“WHAT AM I DOING HERE?” The words went on and on in my head. These 5 words stung my head like a Scorpio would do, if you happen to accidentally step on its tail. I was growing weary, I was scared and I was outright aghast with the situation I was in. A dream trip was turning into an outlandish nightmare.
Over the last weekend, I was with my sister and brother sitting in a compartment of Indian passenger train- Goa Express. My brother, along with @Srinistuff and me had left Mumbai, since 7 in the morning. We were up since 5 AM and were really excited about driving down to Pune, that’s were the central point of our trip was located. We had to pick my sister and her friend from the venue and head directly to Dudhsagar Falls. Dudhsagar falls, is three tiered beautiful white waterfall, nestled in the jungles on the border of Karnataka and Goa. Since there’s no limit to the water that gushes out from some unknown point on one of the mountains, it has also earned its knickname “Sea of Milk’, literally translated to Dudhsagar in Hindi. Such notorious the falls are, that it’s always finds its place in “must visit places” in India. There was therefore, no way that we were going to miss it.
Coming back to the point, we embarked on our train journey to Dudhsagar, which was 2- 3 hours late. Already feeling tired, we some how boarded the train, just to be disappointed by its one hour extra pit stop that it took in Pune. Nevertheless, after the start we did, we were jolted by a rude surprise on the train. It was not going WHAT I expected it to be!
It was going to be one of the most important turning points of my life. I was going to start hating what I loved the most. The “chug-chug” of the romantic train journey was turning into a lecherous, scary and unsafe memory. It was the time, I was going to take a decision. I AM NOT GOING TO TRAVEL AGAIN IN INDIAN TRAIN. Again, period. No questions asked.
Though, I had booked the ticket one month in advance, I was in for a bitter experience. Apparently, it is a norm on Goa Express for demon looking, lecherous and lewd men to walk straight into your ‘reserved compartment’ without a ticket! They walked in hoards, and at every station. Apparently, at one point in time, we had 5000 extra passengers, mostly men on the train, without a reservation ticket. Skimpily clad, sheepish smiles on the face, horrid eyes that seemed to be penetrating you outright. They came, they sat on our ‘reserved seats’ and they didn’t regret a bit. We sat there, helpless, cursing the cops posted on the trains who would simply do nothing!
And these men took advantage of it, given that there are only limited cops in the train and it was nearly impossible for them to man the entire train between themselves.
I sat on my seat, completely shocked. Words refused to come out of my mouth and I couldn’t believe what was happening around me. There were dirty looks being given, as if crappy bows pierced my body, throwing me into pieces. Plus, I was traveling with my kid sister. There was no way, I could afford any ill-fate. At the same point, I was also traveling with 2 men in my family. But there presence thwarted me. The news about assaults against women, violence and life threatening acts against women, I heard and read in newspapers and TV Channels, wouldn’t let me sleep.
It was at this particular moment, I thought- “I want to travel, this is the adventurous life I want to live.” But here I was now, having second thoughts of the life I wanted to be, I chose for me. I somehow completed the journey, I visited the falls, I took a train to experience the same thing again and I am back home now.
Only to be relived to be back to a life, which initially I wished to escape!