I wrote this series in 2005 about a train ride to and from Surat – done on the same day:
Recently, I took a train from Mumbai to Surat (a distance of 250 kilometres) and back. It was a day trip. I spent nine hours for the two legs of the journey. Ordinarily, I would have travelled in either first class or air-conditioned chair car. But since this was a trip done at short notice, the only confirmed tickets I got were in second class. Considering that most of my travel is by air, these train rides in packed second class compartments were a very different experience. I let the mind roam as I sat in the train. I had my writing book, mobile and iPod for company. This Tech Talk is as much about the train journeys as it is about the thoughts that crossed my mind during the travel.
…Every once in a while, I like to put myself in different situations. The train was going to be one such experience. So, I wasn’t too disappointed that I did not get first-class or chair car tickets. Had I got those tickets, the train ride would have been more like a plane ride. I would have taken a few books to read or perhaps even my laptop, and immersed myself in that for the entire journey. But given that I was going to be sitting in a packed second class compartment, even though I did have a few magazines and a book, I didn’t get to them. I was fascinated by what I saw and with the thoughts that crossed my mind.