After a long time I am back to my world of writing. We successfully did our R2I. It took almost three months to accept the fact that we are back in our homeland. Many of my friends have asked me to share my experiences in India. So for a few months from now it is going to be about my first hand experience . We have a mixed feelings about our coming back. Lets wait and see how it is going to work out.
After coming to India we went to Chennai for a couple of days. We started from Tanjore to Chennai in Rockfort train. It was a night train. Since we had to book it in the last minute we got tickets in 3rd AC. The train leaves Tanjore at 8 P.M. My dad got us our dinner packed.. Since my son Rishi loves Egg parota (minced one) he got each one us a packet of the same. We got a bottle of mineral water too. Though the train would wait for 15 mins in Tanjore station everybody was running to get into it so that they could find place to keep their luggage . We also joined the race. Here started our race.We went into the train and kept our luggage under the seats and sat in our places. After the train started moving we started eating our dinner. The parota was yummy. Once we finished it we wanted to throw the trash. Near the washbasin there was something called trashcan which was already overflowing. I didnt feel like leaving the trash outside the can so I was standing there thinking what to do. An old man in his sixties came to my rescue.. He said , "You can throw it through the gap between the two compartments. It will fall on the track." Reluctantly I did it because I had no other choice. Then after washing my hands in the dirty washbasin I returned to my seat. After a while we decided to sleep. We were assigned the middle and the lower berths . I made the children sleep in the lower berth and my husband and me slept on the middle berths. After ten minutes my son started screaming. "Mama there are cockroaches in the seat." Hearing hin scream my daughter also got up. I took a news paper and brushed the cockroach away. I asked him to go to bed . He reluctantly laid down to sleep. After two minutes he started again. "Mamma there are more cockroaches. I can't sleep in this train." Then my daughter also started ,"Even I see many cockroaches crawling mama, I can't sleep too." They both sat with the heads bent because it was the middle berth. I got them down and made them to sit in my seat. They both were very scared that the whole night I was sitting with both of them resting their heads on my laps , while my husband was happily snoring. Atlast we reached Chennai the next morning.
After staying in Chennai for two days we had to return to Tanjore. This time we decided to travel in a day train. Since my husband had some work he stayed back. He came to drop us in the station along with my brother-in-law. My co-sister also joined us to Tanjore. They got us newspapers, books, titbits etc. we were waiting outside the train for the compartment to open. Meanwhile the stench was sooo strong from the train and tracks that we had to close our mouth and nose. My husband and children were complaining about the cleanliness and they wanted to go back to Singapore. I didn't complain because I didn't want to open my mouth and talk in that stench filled surrounding otherwise all the air will go into my mouth and fill my stomach. I felt like throwing up. I felt that back then when I was small the trains didn't stink so much. Does this mean that people were much cleaner those days or is it because of the growing population and their needs that you find so much dirtiness around everywhere? How can people survive in such poor hygienic conditions?? Do they have any nose to smell? My children couldn't take up the fowl smell that they refused to get into the train.
Now coming to the point, since it was a day train we could only sit and travel. I asked the kids to go inside and sit in the seat while I was standing outside. We were given only 2 seats and were asked to adjust and sit. The TTR told if the next two seats were vacant we could use them too. All this because of the last minute booking. After forcing them to go and sit Rishi went and sat inside with a book in his hand. I told Rishi to sit in his seat without moving orelse someone might occupy the seat. Initially he didn't want to sit there alone . Since I told him about someone else taking up the seat he became cautious. All this while he was sitting in one seat . Seeing the increasing crowd he understood the situation. Now he spread his legs and was occupying three seats so that no one else would come and sit. The thought of the dirty smell was off from his mind now. Occupying a seat became the top priority . I was watching all this from outside. Two men came and asked him to move and sit. They spoke in Tamil. Rishi replied to them in English saying he can't. Those two men couldn't understand English. They said "Yeh this boy is saying something in English I don't think we can make him understand. Let us move to the next compartment and see whether there are any seats available." Rishi didn't mind what they were saying but was sitting there with legs spread apart till we joined him. Then the train started to move. From this started my son's journey of "survival of the fittest".
I always felt that he was not smart enough to deal with the outside world. This train trip enlightened me that if there is a need he will waken up... India taught him the first lesson of survival. Our journey will continue hereafter .......Let us see how we try to fit in...