The Sleeper Train
Wrapping up our final team meetings for the week, we quickly packed and ordered our Ubers for the train station. Next stop-Pondicherry!
It was brought to our attention that there is a 2 minute window to quickly get on the train or we will miss it, and the train doesn’t wait for anyone. This information seemed very high stakes so I packed early to make sure I would be ready when time came.
I was awakened from a nap by my roommate Kevin quickly gathering his stuff together. A peak at my phone’s clock told me we had 15 minutes to leave or else we would miss our window. I looked over to Kevin and said “We Gotta Go!” He proceeded to laugh and we bailed out the room with what we hoped was everything we needed for the trip.
In the car I was sure we would make it to the station with a little time to spare, but I was worried about the people behind us still packing at UTC. The train doesn’t wait for anyone and I thought Suki, Lo Lo and Sandra were for sure done for. Luckily we were wrong and the actual arrival time was later than what we were told in lecture. The classic buddy check once again proved to be successful, ensuring all of us were accounted for.
Patiently waiting for our delayed train, the two minute window approached. I saw a man running stride for stride with the train and people jumping in as it was still moving fairly quickly. I was excited to do same. We were patiently standing under the sign labeled A1 and caught a glimpse of car A1 speeding past us. Before we knew it, Elbin was off for the races chasing down our train car with me, Tristan, Kevin and Eric not far behind. Elbin told us to quickly get in.
But before I had the chance to get in, Elbin gave me a life vest and said, "This will save my life, don’t lose it," then ran off to go assist other members of our program. In shock and confusion I gripped the life vest tightly and followed my bunk mates into the cart. Entering the sleeping area there was a bunk bed to my left along the train wall and two bunk beds on my right forming a cozy inlet hangout area. It was probably the closest thing to the Harry Potter train rides I’ll ever get to see.
Maneuvering around other passengers and through their rooms, we found our inlet. There was a common table between the two right bunks where we all started to watch funny videos to kill the time. Elbin finally came back to join us and I got to finally ask him what was so important about this life vest. And he said, “It’s so I don’t drown while I’m surfing.” With a sigh of relief I tossed it to him explaining how I thought he was going to die on the train without this. He laughed and said, “Oh, no, it was to keep me afloat in case my leg cramps in the salt water!"
After some more bonding with the boys it was time for some shut eye. Being in the bottom bunk I was lucky enough to watch the landscape outside the window directly above the table. Watching the dimly lit buildings pass by and fade into darkness was one of the most memorable moments of the trip for me.
I encourage future GCIL students to savor moments like these and put yourself in as many new situations as possible. India has so much to offer, I’m not sure if even I will get to experience it all before I’m gone. So I hope that you future GCIL students continue to share experiences with all of us reading at home and tell us what we missed out on.