Sketch by Deva
Sketch by Deva

I have come across quite a few posts on train travels, incidents and the likes, but nothing could give you the experience of travelling in a suburban train’s Ladies compartment.

I am such a lazy person that I seldom get to catch the Ladies special train in the morning. So it is one of these 4 compartments in a general train that I have to be. And everyday gives you interesting people and new experiences. You just have to be seated and observe.

Now, did I just say seated? Sorry. The time when I start is when thousand other Chennaiites start to work, hence standing with some breathing space is itself considered luxury. I sometimes wonder if we should have the elevator signs for the number of persons capacity, here too.

To add to the annoyance are those ladies who sit…. i repeat, sit in the entrances. Yes, they are travelling all the way from some remote part of Chennai, they are old, they have children, they are eating… yes the reasons are acceptable at times. But lady, when the rest of the crowd is busy finding place to even keep one foot, you can’t just sit there not budge even a bit.

When someone in public plays random songs on their mobile speaker, don’t you sometimes feel like telling them, “Excuse me, they have invented something called earphones just for this purpose, we are really not interested in listening to songs now, thank you” !? Well, when a group of women fish out their books and start singing hyms together, invariably louder than the song that you are listening on your earphones, you cant suggest that alternative either.

Then there are these hawkers selling fruits to flowers to passport covers and what not. Believe me they have a special attachment to the ladies compartment. Especially the gypsy girls who come with a wire-moulded-into-a-stand full of accessories are worth a mention. They might look dirty, but if you notice closely, you will know they have taken pains to try new hairdos, flashy skirts (though patched) and so many colors on them that would make the Hilary Swank in the National Park scene of P.S. I Love You look dull.

Forget what we mean by “rail sneham” in general, some of the friendships developed between these daily commuters are a bond for eternity. It is nice to know you can help each other out holding seats or SMSing when the train is in the previous station. There are aunties who diligently reserve a bunch of their daughter’s wedding invitation for these train friends. Such important are certain friendships. Worst case, there is at least a company to talk to through the journey.

– Until next,
Vid 🙂