KOooooooo koOOOOOOOO Jug jug jug……..This sound I have been hearing since childhood. Travelling in the train has been always exciting. I have travelled in every kind of compartment of the train. Let me explain it to you, how are they.
It’s the messiest compartment, where you do not have Air condition and because of cheaper ticket most of labor class travels in this compartment. People are allowed to smoke and smell the armpits of each other. There is dust and extreme cold in winters.
It’s the class where you will find mostly middle class families, it is same as economy class except it has air condition and it is pretty clean. It is costlier than the economy class.
This compartment has seating arrangement like airplanes, but seats are bigger than airplane’s. Here you will find television running with some old Hollywood movie and you are also provided with Head Phones. Ticket is of course costlier than Lower AC
If you don’t want anyone to disturb you with your family then you should travel in this compartment. Here you find separate rooms of two, four and six seats with attached washroom. It has the most expensive ticket.
I was always scared of travelling in the train when I was a kid, because of the high sound of train, my mom always put cotton in my ears to make me calm. Despite the noise I kept travelling in the train. The washroom of train was always the scariest place. I did not eat and drink when I traveled in the train to avoid washroom. I was always scared of the hole in the commode, from where you could see the railway track. When I sat on it, I could feel the speed of train, by the noise of tires running on the track and the wind that you felt from that hole. I held the safety handle so tight that I did not want to fall in the hole and I never knew that the shitting was that horrible. I heard people telling about how they fell in washroom and how they lost cell phones and money which fell from their pockets to hole.
The other scariest part about the train was, when I had to sleep on the highest birth. The birth is about 5 feet higher than the floor and I was always scared, what if I fell while sleeping and that happened actually with my brother.
My brother was travelling from interior Sindh to Karachi; it was extreme cold night. He was sleeping on the birth of AC sleeper in the dark room. Suddenly a cry was heard, the light turned on, a man was lying face down on the floor of train. Other passengers helped him to get up and he was slightly bleeding from chin. Every one suggested him to get off from train, on the next station, to get medical first aid and so he did. The next station was of the small town which was not very developed. He got off and train left him. He found a doctor and he took him to a room in very dark. The dark room had only one bulb which was lighting on the chair. He sat on the chair and doctor started stitching his chin. My brother could feel the rusted needle which was not sharp enough to pass from skin, so doctor had stitch it like he was stitching a carpet. The next train came, had only economy class only and was over flowing with passengers. My brother could not find any seat hence he had to sit on his bag, in the aisle and cover his head with shawl.
The other joy of travelling in the train is to get socialize, though I have never tried to but I always heard passengers talking about social issues with each other and if there were religious people, they made sure to make you pious before you stepped out of train. I once, had experience to sit with a classical singer, so I had to hear his voice till I reached my destination. There is a variety of people that you will get to see in lower AC. At one side there would be war between passengers on seat, at some corner an individual would be staring at some good looking lady, there would be men who would not had slept whole night to sleep in the train, some baby crying, a sales man selling food and cold drinks and mother scolding her kids.
It has been long time that I have not travelled in the train because of its pathetic condition and scheduling but still there is a huge population which travels on it and stands in long line to get the ticket. I really like what an author wrote in the book of Urdu literature about the importance of time by giving example of railway station that he went thousand times on railway station, he saw people coming on station, he saw people going off from station, he saw colors and joy of people, the bell rang, the train went, where did the colors go? Where did the joy go? Though he never realized the story behind the station, that it plays the role of this world, the people who came, were the humans who born, the people who went were the humans who die and all the colors and joy are with people. Like the train comes and go on time and we come in this world and go on time. When we are born there is happiness, joy and when we die there is sadness same as the railway station.