• There are three types of people in the world, those who don't know what's happening, those who wonder what's happening and those on the streets that make things happen.

Oh no…not again!

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on October 20, 2012

17:00 The train came to a halt. I picked up my bags and rushed to my compartment. Before boarding, I read the reservation chart and breathe a sigh of relief when I see my name on that list. I knew my ticket was confirmed but my mind has been tuned into being stressed till I see the proof inked on that dreaded chart.Β  Next, I glance at the passenger names around my seat. I am going to be spending the next 28 hours of my life with them, and I like to be prepared for what is coming. The only column that interests me is the Age/Sex column. 82/M, 52/F, 55/M, 57/M, 46/F ; oh no…not again! None of my co-passengers belong to my age group. Why does this always happen to me! I look at my Kindle and can’t help think “Just the two of us.”

17:30: Train starts moving. I bid an emotional goodbye to my favorite city, not knowing when I will return.

18:00: I assume a quiet posture in my seat, eyes glued to my kindle, ears catching every sound wave from the surroundings. Three of my co-passengers are related. 82 year old father (I will refer to him as grandfather) of the 52 year old aunty who is married to the 55 year old uncle. In India, any lady more than 20 years your age is referred to as “aunty” and any man “uncle”.

18:15: Aunty starts slicing apples and passes them on to uncle and Grandfather. And then what I dread, she offers them to me. I courteously refuse but in India you know its not going to work. I soon had four slices of apple in my hand and one in my mouth. Honestly, these were the most delicious apples I had had in a long time. I knew what this meant, I was now obliged to spend the next 26 hours chit chatting with this family. I looked at my Kindle, “Goodbye, mon ami!”

19:00: Grandfather turns out to be the most interesting man. He was a retired Railways official and his postings across the country endowed him with great wisdom that comes with traveling and age. Fortunately, he loved talking and sharing this worldly wisdom. I was all ears.

20:00: The family unpacks its home made dinner and not surprisingly, I am offered their food. By now I am only too glad to accept the invitation. Fried potatoes in a red curry accompanied by Indian bread…heaven!

21:00: By now we have discussed the state of our nation more than the Cabinet ever has. The latest scandal involving the son-in-law of the country has been analyzed from every possible angle. Quality of railways food has been blasted in every sense possible. The danger Walmart poses to our entrepreneurs has been debated thoroughly. Best ways of investing savings have been pondered upon and almost all religious stereotypes existing in our country mentioned at least once.

22:00: We all wish each other a pleasant sleep and retire to our berths. I pick up my kindle and start reading “Business As Usual” by John Childress.

The next day is a repeat of exchange of gossips, food and jokes. In no time, I reach my destination and bid a grateful farewell to grandfather, uncle and aunty. Grateful for filling 28 hours of my life with such enriching information, wisdom and experience. Grateful for sharing their travels and teaching me a great lesson, “first impressions can be very deceiving indeed.” The next time I look at the reservation chart, I’ll look for an 82/M listing.

P.S: Highly recommend “Business As Usual” by John Childress. 5 stars!

SuperΒ  Pants lived up to their expectations yet again πŸ™‚

12 Responses to “Oh no…not again!”

  1. nyctanthesarbortristis said

    I look at my Kindle and can’t help think β€œJust the two of us.”

  2. This one is a nice incident-to be remembered..It often happens that some people are remembered throughout our lives ….An enriching experience

  3. I love to travel but 28 hours. I need to put this mind frame aside if I ever want to see parts of the world I dream of. Where where you going or returning from. Ohh and age should not be an requirement for good conversation. πŸ™‚

    • Raunak said

      the longest train ride I’ve endured is 60 hours! its the best way to see India πŸ™‚
      This time I was traveling from Pune to Delhi. You are so right about the age πŸ™‚

  4. I loved this story!
    I spent many days of my life, when I was still single, travelling round Italy by train and it is just the same – you get adopted by a huge family and fed for the whole journey. I learned Italian like that actually; I still have my “Italian note book” with dozens and dozens of different types of handwriting in it – all new words (and even verb conjugations!) very kindly written for my by strangers I chatted to on trains.
    I browsed through it recently and old memories came back of people I was lucky to spend a few hours with about 20 years ago!

    • Raunak said

      wow…didn’t know that Italians were so forthcoming as well. Thanks for sharing your lovely experience. The “Italian note book” is such a wonderful idea. I should maintain a log as well and have strangers scribble a few words on them.

      Am glad you like the post and thank you so much for enriching it with your story πŸ™‚

  5. So you were on the right spot eventually πŸ™‚

  6. soumyav said

    great to know you actually enjoyed the train journey! it was nice of you to share wth us the wonderful moments.

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