Travelling in an Indian train is an experience in itself; primarily because of the amusing and myriad characters you meet on the Indian train journey.

Those who take long journeys would certainly know this. Observe them closely and you will get personalities that will stay with you for life.  Here is a list then of 10 distinct and quirky characters that you are almost certain to come across on an Indian train journey.

The Overgenerous Aunty – an Indian train journey’s most common sight:

She wants to stuff every single morsel of food that she has in her massive tiffin box down your throat.  You simply can’t say no to her as she has all the makings of a domineering Hindi film ‘maa’.

The foodie

“Beta, have this parantha and dahi. Also take these sweets and bhujia. And don’t forget the samosas too. Don’t feel shy. How will you survive this long journey if you don’t eat properly?” is what she usually says. All you can do is munch quietly and pray that the overeating isn’t harmful.

The ‘Farty’ Uncle- the most common character on an Indian train journey:

The Farty uncle

You never see him. You only ‘feel’ his presence. At the dead of the night, when you wake up because of an unpleasant smell or a suppressed noise of a tire burst from the berth above or near you, you should simply assume that the ‘Farty Uncle’ has struck. The unfortunate thing is that you cannot do anything about it either. And if the train journey is long, then may the gods bless your nostrils.

The Pesky Kid – The unavoidable character of an Indian train journey :

Indian train journey
Pesky kid

It is his job to make your train journey a living hell by crying, screeching, singing and running all around the compartment and that too throughout the day and night. You will have no respite from him tantrums. You loathe him, you fear him, but you cannot touch him. He is a kid after all.  

The ‘Wide-Eyed’ Man:

He watches your every move in the train journey with ‘wide-eyes’. Whether it is the food you eat, the things you wear or use, or even the books you read; he watches everything with such wonderment as if he is seeing them for the first time. You feel unsettled by his constant scrutiny, and try to shrug him off by glaring at him for a few seconds. However, after looking away for a few moments, he resumes his staring, with those ‘wide-eyes’. You shrug, sigh and get used to it.

The ‘Know-it-all’ – the Hermione Granger of Indian train journey:  

Indian train journey
The know-it-all uncle

He knows everything about trains journeys; the routes, the timings, the stations, the different trains, how to get to a place, what food is available at what station, and just about everything else there is to know. He has travelled to every freaking place there is and you just can’t outdo him on the information he has. Even if you don’t ask for it and are, for instance, talking to a fellow passenger about how to reach a particular place from a particular station, he will jump in and just spit out the information. He is smug, but useful nonetheless. He is the quintessential Hermione Granger of Indian train journeys.

The Dazzling Beauty – the heart-stealer of an Indian train journey:

Indian train journey
An Indian beauty in an Indian train journey

In every train journey, with the sea of average faces that surrounds you, you will always find at least one face which will flutter your heart and churn your insides. She is the dazzling beauty. You sneak-peek at her all through the journey and if she is a few seats down the compartment, you deliberately find ways to walk down the aisle regularly just to catch her glimpse. She is the reason that you don’t want the journey to end. And all you want is to be somewhere near her; in the hope that if you are lucky, she might give you a smile.  

The Boisterous Family – The inescapable force in an Indian train journey:

Indian train journey
Family on an Indian train journey

They think they own the train and bring with them tons of luggage and megatons of food. And what’s more? They howl, they roar, they litter, and spread havoc all around the compartment. Everyone else in the compartment despises them and heaves a sigh of relief if they leave. But wait. Even after they are gone, they leave ‘traces’ of their presence everywhere in the compartment; mostly in the form of litter. You find it around you and curse them some more.

The Opportunist:  

He doesn’t own a ticket and sneakily lurks around different berths on an Indian train journey; looking for an opportunity to get his hands onto a seat. He is alone, like a snake, and goes about his task without anyone’s notice. While you are busy reading a book, or chatting with your fellow passenger, he quietly makes his place beside you; while you are left scratching your head when you finally notice him.

The Grumpy Old Man- the Grinch of an Indian train journey:

Indian train journey
The grumpy old man

He is always in a foul mood and you never see him smile throughout the journey. He doesn’t like anyone or anything in the train and complains about everything. He is the Grinch of an Indian train journey. His complaints are never-ending and relentless: the train food is bad, the passengers are too loud, the air is too cold, the seat is too hard, the compartment floor is too unclean, and the journey is too long. He has a permanent scowl and you chose to stay away from him for your own good.

The Loner – The heartbreak kid of an Indian train journey:

The loner

You don’t even know he is around you for most of the journey. He is usually found on the upper berth. He lies there quietly; sleeping almost throughout the journey. The only time you see his face, is when he gets up to eat; that too on his seat above. He doesn’t smile, he doesn’t get angry; his mood is inscrutable. He has perhaps suffered a heartbreak. Or has lost in love one too many times. He is the loner.

So which of the above characters do you relate to most on an Indian train journey? And what others would you like to add to the list? Comment below.

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