TIPS FOR TRACKY TRIP
Journey on dense and widespread Indian Railway network is affordable, quick and inevitable for all, whether you are Indian or an expat tourist, the journey on Indian Railways is something that one simply can’t elude. The sheer extent and spread of Indian Railways network can be seen in the fact that the Railways cover 69000 plus rapidly multiplying kilometers of track network. Further, the extent of this network is also reflected in a fact that it caters to a whopping 23 million plus passengers every day. To ensure smooth operations the Railways have divided itself into 17 different zones, with every zone having its own Zonal Head Quarter. And, if you happen to embark on a long distance train journey in India our tips may come certainly handy to make your ride more safe, comfortable and enjoyable. And as we demystify for you these TIPS FOR TRACKY TRIP; we are certain that they may come handy and shall enable you to relish those moments on track. So, here we go….
Indian Railways deserve an applause for have played a stellar role by handling the herculean task of ferrying stranded migrants to their destinations during the Covid 19 lockdown months. And, if you plan to embark on your rail journey anytime soon then safety becomes PARAMOUNT. We suggest that you pack in the following things depending on your overall journey duration:
I. SAFETY FIRST
1. FACE MASKS
Ensure that you pack in at-least 3-4 masks per person if your journey time is 24 plus hours and yes, wear it all the time. Washing the used masks can be a hassle while on the go, so we recommend that you maintain a plastic bag / big envelope to stock up the used masks. Wear the masks even when you retire at night to guard yourself against the aerosol assault.
2. SURFACE DISINFECTANTS
Although railways are executing due diligence by improving their overall hygiene protocols, yet we strongly recommend that you carry at least two big bottles of surface disinfectants. Spray it on the sleeping berth the moment you board your train during departure, the side bars, the window frames, washroom door knobs, basin taps and other frequently touched surfaces.
3. ANTI-BACTERIAL SOAP AND ALCOHOL BASED SANITIZER
Carry and use them at frequent intervals to wash and sanitize your hands. Additionally carry a strong anti-bacterial face wash / soap and wash your face at least thrice a day when on tracks.
4. Certified Vendors
We insist that you try and pack in maximum possible meals for your train journey and if that isn’t feasible then buy from certified vendors only and strictly steer clear from the vendors who board the compartment and sell you their snacks. They may look tempting but their hygiene is always a question. After all you definitely don’t wish to risk your health by any means while on the go… Try to pack in tidbit snacks to munch on to kill those unexpected hunger pangs during the journey.
5. Stay Hydrated
Simple yet one of the most compromised tip. While on the go remember to sip in small amount of water throughout the day even if it means those frequent restroom visits. It will help you naturally detoxify and rid yourself from the dehydration based fatigue and illnesses. Keep a sipper close by. Also, it is recommended that you carry a thermos bottle with some hot water. Hot water can also be easily availed during the journey and is a good medium to aid digestion and detoxify the body.
6. Secure Your Luggage
As far as possible PACK LIGHT, as baggage thefts and petty thieves are all around you; so better be safe than sorry. Avoid eating the food offered by co-passengers as it may contain sedatives, avoid using washrooms when the train is stationary, don’t display flashy gadgets / items in public, they belong to you and must stay with you, therefore keep them well secured in the bags near you. Did we mention securing your bags, so when you board the train, chain your luggage to the metallic chain holders dangling underneath your seat, a long chain will be helpful as it allows you to chain multiple bags together. Additionally, also secure the zippers on your luggage. Chains can be bought easily from vendors at the Railway stations.
II. BATHROOMS ON RAIL
Railways have a common bathroom for all and we recommend that you get up really early to avoid the bathroom queues just before the crowd starts. After all waiting when wanting to go isn’t really a pleasant thought right? We recommend that you use the toilets before 7.30 AM. It is also best to use squat down toilets rather than Western Styled one’s to make your task comparatively contact free. Hygiene levels of toilets may range from bearable to filthy. Be ready for some literal balancing act while using Indian style squat down toilets as the train rapidly chugs along.
If you are someone who detests noise and want a tranquil slumber to wake up fresh in the morning then don’t forget to pack in the sleeping bag liner, inflatable pillows, 2 blankets, towel rolls, ear plugs as trains accelerate at night and noise of engine and horn can be distracting. Carry eye masks if light distracts you.
IV. ANTICIPATE & BRACE UP FOR DELAYS
Technical glitches in some way or the other are a part and parcel of Indian Railways and for the same reason they (Indian Railways) have gained notoriety which is accepted as a norm. Expect delays and be prepared to deal with them by gearing yourself up. If waiting under the scorching tropical heat on the platform is’nt your thing then check for the facilities at the station like waiting rooms and lounges which are present at majority of Railway Stations in India. Do check for the charges, although majority of them charge reasonably. Grab a quick snack at railway cafeteria, pick up something to read up on at the wheeler or just settle down and be a spectator to the life at railway station.
V. NOCTURNALS LIGHT
Nothing can be more boring for a nocturnal creature aboard an night rail journey when majority of passengers switch off the lights and retire to bed as early as 9:00 pm. If you are one of them and are wondering what to do, then this tip may be super helpful for you. We suggest you carry a portable night lamp with an attachable clip so that you can silently continue with your reading without disturbing your co-passengers.
VII. DISCONNECT YOURSELF
Not literally, however if you are seeking solitude and wish to utilize the journey hours in silent self-introspection then staring outside the window and watching Indian countryside’s diverse landscapes unfolding and whizzing by is the best thing. Who knows that in the process your mind may be engulfed by some inspirational thought to be contemplated and acted upon as a panacea for some perennial issue in your life?
VIII. STACK UP ON ENTERTAINMENT
“Nothing to do” state when journeying on Indian railways can land you up in the ‘bore to the core’ state of mind. So, don’t forget to stack up on entertainment options to disconnect yourself with the usual cacophony and boredom associated with Rail Journeys. We suggest you carry following things:
1. Stacked Up Mobile Phone
We recommend that you load your Mobile Phone with movies, books, podcasts, music and many more. If you are someone who depends on mobile apps for entertainment then it might not be a good idea as these apps need Internet connectivity and you never know when your cellular network will ditch you while on tracks.
2. Good Book
Immersing yourself in a book mentally transports you in the author’s world and certainly enriches you as the train continues chugging ahead... Also, unperturbed on the go you may end up reading more than usual.
3. Power Bank, Charger and Earphones
Most of the trains in India now offer charge points near berth, however some still have one common area where you have to wait in a queue and charge up your phone at a common charging corner. So, as a backup we suggest that you carry with you the power bank for ensuring seamless entertainment stream from your phone.
IX. STROLL ON
If your journey is long and you plan to stay like a couch potato tied to your berth, where your only movement is trips to bathroom then expect body cramps… So, we recommend GET MOVING... walk from your compartment till the end of the train, watch unfolding’s in other compartments and see those areas of the train which you never knew existed before.
X. CAPTURE MOMENTS
Indian geography is diverse and varied and as your train traverses this beautiful topography it is worthwhile to capture this on your camera… We recommend you carry your camera and don’t worry if you don’t have one, your cellphone camera is enough…
Happy Train Travel Folks!!!!