A Second Train Journey

During my Surat visit, we had also gone visiting some places around Bharuch. On our return, we took a train from Bharuch back to Surat. We were in a Second Class Unreserved compartment. It was packed to more than twice its capacity. I didn’t got a place to sit, and so I came standing for the 60-minute ride, which eventually became close to 90 minutes. Abhishek was hoisted up on the upper berth along with his uncle, aunt and cousin. Bhavana squeezed herself onto a single seater next to someone already seated.

Standing there and looking around, I couldn’t but help think that this was a mini-India right in there. People of every age and from every class, caste, community were there.  And ‘adjusting’ without asking surnames.  This is a moderate, accepting India. This is an India that needs to ask for more, that deserves better. We need to more aspirational – perhaps that is easier said than done giving the reality of the situation across India. We are, for all practical purposes, still a poor and underdeveloped country.

Many of India’s ills cannot, unfortunately, be cured by efficient private enterprise. It needs a government that works and delivers. While there is hope that UPA 2 may do it, I am doubtful. India needs disruptive change. People who got us into this mess cannot be expected to pull us out of it.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.

7 thoughts on “A Second Train Journey”

  1. “India needs disruptive change” – so true. BJP must have fought the elections on the India shining platform again (“Bring the shine back” or something like that).

  2. I have traveled twice from Goa to Mumbai and Back in general compartment most of the time standing or sitting on floor (not on seats) for more 12-14 hours.

    Best is no one complains, no one demands more.

  3. Hi Rajesh,
    I am very very glad to hear that you actually took a second class compartment to travel 90 minutes in such heat. I see people around me (my relatives, friends) if they were in your place, would have complaint and fret only…

    i will pass on this post of yours to them to tell them that its ok to have money, but adjustment and not complaining always is also good…

  4. Rajesh,

    That is not ‘mini India’ …that is India.
    Shatabdi is mini-India.

    Every train has 4-6 unreserved compartments and the number of people travel in those always exceeds people traveling in reserved 14-18 compartments.

    Yesterday when you cribbed about Shatabdi I wanted to write about unreserved compartments….looks like you enjoyed the ” adjusting without asking surname” more than noisy Shatabdi.

  5. Hi Rajesh,

    That is not mini-India, that is the real India… Sitting in our fancy cars and going to new restaurants and reading INDIA shining and growing, etc we forget not everyone in India has been a part of that growth. Few millions have raised above poverty and without doubt the economic growth in the last few years has improved lives of millions but by no means we are anywhere close to a developed nation. Real India is thousands and thousands of people taking that evening local train from Churchgate/VT to Karjat/Vasai…. But good to hear about your travel experience.

  6. “Many of India’s ills cannot, unfortunately, be cured by efficient private enterprise. It needs a government that works and delivers. ”

    How true Rajesh…there are too many examples of private sector botching up as badly as the private sector. It all boils down to responsive and responsible leadership, public or private the damn thing should work.

    Once we all realise this we will roll up our sleeves and get this government to work. And fortunately, many governments are beginning to listen, it is our job to see that the right complaints reach them… and aloud.

    I guess that this is the right time for an activist citizen feedback led campaign towards better management and governance and you could be the one who could help harness it all. For a start, I guess it would be right to start small and sharp.

    Any ideas?

  7. I can’t view BJP videos. My PC runs on Windows XP and InternetExplorer 6. I can’t download to upgradethem. Please help.

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