Kindness on the road.
We meet many people on the road, both locals and travelers alike who help us in time of need or distress without expecting a return. Last week of every month I bring you stories from travelers who have experienced kindness on the road and like to share and spread it for the love of travel.
This month’s story has come from Prasad N P of India who takes us to a train journey.
Over to Prasad N P.
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Nobody has been a more avid traveler than Bapu Gandhi himself. When he came back from South Africa he decided to travel the length and breadth of our great nation. His chosen mode of travel? The Great Indian Railways.
While I am not Gandhi, I too love traveling by trains and there are many reasons for the same. The long journeys the bonhomie you develop with fellow passengers and the India you see from the train window can never be seen from a plane window.
My most cherished journeys have been in train. After marriage, my first travel with my wife was on a train to Vaishno Devi. You literally meet India in our trains, and I will never forget the kindness of strangers in trains during my journeys. From the waiter in Tinsukhiya express during a college trip to Sikkim who gave us extra Laddus in our thali to families carrying extra-large Tiffin box to feed strangers they meet on trains.
How many times you have heard these words?
“Arey Don’t worry Bhai sahib we have extra, we always pack a little extra.”.
Yes, that is the spirit of our desi Travelers, they are always ready for any eventuality as I learned in one of my journeys.
I was traveling from Mumbai to Delhi in one of the longest train journeys on the route. The Mumbai Punjab Mail that takes one of the longest routes to reach Delhi and takes you through the heartland of India in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
Me and my friend were roaming around Baroda, Mumbai, Lonavala Khandala for more than 10 days and were totally exhausted by the time we boarded the train to go back home. When we started from Delhi about 10 days back our tickets were in Rajdhani and we did not pack any blankets as in AC trains you are provided with blankets. But in our return journey, we were in a non AC compartment but we did not feel the need of a blanket as Amchi Mumbai was at a balmy 32 degree Celsius even in December.
But as I mentioned we have been roaming in Maharastra and Gujarat for last ten days and were totally exhausted. Suddenly my body gave way to all the exertion and I felt weakness that I could not even climb to the upper birth that was allocated to me. My friend gave me a crosin but the fever will not be subsidized even after taking the medicine.
As we entered Madhya Pradesh temperature dropped suddenly and as we approached evening even after closing the window, bone-chilling drought kept on hitting me. I started wearing my T-shirts one over another but none of this helped.
Soon it was evening and as the train was chugging towards Delhi with each passing Kilometer it was getting colder. We cursed ourselves for not bringing any blankets as the fever and cold air from the window was making me dizzy now and I was shivering.
Just as we were wondering what to do, one of the Sardarji who was in our compartment but in a different section, noticed me shivering and asked
“What happened to you ? You don’t seem to be OK “
I hardly had the energy to explain to him that I don’t have a blanket, but the wise Sardar jee immediately understood the story.
“OK, you boys must have gone to Bombay to meet friends and no blanket, this is the problem with you youngsters”, he scolded us with the authority of a fatherly figure. But then just as he has appeared he vanished again, leaving me wondering what the fuss was about.
But about 10 minutes later Sardarjee appeared again, with two blankets in his hands.
He gave those blankets to us and told us. I went to everybody on the train and asked if anybody has a spare blanket. So one of the family had spare blankets they are in seat number 45, you can return the blankets in the morning. Now you boys should sleep.
As soon as I entered the cozy blanket with the warmth of strangers I started feeling better. I don’t know when I slept but I got up in the morning when my friend announced, “ Chalo get up now we are about to reach Delhi, let us return the blanket also”
I was feeling much better and went to the seat number 45 to return the blanket, only to find the same Sardarjee sitting there along with the family. In order to save me from cold and fever he has simply given his blanket to me while he slept in just his Shawl.
I could not believe somebody will be so kind that too for total strangers. Later on, as we chatted before the train reached Delhi, we learned that they were carrying one extra blanket, but as we were two friends he gave us two blankets one for each of us.
I have never met such kind folks ever, but then Travel is something that opens your eyes to the kindness of strangers. Bapu Gandhi was right when he said, “if you want to know India, travel by trains.”
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Prasad NP is based in Gurugram, NCR and is a passionate blogger. He primarily writes on family travel, automobile, lifestyle and photography at his blog Desi Traveler. Reading his blogs always teaches us something. A good human being with a great sense of humor.
If you have been helped by someone during your travels and want to share your story with the world, feel free to connect with me in comments section.