Train travel by lady

This post is dedicated to my wife. It is not that women have never travelled by train. Neither is it that women have not travelled by second class sleeper.
So what makes it noteworthy or special when my wife has travelled by train? The primary reason being she travelled in DBRG Vivek Express. She also boarded the train at start point and got down at last station. Which means she was on the train from kanyakumari to Dibrugarh. The actual duration of travel is 80hrs15mins. With delay the journey was for 83hrs.
To my knowledge no woman has so far travelled this length and this duration. On the 5th day when we land in Dibrugarh she was 1st lady who sat through the entire distance.

One, we did not pack any food. It is technically not possible to pack for long duration except biscuits and breads. All consumption was to be from pantry car and vendors. The stomach needs to take the influx of food both spicy and non-spicy.

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The other aspect being the cooking oil. While at home we use sunflower oil during the travel it varies from ginglee oil to coconut oil to mustard oil. And you get fresh fruits like litchi!

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Two, water. Imagine for clean water we keep buying bottles of water and you end up spending money and wasting plastic. With varying water and degree of contamination the confidence would not be there to consume water from train station platform. One will be the will power to consume water from tap and brave the after effects. Another is a simple buy of purifier water bottle.

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Thanks to this for building the confidence. It has got filter on top and can be used to filter 500lts.

Third, restroom. For people who are sensitive to smell it takes a lot to hold your breath and use the train toilet. A/C compartments get cleaned frequently same is not the case with second class! It does not just smell shit but also the beedi (Indian cigar) and cigarettes and gutka.

Fourth, spending time. Chat for some time, play for some time, read for some time. What else to do? Shopping! Yes actually yes. Shop bedsheets, sarees, mobile chargers, cosmetics, fancy items. Fortunately wife does not splurge on shopping it is good to browse through.

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Fifth, no shower! Imagine 5days without bath! Unless you manage to wipe yourself with a wet cloth. It’s a big deal. The weather changes from humid, to hot, to hot, to humid, to rains and dirt/dust all over.
Sixth, staring/stalking. A girl in train beyond a age that men calculate are bound to get starrrred at. Guys would cross compartments to stare. Some would even stalk by following where ever you go. The dress you wear has no relevance, even if you wrap yourself completely. That is a talent men have to see through how many layers of cloth a woman wears.

Overcoming all these, braving through conditions, wife did really great. She got down all smiles. Just shows train journeys are something not to be afraid off!

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Digboi – Oil oil

In 1887 after years of research the Britishers got people into action of “dig boy dig” for oil. Post digging within hundreds of feet they stuck oil. And then came extraction of wax and petrochemical. From Burmah Oil Company to Assam Oil to Indian Oil Corporation.

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The 1st oil well dried by 1903…

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Exploration in nearby areas and getting oil has not stopped. All this and more can be learnt at the museum started and maintained by IOC. It is titled “The Digboi Story”. If you are in these parts of India it is important to make a visit here to learn our history.

Near to the museum is” War Cemetery “.

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This is in memory of all those who laid down their lives defending against Japanese during 2nd World War.
For one I was amazed by how beautifully it has been maintained. Few minutes of silence.

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Just out of curiosity took few photos of goat!

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Margherita is a tea garden about 14kms from digboi which we did not visit due to rains!

Kanyakumari — Travel Tale

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After a bit of roaming around yesterday today was a hectic day of sightseeing. I do not think I have covered so many touristic places in a city a day in all my travel put together.
1. Morning post breakfast was a short stop at Triveni Sangam. Normally during sunrise or sunset it is easy to observe.

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Then we headed to jetty to go to Vivekananda rock memorial. 34/- per person but the queue was quite long. After 3-4 rounds waiting we got into the boat.
There are only two boats which ply. Only max of 140 passengers per boat. Life jackets are provided. Positive difference after incidents of boat capsizing in other places.

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2. Vivekananda rock memorial
The history is that Vivekananda swam to this rock and meditated. Later this memorial was built. If you go inside the mediation room it is very peaceful disturbed by sounds of people.
Lot of tourists are interested in marking places so they tend to not enjoy the moment. Stand at each sections and click photos. Thanks to smartphone today even a kid can take a photo.

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What is annoying is the way people push or jump queue to get into the jetty from shore and from memorial.
3. Lighthouse
Open all days between 3:00pm – 5:00pm this should be in the schedule. Climb up 11 stories approximately and you would have a beautiful view of the sea.

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4. Dattatreya Temple (Shiva Brahma Vishnu)
They came from Maharashtra and set up this temple here. It has no architecture similarity to other temples in South India. The main poojary would offer and call to eat. It is up to you to either politely decline or accept the offer. There are no hidden agendas.

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5. Vattakottai Fort
This was used not just by Kings who built it but also by Britishers. This Fort was used to store armaments and also as prison.
During King time there was a tunnel which would lead to palace in nagerc

oil a distance of 45kms. This was because the King did not go through main roads. This was closed by Britishers.
The shore sand is unspoilt. The depth is also high. That explains lack of tourists to this beach.

