“But as I write this, so far away from there, from notes which now seem artificial and colourless, I find it hard to say what impressed me most.” Ernesto Che Guevara on his retelling of his visit to the Inca empire Cuzco during his travels.
It’s true. Travels seem to fade so quickly once you return home, mixing into big melting pots of memories. Even though India, for me, was full distinct and clear experiences, most of which impressed me tremendously, the trains – especially waiting for them – made a disproportionately big impact.
This is us, Marieke and I, waiting at the station in Agra, for our severely delayed ride to Jaiselmer. It was 4 A.M. We waited for 11 hours and 32 minutes; sleeping, eating, chatting among the beggars, rats and railway employees. The ride, once it started, lasted for nearly 18 hours. We missed our connecting train in Jodhpur where spent a similar night on the floor, culminating in a delay of nearly a day and half.
Indian Railways, abbreviated as IR, is the state-owned railway company of India. It owns and operates most of the country’s rail transport, and is one of the largest and busiest rail networks in the world, transporting over 18 million passengers and more than 2 million tonnes of freight daily. The railways traverse the length and breadth of the country, covering 6,909 stations over a total route length of more than 63,327 kilometres (39,350 mi).
Times of India reports today that 45 trains have been canceled while 42 others were rescheduled due to heavy fog. As the country lies beneath a dense blanket commuters are forced to just sit and wait. Approximately 123 trains were running late, some delayed by over 20 hours, while total of 62 trains were reported to have been delayed by more than 10 hours.
Our train was late because, as told to us at 5 A.M, it had taken a wrong turn. In a country the size of India, that’s a big problem. However, not as big as fog it seems.