Have you ever travelled by the Indian railway?? I'm sure most of you at some point in your life have. It's a different experience huh
From the jostling crowds to the funny people you meet in the train.
Climb into the unreserved compartment by mistake and you're in for a surprise. It's the kill or be killed environment there. People trying to prove that they're tougher than you. Why would this be required in a train you might ask? To get a seat, ofcourse, would be the the answer. It's a battle of agilty, dexterity and might. Also slyness actually. If you are the meek mouse, you would never get a seat. Nor would the big lion. But if you are the willy fox, there might just be a chance. You have to wedge yourself into a seat between 4 other people hoping that one of them gets up before you. Or you have to slide half a buttock into the edge of the seat, again hoping that it makes the other guy uncomfortable enough to move on. And it's not only guys you are fighting against. It's girls too! Infact the girls are worse. A guy normally has a soft corner for girls and would give a girl a seat for curtousy sake. A girl is ruthless with guys and with girls. A girl would never give her seat to a guy, and never ever to another girl. Like the world can freeze over before a girl gives her seat to a girl. :D
Now comes the interesting part. The snack vendors!! I absolutely love eating snacks on trains. I mostly travel by rajdhani so the snacks are by irctc, but if you're travelling by a normal train and you're Indian which implies you can eat junk without your digestion going for a toss then you should definitely have the snacks. From the bhels to vada pav to local delicacies. GO FOR IT!! You will never get to taste real India except at roadside stalls and in train dabbas.
Travel by the ac compartment and you have the exact opposite. You have people who help other people get their seats. Who have no problem with you sitting with them if you are waiting for your seat. Everything is docile, everything is supremely polite. But that's where you meet the funny characters. Ofcourse you have the exceptions to the rule. You will find people who want to sit in a certain way, who have a problem sitting on a certain seat or better yet a certain side of the compartment. Mentally you feel like going 'say what!?' but then you will always find people who despise every other living soul around them. Then You have you chatty aunties. Certain ladies, mostly punjabi, can talk to anyone! It's simply amazing. And if you have two of them in your compartment??? Forget about your peace of mind.. Forget about your sleep.. Go find some earphones!
They can talk about anything in the whole wide world! I had this lady who talked to me for an hour about her daughter in law ( a favourite topic btw) and her arthritic left knee. And being the polite and well mannered guy that I am ( ha ha) I looked politely on and placed the well mannered ohhh's and aaaah's at the right points. :)
You meet a lot of interesting people on trains. Its every psychology students wet dream. Forget your Freud, forget your Jung. Just hop into a train!!