Tuesday, June 20, 2017

India : The Train Ride

The first thing that came up to my mind when I was thinking and planning to go to India was their trains. It is maybe because every time I watch a Hindi film, there is always a scene in train station, sometimes even dancing in and on a top of train(if I remember it correctly). So actually there wasn't much of a planning, I kinda just bought a one-way flight ticket to Kochi and applied for a visa (it cost around RM180) , packed my stuff and just go. Believe me, it was one hell of a trip. 

Just arrived at Cochin International Airport

Which way to Kochi? 
We went with a group of 9 including myself, 3 girls and the rest were the clueless boys. I think only Bashir had the slight idea where should we go and what should we do during our time in India. The trip mainly was to attend Kavin's wedding in Erode. Spend 2 days there and continue our journey to southern part of India. Kavin is our friend that we knew through hiking and wall climbing activities. He is working in Malaysia for quite some time now. We took AirAsia flight from KLIA2 on 7th of July last year at 6am straight to Kochi. I can't remember how long was the flight but I do remember we arrived in Cochin International Airport around 7.30am local time. First thing we did was to get a simcard with an internet connection. Yeah it is necessary nowadays. We bought the Airtel simcard with 3GB data that cost us INR500. And then to avoid taxi scam we walked about 300metres outside the airport to find us some breakfast and slight cheaper taxi fares.

Light breakfast after a long flight 

We got ourselves a taxi to go to train station. This was where it all begins. The hassle,the smell and confusion lol. I can't remember the name of the train station but it took us about an hour and half to reach there from airport, mostly because the traffic jam not because of the distance. We then bought a ticket each to Erode. The train ticket was so cheap because we bought the lowest class fare. Yeah we purposely did that, to assimilate with the locals lol. While waiting, we had breakfast some more at a "canteen" by the train station. Oh only after that we knew you can't smoke cigarettes in public places in India. That breakfast combo had my stomach aching all the way to Erode.

"Balik kampung" feeling



Then, the journey begins. We boarded the train to Erode with different kind of feelings, didn't know what to expect and what not. Luckily we all got seats the moment we boarded the train. The smell wasn't so bad compared to metro in Egypt. We were all so excited enough said. The locals were friendly they were trying to make a conversation with us, even mostly they started up using their language (that I assume was Tamil) maybe because we kinda look like them. Same thing happened when I was in Philippine. When we told them we are not from around here, they assumed we were from different part of india haha. Until finally we explained we were from Malaysia, they laughed and wanted to converse more.

Bashir tried to explain that we are not from India 

The 3 stooges with an annoyed uncle

The train stopped several times at train station and about 3 times in the middle of nowhere. Everytime the train stops at train station there will be people selling foods and snacks through the window. It was cool. We bought some snacks (murukku, idli, vadey). Some of them went into the train to sell their stuffs. An hour after the train departed from the first train station, the train started to fill up with humans (I actually expected some animals also) and it became crowded real fast. Some of us even climbed up to the bag compartment to sit and lie there. Nobody even bothered. We actually did that after we saw some locals climbed up first. I really thought there will be people on the top of the train like I saw in Bollywood movies but there were none. Later that day I asked Kavin about that and he said only on northern part of India they still doing that kind of stuff. I don't know if it is for real but I believe him.


A local he is Pato

Another one Napek 


Another interesting thing, when the train stopped in the middle of nowhere some hopped off the train to inhale fresh air and some to smoke. Very little actually smoke and very little also did I know most of them smoke but they didn't have cigarettes. Without knowing that fact, my friends and I started lighting up cigarettes while enjoying the view. All of sudden, about 10 young men came at us and ask for a cigarettes. At first we didn't want to give any but they kept coming at us and begged. So we did give to some of them. The best part was they really appreciated it and kept thanking us, and they also shared the cigarettes among them. One cigarettes shared among 4 people like that. Yeah sharing is caring. It was nice actually but after that whenever the train stops, they came at us and asked for more. Then we just pretended to sleep. 


Moving train


We finally arrived in Erode around dusk. We hopped off the train at Erode Junction. We took a cab to Kavin's house and was welcomed with the best Dosa (we call it "tosai" in Malaysia) in the world. I can assure you that. Freshly made by his mom and sisters with the coconut gravy, an awesome combination. I ate more than 5 I think. Later that night we checked in to the nearest hotel and straight away to sleep because the next day we gonna discover every little inch of Erode town.



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