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6. Sri Sai Baba
Next on the list was shirdi Sai baba temple. It is very calm and by now you could get dehydrated. There is a coconut vendor. Also water tap which provides purified water.
7. Suchindrum Temple
Next on the list is suchindrum temple. It is very old temple with lots of carving. To see through the complete carvings it would take one close to 2-3hrs.
Shiva Brahma Vishnu the main deity. Other being Hanuman big size and kaala bhairava.
If we change our mindset of temple visit we would be able to appreciate the architecture and work gone into it.

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8. Sunset view point
About 1.5kms from Gandhi Mandapam is this view point. We were late!

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9. Mayapuri Wax Museum.
10. Guganateshwar Temple
We skipped 9,10 since we saw Wax Museum previous day. We also had to freshen up for epic journey!

4 – 10 are places covered in half a day tour package. If you go in group by the travel agent bus the cost is Rs.150/- per person. It is worth to take it if you don’t know what to do for 4hrs!
If you have own vehicle go around by yourself.

83hrs to destination

83hrs after we left Kanyakumari we reached the destination Dibrugarh! Was an exciting journey with loads of eating and chatting and watching.
Today morning I woke up to brightness only to see the time was 5:00 in the morning! Sun rises by 4:30am!

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After brief halt here and there at one station we managed to get cups of tea and sweet bun.
When the train halted at Dibrugarh station there were hardly many people getting down. We were the only two who travelled the entire distance.

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After getting down and few photos later called up Hotel Liya Castle who said they would send a vehicle to pick us up! That was surprise!

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While waiting for the pick up vehicle at the station we asked for tea and they had only coffee.

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It was not tough to survive 5days on the train! Keep eating, keep drinking water, keep money ready for transgenders, keep power bank for charging mobile, walk across compartments.

72hrs on a train

Some time back after close to 70hrs we crossed Guwahati. While the train wears deserted look there are still some left. Even the pantry car closed down at Guwahati!

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What we see now is in contrast to what has been happening throughout the day. With noise around I woke up and checked my mobile for time. I was left shaking my head in disbelief. It was 4:00am and not just that, there was a guy selling sarees and some people bargaining! This would not happen except in our beautiful country.
I pulled the window shutter since it was getting cold and woke up 3hrs later. There was call out for “chai” “coffee” and thus started another day of numerous cups of tea and coffee.

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The town was Malda. Not to feel bad and let tummy complain tea/coffee was given a break with channa and sweets and bhel puri!

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The weather was most pleasant. It did not rain, there was no screeching sunshine and it was not damn cold. It was enjoyable to sit and take deep breaths.
In-between we bargained and bought some books and sarees.

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Some things to eat.

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Soon we were at Siliguri. This is a very important junction. This is the junction which connect’s North-East India with Rest of India. The train lines go cross and cross.
Once we crossed this junction it was sheer beauty. Tea shrubs being grown everywhere, hills faraway and cloudy skies! It was an experience.

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After more than 24hrs sitting in same compartment today co-passengers talked and joked and everyone seemed to be in good mood.
Unfortunately all is not well. This is about people living next to railway line.

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We said bye to many co-passengers who have got out at different stations. Due to cloudy scenarios no sunset photo!

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The train is delayed by 2+hrs as of now. Another few more hours to our destination!

48hrs on train journey

Today morning woke up to call of “chai” “coffee” and people moving around. The time was 5:30am and the sun was coming. The dawn was good.

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We entered Visakhapatnam station with that view. Happily gulped down cups of tea and coffee!
The day though was not all that smooth. It was hot and dry day! Not to disappoint was constant movement of vendors. Some selling sarees, shells & others, bedsheets, gutka, cigarettes, chains too (gold painted). Some to repair bags & zips, some mobile display magnifier. Not to leave out numerous vendors for food. One happened to be my breakfast too!

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Many people do come asking for money in different forms and shape. Couple of them clean the compartment floor.

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It is not same with all.

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No train journey in India can be complete without encounter with transgenders clapping and demanding money. They board in group at different stations. Paying them cannot be avoided.

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Since there is pantry in the train food is something not to be worried. There are other vendors too who are less costlier than pantry food. The vegetarian meal is 120/-.
After entering Into Orissa

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we crossed the huge Chilka Lake!
What surprised me was the wifi at bubhaneshwar station powered by Google The sunset was like usual a beauty to admire!!

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When we crossed Orissa into West Bengal the weather changed! It was no more hot rather there were streak of lightning filled by brief rain. Like below photo captured

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It is now more than 48hrs we are on this train. It is not hot now.
Good night and more tomorrow.

Survived 24hrs

The train left kanyakumari entered Kerala with stoppages at Trivandrum, ernakulam, thrichur, palakkad. Exited from Kerala back to TamilNadu! After jolarpet and katpadi entered andhra!
In some time we would cross Vijayawada. Tomorrow morning we may be in Orissa!

“Meals on wheels” the in-house pantry ensures we don’t go without food! The food does taste good except for oil!
We got other vendors selling loads of stuff!
Never to disappoint you are the numerous transgenders clapping and lifting saree for money.

Some sleep on the floor some on the berth! Dirty toilets, not cleaned at renigunta station too!

The experience is not yet over!

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The above is train for transporting manufactured cars across cities.