where he had a luxury train tour in India in the palace like moving castle. The Spaniard briefed me how his desire to roam India ignited as a freewill when he toured in Deccan Odyssey train. I then realized that life is nothing but an infinite stretch of our imagination which insanely enough is often the reality.
I am planning to enrich my train traveling experience further with some unusual deeds. I am planning to treat myself with a trip on a luggage train. Sleeper, generals, ACs or Deccan Odyssey train, each one of them tells a story of person’s life. For me, it tends to comfort me in a metaphysical state of mind supplying answers to questions that I never asked.
Find out more about Alina here she is a guest author and travel expert on India.