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.
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!
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.
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.
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!