May 18, 2011

The Jansewa Express: A Spectacle at any Station

This is from my trip to back home from the University for the summer break. And I was waiting there for my train- Shaan-E- Punjab. It was 20 minutes late. I have boarded train from Rajpura many times. And mostly it’s in the evening. I mostly get to see the Jansewa Express at that time. And when I hear it coming from the announcer, I find a place that is airy. I love travelling by rail. The travelling time is surely lesser, more comfortable than bus and cheaper, and at the same time entertaining seeing so many different people around. But this train: Jansewa Express is quite a spectacle to see.

The train travels from Amritsar to Saharsa through Saharanpur which also means that it does not pass through Delhi. The route ends in Uttar Pradesh. The story of the people is like going to a foreign country to earn. These people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh come to Punjab for better jobs and they do work real hard. This is not enough to get them a reserved seat. They prefer to go on a normal ticket which is around 70% of the normal ticket and half of a sleeper berth. But what one wonders is how do they manage to travel so much on a single go without proper place to sleep? It is simply 'will'.

I get to see this train usually while waiting for my train. This time it was in morning. I would normally have left by that time if my train was not late. Apart from the train being so unhygienic, smelling of sweat and urinals, it is in the way people board that train that is serious and amusing at the same time. There are no reservation seats in this train. Everyone can sit in this train. There might not be any check in this train either and I doubt if they even clean it.

(not my click)
About the people boarding the train, they belong to poor class. The train is their lifeline and a cheap means to go home. There can’t be any means at this price and at the same speed. All the boogies are of the general type.  The train is almost always packed with people standing on one foot over each other. Adding to the misery, they are all sweating in 35 degrees temperature without proper clothes on. Most of them are just wearing vests most of the time. Now you can imagine how they manage to continue like that for a whole journey through the night. They have to sleep but I can’t imagine how!

And now is what I saw on the station- boarding of the train. The people are so crazy to get on it that they want to cling to it by any means. I am sure if ‘Fevicol’ was strong enough, they would have pasted themselves on it. They don’t mind hanging outside nor do they mind entering in the latrines through the toilet windows. They have just one aim- To get in at any cost.  Had the route not been electrified, they would surely have got on top of the train. So if people are all over the place, how do they ever manage to piss when there’s an urge. People are already in the toilets due to shortage of space. Maybe they do it in their presence. But then what about the women?

There’s only one way to know and I’d never like to know how they manage ‘everything’ because that means one has to travel in it and that surely is a bad option. Well, anyhow you can surely board that train from the same station at 10.50 am. and see the new kind of people and how they live in completely different circumstances.

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