Tuesday, 20 December 2016

You Don’t Need A Train Ticket To Go To An Indian Railway Station

“The real beauty of this country is only seen through a train journey…”
“If you want to see the real India, travel in a train…” 
“All you need is a general trail ticket in India to experience its true essence…”

We’ve all heard these statements from our white friends who come to explore India in the most Indian way possible. You will also find those Indian vagabonds who are avid travellers and amateur photographers who echo such thoughts. But we all know the reality behind all this. No matter how much we romanticise the Indian Railways, we all know it’s a cheap, dirty, risky, and an extremely slow mode of travel option. Period.

There is a side of this story that probably deserves a little more credit. The side that revolves around the Indian Railway Stations and not within the trains themselves. The side which does not require you to travel in the cheapest train to experience life. The side that we all experience yet we don’t appreciate.

What I’m referring to is the small ecosystem that exists around all railway stations in India. An ecosystem that caters to all kinds of people. An ecosystem that thrives from people who are not actually travellers. An ecosystem which everyone is aware of but nobody really notices.

From going to the station on a Saturday night at 2 in the morning after a night out of partying at a 5-star for a quick and cheap meal to eating seekh kababs at Comesum on a Wednesday night after a long day at work, we’ve all experienced this at one time or the other in our lives. When it comes to food late at night, there’s only very few places that come close to giving you an experience like an Indian Railway Station would.

The Indian Railway Stations are also the ideal locations for some introspection for us humans. I’m not suggesting anything on the lines (no pun intended) of going to the tracks and giving up your life. Rather I am talking about just buying a platform ticket and just sitting around in the middle of the night and watching trains pass by. Seeing poor people sleeping on the floor covered in their kambhals is an added advantage.

Of course, the Indian Railway Stations are also home to a few travellers as well. The travellers that are travelling between cities on road and are looking for a night halt at their chosen locations. It’s a known fact that some of the cheapest hotels are always around railway stations and the railway stations are also some of the most well connected spots in any city or town.

So, no matter what you reason be, no matter what time of the day, it is not always necessary to be a train traveller to visit a railway station. All you need is the location of the nearest railway station and the spirit of an explorer to experience the world around Indian Railway Stations.