No. I didn’t do it intentionally. I would never do that! And yes, I was afraid of being caught. We all know what happens in India. No one really comes to check. More of often than not, no one checks tickets in General / Unreserved quota coaches. And secondly, there are millions of people who travel without tickets every day. Who all can you catch? Yeah, people like you and me, who are capable of paying the fine. So, if your stars are against you for some reason, you will be picked up from so many hundreds, travelling unethically, and be fined. That would definitely make the TC’s day. I was lucky today. Sunday evening and rains – why would any TC, in his right mind, sacrifice the comfort of his home to check tickets?
Anyway, the reason why I travelled ticketless. A colleague coming over from another place, bought my tickets too. But her train got stuck at a place (because of the sudden dust storm and rains) and my train left before she could reach.
Travelling in shuttle / Memo type of trains is quite an experience. Not that I like it. Most times, it has been comfortable. Not now, for sure. The journey was a good 2.5 hours journey. Plus, I was covered in dust and I felt sticky. I was dying to reach home and take a shower. We were 4 on one berth. I sat comfortably except that I couldn’t move at all. Plus, the old men around me were chatting most of the times. One of them, almost screaming making my right ear quite irritable.
The way was beautiful. It had stopped raining. The sun had set leaving shades of pink, purple and orange in the sky.
I hate Indian railway stations. The dirtiest places in the country. Show me ONE railway station which is atleast 50% clean. Baroda station, maybe. Surat station – horrible. Top the situation with rains and you can puke at the sights. 80% of the crowd isn’t exactly courteous. They are ill mannered, poor and bitter. They push you, touch you and walk like you don’t exist. I specially get irritated by people who walk like they have no particular destination to go to and walk like they are strolling in some pleasure park. Hello? Don’t you need to reach home and sleep? The mother son pair in front of me walk slowly in front of me and not in a straight line. I can’t go past them. They go left and they go right. And the impatient little guy jumps, with his dirty, wet shoes right on my foot. My Rocia sandals! I let out an ‘aah’ and the father hears. I push past them and several others – you have to be ill-mannered too, at time, in your own interest – and try to rush out as fast as I can.
Looked like half of Surat had to travel today. I can hardly walk fast. People sleeping on the floor (nothing unusual, really). People standing in the middle on the way doing nothing. People standing in big groups like they are in some 5 star hotel party. The try to avoid puddles, curse myself for wearing my Rocia sandals in the rains and curse everyone around me – the rickshaw walas who almost bump into you and make you scamper around in fright, the motor cyclists who honk their irritating horns so loudly that a vacuum gets created in your ear (yes, in only one ear). People who walk slowly like they have no where to go to.
I feel victorious when I get an auto after less than a 1 minute negotiation.
Must avoid rail travels in the rains, for sure.