75% of the railway infrastructure that exists today was built by the British dudes and it has been half a century since they left. Talk about rapid progress. In a research done to estimate the total delay in trains over a year, it was established that India proudly topped the list with around 2 years. India beat Japan by miles who had a measly 40 seconds to their credit. In your face Japs!
Railways has been a vital lifeline for the Indian Junta and the Indian train has been an integral part of my life. The diversity in a train is almost completely representative of the whole of India.
AC first class - The rich but complete fools who pay 2000 bucks for an overnight journey when flights cost ~3000.
AC 2 Tier/ AC 3 Tier: The regular upper middle class middle aged blokes who need a comfortable journey
Sleeper Class: The smart middle middle class who promptly book train tickets for the rest of their life in advance
General compartment - The "men" who hop on to just any train that would take them to their destination, Beggars, Dogs, Chickens, College students who forget to book tickets, cockroaches, hawkers, peanut men, puffed rice dudes, musicians who flap the wooden blocks for "Tujhe dekha to yeh jaana" song, which I regard as the National Railway anthem.
Another interesting addition to the general compartment is the strong agile man who "throws in the towel" . The Indian version of this phrase is ironically different from the western interpretation of "giving up". It means that a towel thrown into a moving train is a guaranteed seat. No disputes shall arise upon the sighting of a towel on a seat. If thou embarketh on to an empty compartment and see towels placed, thou shalln't covet those seats. This form of seat reservation can extend up to 6 with the presence of 1 kid and 1 towel who can represent the entire family.
Last but not the least,we have the eunuchs who can walk in and walk out of trains molesting men, women in that order without legally offending anyone.
The arrival of a eunuch on a train can be detected with the sound of clapping hands. A "decent" eunuch will talk to you and declare you a King(Raaja) and ask you for money. If you don't give it, he/she will simply say your wife will go to the dogs or worse, your dick will become like a toothpick. If you're the kind who is accustomed to verbal abuses you're fine. An "indecent" eunuch's middle name is determination. He/she shall fondly fondle your cheeks(not just the ones on your face) with their hands and threaten to pull up their skirts if you don't give money.
The toilets are clearly for people who meditate or swimmers who've practiced holding their breath. Certain trains like Rapthisagar express have toilets with inexplicable levels of stinking. Legend has it that a man named kakkaa kaaka once entered the toilet, did his business inside the Rapthisagar toilet holding a cover to collect the poop. Then he wanted to dispose it through the window and so he flung it. It accidentally hit the fan and contributed to Rapthisagar's eternal stench. Legend also has it that the westerners later borrowed this concept to frame the famous "Shit hits the fan" phrase.
The train door is the perfect canvas for budding
All said and done, train journeys are fun and a typical train journey during college days used to consist of a wide range of activities between Madras and Vellore.
Lalu Prasad Yadav, arguably India's best Railway minister gave these lines before the start of his speech:
Sab kah rahe hain humne gazab kaam kiya hai,
Karoron ka munafa har ek shaam diya hai,
Phal salon yeh ab dega, paudha jo lagaya hai,
Sewa ka, samarpan ka, har farz nibhaya hai.