I am back home (just for a few days) and am relishing it even though it's been just a few hours since I arrived here. The train was late by just 20 minutes (amazing by my standards for a 26 hr journey) and I calmly walked home, since my house is just 10 min walk from Platform No. 10 of the Secunderabad Railway Station. Unfortunately, the train arrived on Platform No. 1 today, so it was a 10-platform extra walk for me and my non-beer belly.
I happened to travel in the sleeper class of AP Express for two reasons. First, it is relatively inexpensive as compared to the 3-Tier AC and other higher AC Classes. Being a rainy season, I expected a cool climate and some nice breeze to go with the already hurling speed of the train. Second, it's recession and I have decided to cut down on everything that I could cut down, with traveling being the first. No AC travel unless really necessary. Afterall, if I am comfortable enough in non-AC, then why waste money on AC just because "I can afford it"?
I also remembered my sir, Rajesh Aithal (IIML), telling us that sleeper class gives us a true picture of India, both inside and outside the train. I can agree with him fully on that aspect. It is only in the Sleeper class that one can get a good picture of life in India, especially in a 26-hour journey!
Since I was not in the window seat, I did not have the liberty of looking out much, but I noticed something peculiar in my compartment. There were 2 huge contingents/families in my compartment. From what I gathered in my eavesdropping their conversations (I rarely talk in trains and hence just listen to conversations when I am not hooked onto my Ipod), one family was a Muslim family from Hyderabad and the other was a Hindu family from Secunderabad.
It was funny to see that both families operated in the same fashion. I found so many similarities that I was left feeling "Damn, society is the same irrespective of religions!". Both families has a head, who was around 65 years of age. They were very active in keeping the law and order in the family, ensuring the family and its luggage are safe and sound. The families had 2 sub-elders - one having two brothers and the other having a brother and a sister, who came with their respective families. Kids were a plenty, with each family having 2 sons and a daughter each.
They occupied adjecent berths in the same compartment, taking around 12 seats each. The family behavioural patterns were all too similar in everything - they had food together as a family, with the food sourced directly from the Pantry Car; the children were overly enthusiastic and making different noises all around; the women all grouped together for general chatting and playing small games with the kids; the men discussing sports and politics; the head of the family just resting when needed and actively moving around the compartment at the remaining times.
It occured to me that family patterns are similar for a similar size of the family. It does not matter which religion or which area the family belongs too - a big family functions as a similar entity. I never realized it until now, and I can assure you that it was an eye opener for me.
Well, lucky for me the train was not more than 20 minutes late (which is quite surprising, since I always happen to be on the train which comes late). Life is good!!!
Ciao till my next post.