Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Riding the trains in India is a unique experience. The interactions between people while jostling for space would be interpreted from a western point of view as just plain rude. People glare stony-eyed at each other, shaking their heads and speaking harshly as they hold seats for friends or family. However, as soon as the train starts moving, the general mood switches to one of pure pleasantness. No one seems to bear a grudge, they just settle into the space they have managed to secure and make the most of it. Conversations and friendships are struck up for the duration of the ride, food is shared out, chai is bought for neighbors, babies are passed from lap to lap. This atmosphere makes for pleasant rides even when five are squeezed on a bench for three, people are crammed in the aisles, and people sit and sleep on the luggage racks above.

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