So I arrive at Ajmer station just after 5am. There are hundreds of people sleeping on the floor, stairs and platforms. My train is brand new, a yellow and green colour it looks nice, something I have never said about a train in India. The reason I post about this is because it truly was a new experience to me. Every train journey seems to differ from the next.
Inside the carriage, it looks like a plane, three seats to the left and three to the right. The seats are clean. We are given free chi by a man in a red uniform. It’s confusingly free! He later on brings me a newspaper ‘The Times’, a bottle of water and a plane style breakfast. All free. So my train ticket of 200R includes a 7 hour journey plus free stuff? Impressive for less than £2.50!
Less impressive was the city of Rerwi. Along the tracks are mountains of rubbish, men urinating, children playing in it and women sifting through the dirt for recyclable materials. There’s miles of it. Centimetres from the track are people’s homes, shacks made from cloth, sticks and plastic. People actually live next to the track, no wall or fence, just people, families, living on the tracks in filth. Human excrement and sewage smells fill the air. I’m saddened and shocked by the sights. I feel guilty as I read my complimentary newspaper on a nice new train going to Delhi. Spending a week in Pushkar has been lovely, lots of cool people, lazy days, nice food and the reality of India’s poverty hidden away. Maybe this journey is getting me ready for the reality of city life. The closer we get to Delhi the stronger the smell of sewage and excrement gets. The smell reminds me of Mumbai, maybe a little worse.
Reading The Times I come across what looks like the dating section. In fact it’s a section known as the matrimonial. People selling thaw lives for marriage, not just dating. Names are included and the sections split into caste and jobs. Wages are even discussed. Expectations of the wife are detailed and the family background displayed. Wow. No Messing around, no dating crap, just straight up marriage. Nice.
Arriving at Hazrat Nizamuddin station 5 minutes early was a blessing. I have exactly 1 hour to locate and get on the 12459 to Amritsar. I escaped the station to the usual tout invasion. I needed a tuk tuk quick, I haggled from 350R down to 200R whilst practising my Hindi. Delhi seemed a lot cooler than Pushkar and a mist had fallen on the city. Was this pollution or just the weather? The traffic was heavy but I made it with 30 minutes to spare.
On entering the station someone stopped me and asked for my ticket, he said that this wasn’t a ticket and I would need to go to the office to exchange it. I smelt a scam. I told him this ticket was OK as I had come from Pushkar using the same ticket. He pointed to another man who sent me to the ticket office. The two men vanished into the crowd. They were scammers trying to send me to a fake office to extort money. Wise head on my shoulders I continued through the metal detectors and tried to find my platform. After pacing the full length of the 16 platform foot bridge twice I realised my train number was not up on the electronic boards. The person who changes the electronic signage hasn’t been doing his job properly so locating the platform and the correct carriage to sit in proved interesting.
Sitting in the seat behind my actual designated seat, I am entertained by the usual child beggars performing tricks, blind men singing and tapping there sticks on the floor, chi wallahs and biriyani wallahs. This train was the train service I’m used to. Dirty, packed full of people arguing over who sits where and the smell of stale urine. The variation of wallahs usually differ depending on the train and the area of India you are in. All the wallahs and beggars passenger by one by one. The Hirass then decide to make a move up my carriage. The Hirass are either gays, hamaphrodites or transsexuals. They appear as men dressed as women. For a small donation they bless your penis, a blessing which Indians believe will give them healthy kids who do not resemble the Hirass. However, a non payment will result in a curse being put on your future children.
I saw two Hirass laughing and working the carriage. Men go quiet and look for 10R notes, no facial expression. As the Hirass get money they fold the money and clasp it in their hands like a fan. At this point. I made a conscious decision to not pay money. I knew a curse may be placed on my creation weapon but am I really going to believe a curse given to me by a man dressed as a woman? ‘Jog on fella’ is what I want to tell them but I resist. As they get closer it is obvious that the fat one with one hand missing is going to target me. His make up ridiculous, he smiles and talks in Hindi touching my forehead. I smile and plead ignorance. He’s not budging. It’s awkward but I stand my ground. The man next to me says he wants a donation I have change. I say ‘no rupees’. The Hirass reaches to my trousers and touches my pocket for my wallet before he goes to grab the area inhabited by my genitals. Easy big boy, you just crossed that line. I removed his hand, he clapped a few times and moved on reluctantly. I believe this was my curse. At this point in time I notice the males on the train staring at me, the look of terror covering their faces. They genuinely think my offspring will be cursed. If I was to give money to beggars it would be to the kids or the blind dudes, not a tranny who reckons they have magic powers that can affect the outcome of my future children.
I love train journeys in India.