Before getting any further with the post just have a look at the picture on the left. Do you see the blue arrows pointing something? Yes I am going to talk about that seat or rather berth. Those of you who have traveled by sleeper or AC III-Tier coaches of Indian Railways must know about it rest look at the picture and try to figure out.
The berth is called ‘Middle Berth’ because its in middle simple. Incidentally its the least preferred berth due to obvious reasons. Since the time I have booked railway tickets I have always somehow managed to avoid the berth. This time fate had something else in store and my mother was allotted the dreaded berth. Though could successfully convince one gentleman for the lower berth who had already traded his middle berth with a family that was separated by coaches(Quite complex right? Nah! Its a normal procedure if you travel by Indian Rail). Quite naturally I had to forego my favorite upper berth in the deal.
My worst nightmare was coming true and I was to spend 2 whole nights dangling between two other people. The inconvenience was aggravated considering I am a tall man. What 5’11 should be by Indian standards Huh? Normally I enjoy traveling by train but this berth fiasco was making my journey worrisome. After much calculations I figured out that once in the berth I have to stay in there come what may. So without much of a choice I climbed into the berth surprisingly with less difficulty actually my height(you know right?) helped with the job. Once I settled(I mean lied down) in I found it was not that ‘dreadful’ infact it was cosy as the AC was not directly pointed to me like its at the Upper berths(by the end of night you are frozen unless you are wrapped in all the covers provided by Railways). The light and other switches were easily accessible. The best part was the cell phone charging point was completely under my control so I took charge of it and drifted into the lalala land.
In the middle of the night I woke to some hushed voices and some hand groping near my head searching something. I would have jumped in normal circumstances but remember I was in a train in the dreaded middle berth where one cannot even situp straight. So I moved my head slightly to look what the issue was and saw a PYT(ahem well she was not so young but she was pretty) smiling sheepishly. She politely said that she needs to charge her phone and the cell phone charging point under my control was supposedly the only working point in the vicinity. Had to oblige with a smile and said that She can come back after sometime when the phone’s charged. But she continued to wait right there saying that in her earlier journey the cell phone was gone when she returned after sometime so she was fine keeping a watch meanwhile I can continue my sleep.
Sleep! How can a man sleep peacefully with a pretty woman standing at your head. Still I closed my eyes but kept twisting and turning till she was gone for good. I woke up early in the morning but could not climb out of my berth because everybody else was sleeping and once out of berth I would not be having any place to sit(take a look at picture again figure people sleeping! Clear!). Rest is history as they as say. So thats the end of the story because the next night was eventless and I got a somewhat peaceful sleep in the middle berth.
So whats the moral of the story? I think at times in life things are not thats bad at it seems and sometimes when we are left with no choices then we should make best of what we get. I can’t get preachy and all that, so never mind the lesson. Finally if you are just curious about what happened to the pretty woman well I gave her some free advice on how to bring her boyfriend in line 😀 so that he marries her soon.
PS: Ok the last line is purely fictional in reality we never spoke again the entire journey. But my mom played the Agony Aunt and did give the necessary advice as she was asked for one. Ever heard it happens only in India!
PPS: This is second in the series …wait for more ….