To Madhurai, From Alleppey in a General Dibba

Most of the pics were taken by, who else, Ishwari

July 5/6: Wow the real and full fledged feeling of the general dibba (compartment) in the Indian rail was experienced in this 11 hour partly adventurous, partly torturous journey. The train arrived at the dot but with all general dibbas filled to their capacity and far beyond. It was impossible to board the train from the last compartment (general dibbas are either at the front or the rear end of the train). Then we ran towards the front one. To make things worse, it was pouring and the general dibba was far from the shade. We reached the door only to see a massive crowd inside. No place to put a leg. It was a do or die situation. I jumped over a man’s leg and forced myself inside like a hammer. It worked. I paved a small but crucial way for my travel mates.

Once we were inside the dibba, the struggle to find place for our legs began. There were all sorts of people. A couple with their infant child quietly sleeping in the seat. There were migrant workers heading for Trivendrum, the capital of Kerala. Others were family getting back to home apparently after not getting a sleeper class ticket. It was a collage of people of many colors, backgrounds, purposes and destinations. Most of them got off at Trivendrum from where we got seats to sit. It was indeed a huge relief to our knees as we were badly feeling them.

Three hours of standing felt like three years in Tihar jail.

But the real difficulty was yet to come. The desire to sleep, provide our bodies a nice rest was so intense that we felt like we had been shifted to one cell of the jail from other instead of being released. The human desire: the more facility it gets the more it seeks.

Now the description might sound like a horrible stint at a warehouse but it wasn’t that bad in fact. In the hindsight I feel good about the journey and think that it was a great idea to travel in that compartment for that many hours in that route. It was a great learning experience which is what travelings are for me.

The day in Alleppey was amazing thanks to the backwater boating we did.