16 January 2013

Getting into the local adventure: Train Journey

Though its already past midnight here in Jaipur, I thought i must finish up this post before i hit my fluffy pillow. Just the other day, in my previous post on Respect your Limitation, i was hoping for chances to explore the boundaries of our limitation. And, today, it happened.

From Agra going to Jaipur, we had our train tickets all nicely arranged ( in the upper class, where there's relatively clean cabin with meal served). Skipping our breakfast, arrived at the Agra train station even before the sunrises; to know that our scheduled train was delayed for 7 hours! Due to the heavy fog, neither being helpful with the traffic nor the temperature.

We then managed to squeeze in some space on the bench ( standing by the singaporean spirit of kiasu), behind a wall at least to keep the wind away from us. There was a Dutch guy beside us alone ( Flo), and ended up we started chatted and trying to kill time. While some local kids started to get curious about the only 3 foreigners in the station, doing stunts to attract our attention.

Instead of the 7 hours wait, we grabbed another tickets over the counter for the next earliest train. Again, the time was re- scheduled umpteenth time, till i was even afraid to look at the time board. It was like a short burst of hope, and burst into disappointment. And finally, all in all, we wait 6 hours in total in the station, battling the cold.

My finger tips got numb, then my feet got numb, and the numbness ran up my ankles and calves. We didn't have much water ( to avoid the public/ train toilet as much as we could), and just eating bananas and more bananas.
The good thing was, we met Flo, we shared our travel stories and that really help to give one another some mental support.

When the train finally arrived, our tickets were valid only for the local cabin! The local cabin, not even the usual indians will opt for it. Its very male domineering, in that cabin; with at least Flo's presence, i did feel safer. We were very luckily to get seats once we board the train.

Opposite us were a bunch of local old men, in very humble clothes, frail and thin. One started to talk to us, requesting us to take a photo of him. I, being really on a high alert, and fighting mode, rejected his request. And still, he said a bunch of stuff in Hindi, and again asking for camera.

Once again, i didn't dare to even take out any gadget from my bag, feeling a little unsafe, i raised my voice and said, " photo nahii! photo nahii!" ( no photo! no photo!). Flo, took out his camera and satisfy his request.
Seriously, i didn't know that i would actually flare up, but because am scared!

Through out the 4 hours journey, in my mind, i thought i probably would not have survive through the long ride. We were sharing seat, and in a very awkward, uncomfortable, one- sided butt numbing position; My neck- shoulders were really sore from the heavy bag pack. The weird stench from the toilet, the frequent sight of the dirty toilet bowl...phew!

A mantra was running in my head, " Oh gosh, i think i'm not going to pull through this... am going to break down soon." i didn't know how long my physical body can take it.

Together with the random disturbance from the old man, am keeping my mind really busy--- by continuously mental encouraging myself to stay on, and also keeping alert of any potential harassment nearing us.
Babaji simply just lay against Flo's body, making himself really at home!
I gathered whatever hindi stuff i learnt for the passed months right at the tip on my tongue. And i did also learn a couple of mean & bad words in hindi... just in case i may need it!
Interestingly, i probably have to thank the old man trying to disturb us, that i did actually manage to converse with him in very basic hindi. And till he stopped his silly act.

Really counting my blessings, every other second, we did meet some really nice local in the same cabin to help us around.

As a home- grown Singaporean, i'm really surprise that we made through all these. For once, at any one time, i thought i'm really going to break my limit. My face was powdered with dust, hair was entangled with dust... so much that i felt like am a dust too. I'd no complains, in exchanged for a really rare opportunity to expand my horizon and limitation.
Its not too bad after all!

There was this old man on the train, who would walked over to our cabin, with a tambourine- like instrument and sang " Rama Rama Sat" every other stopover. And he sort of insisted us to sing with him, looking at us and said " its good it good... Rama Rama Sat!". After many trip over to our cabin, we did sing the last round with him when our station was approaching. Till now, i've no idea why he was doing it, and what was it about? 
Anyone who knows it, please share and enlightened us:)!

We cleaned up, and had a really good dinner treat for ourselves!

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