I’ve always hated Indian railway stations. Every time I have to take the train (which is always when all other options are opted out) I suffer anxiety, panic attacks, suffocation, sweating, and my pulse rate, heartbeat and breathing pattern becomes irregular.
Its not just one particular station; its every station located anywhere in India. Every station has a peculiar smell. People gathered under the radius of the slow curling fans, tea stalls selling fried delicacies, overcrowded benches with mostly women and children while all the men are usually found leaning on the edge of the platform looking for the train (as if that will bring the train any faster), a miniature shop selling magazines, someone’s radio playing (old classics, cricket commentary or latest cabaret songs) people swaying handkerchiefs and dupattas due to hot weather, non-stop announcements of change of platforms, stray dogs looking for some shade, coolies loaded with luggage brisk walking their way ahead of their luggage owners, and how can I forget the beggars on the platform.
When I have to travel by train I always reach the station on time so that I don’t have to wait and I never go without an escort (who drops me off to my seat)…yes am that meticulous about it. The minute I get to my seat I just want the train to start the journey so that I can get some peace. Other thing I can’t stand is once the train is in motion people lean over the gates of the train. I can’t see that and I don’t allow anyone to do that (if someone is travelling with me). I understand its quite a site to see the train when it turns but still its no logic to risk your life standing there. Neither do I like people to get out of the train to fetch something when it stops at a remote station. I actually time them as if we all are in some marathon.
Going to the station will always send a shiver to my spine any given day. Ironically, I do enjoy the journey and I prefer taking the train to a domestic flight because I do feel it’s the real way to travel. It’s just getting to and from the train that is the dreadful part. I have tried many ways to calm myself before going to the station but all fails the minute I step in the railway station and see the crowd. I guess this is something I have to live with for the rest of my life. And no I won’t stop travelling by train ever. Heaven help me!