Monday, November 11, 2013

Train Ride in India, Secunderabad to Guntur, 2011

The ride: 24th June 2011

During 2 years of my working stay in India, I always wanted to venture train rides in India. When a short working assignment was given to me in June 2011, a month after my arrival on working visa passport, I was truly overjoyed to ride a smaller parts out of 115,000 km length of railway line built all over India. It was a short journey to reach a project site in Vijayawada from our headquarters in Hyderabad. The distance between 2 populated cities is approximately 275 km.

With the train ticket in my hand and a camera safe in my bag pack, I was so ready to experience the adventurous journey as soon as I reached the Secunderabad Railway Station, seen in below photo. An evening before, I was telling everyone in the office the details that I'm going to capture during the ride. The secretary purchased a seat ticket at air-conditioned class 2 carrier. The journey will takes about 2 - 3 hours only. 

My face started to frown when the smell (not the scenery) was not what I expected. The shits like smell hits my nose when we entered the platform. I was wondering what was that? where it was coming from? I hold my nostrils as not to keep my spirits down. When I was about to step into the carrier, I looked down onto the tracks beneath. It was a fresh shits, strongly smells, visible right down on the track. Only Heaven knows how shocked I was. Nobody forewarned me what to expect there, at the station. How did Shahrukh Khan able to sing and dance as if he was enjoying a fresh weather smells in his film?? 

Once inside the carrier, I dare not move anywhere due to the shock that I just encountered. Later I was told that it was too expensive for the Indian Railway to put up a toilet facilities in all the stations, though efforts has been made since 2002 for a clean trains. Hence, man and woman will take turn to do their business, "there" at the edge of the track border. Railways were first introduced in India in 1853 from Bombay to Thane. It takes time for the Indian Railways to upgrade the train facilities as what we have in Malaysia. In fact, when I was travelling from Butterworth to Bangkok I saw the same thing (i.e. toilets on the tracks". Both Malaysia and Thailand are upgrading their railway system at present with the hope that 1 day, all the train will have proper toilet sucking system like most of in urban area.

Back to my mission of capturing the beautiful rural view scenery with my camera. The window panel of the class 2 air-conditioned is a bullet proof. It was another disappointment as the result of my photo from inside the train is like the above photo. On the positive note, I like the reading culture in India. Most of the locals reads a lot. How impressive. I had my opportunity to have few shots at one of the small station when the train stops to let passengers get in and get off. 

At the same stop, I saw how the passengers break the rule by simply crossing the track to the other sides of the rail line. This dangerous act is recorded in below photo.

Guntur train station, written in local Telegu was captured in below photo.

On 27th June 2011, we returned to Hyderabad via night train, again from Guntur station. The night view at the train station was something that I looked forward. A lot of them are simply sleeping on the floor with and without a mat. It was a bliss to see how peaceful they are in their deep sleep ignoring the loud sounds of locomotive bells. 

This is how the sleeping berth of class 2 air-conditioned looks like. It was not bad for a good night sleep though mine was disturbed all the way till we safely reached Hyderabad the next morning. Sadly that I do not had anymore opportunity nor the courage, except for a short 100 km distance ride from Pune to Daund in August that year during another assignment in Maharashtra state.

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