Train journeys

It is only on train journeys that you meet such a diverse group of people. Local dialects so very pronounced. Especially when cocooned in the cosy, if not, claustrophobic AC tiers. If people around you are as hygienic as you are, the journey is indeed okay. Because in India, train journeys can never be nice. They can just be okay or fine. From the moment you get onto the train you wait to get off it ASAP.

What’s even more awkward about a train journey is the fact that you are caught looking so disheveled that you wouldn’t want to be buried looking that way. Why would anyone want a complete stranger to know how they look immediately after they wake up in the morning? It makes something so intimate, public. It is even more awkward when you are surrounded by members of the opposite sex.

Actually, doesn’t matter whether it is a man or a woman. I just don’t want complete strangers to know how I look in the morning. I feel vulnerable and exposed.

As it happens, after spending an hour or so, and giving each other surreptitious looks, people start talking to each other. And no discussion is complete without politics. I hear the Modi fans emphatically support his train ticket price hike. Although they agree that ‘Brashtachar’ can never be ended, they believe ‘Achche din ane wale hai’ and that all Modi needs is a little time since congress wallahs have emptied the treasury.

Once that is done, we discuss Telangana. Apparently, smaller states lead to better governance. And then corruption and power cuts take the centre stage. A congress wallah apparently needs a total budget of 40 crores to stand for an MP seat. Well, truly BJP sweep eh?!

Corruption and atrocities against women have surely led to the resounding demise of congress in India. What it will do to recover the support and confidence of people is to be seen and also to be seen is what the BJP does after a decisive mandate. Hordes of questions on development. Although Modi talks of inclusive development, will it truly be inclusive?

To see a common pan eating old man of UP talk with sudden vigour was so fascinating. He was in deep slumber till the men started an enthusiastic discussion on politics. Loots have apparently become the tradition in India. Any communal riot is followed by loots which lead to irrecoverable losses. So BJP is the shining beacon of hope, according to the old man and with that statement he signed off and went back to his sleep.


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