My time on the overnight train from Delhi to Jodhpur is not my favourite memory of northern India. It’s possibly my worst memory. My time on the overnight train from Delhi to Jodhpur felt like a hideous place I would never escape from. I was sandwiched in the middle bunk between two plastic mats – parallel to me was a heavy Indian man who only stopped snoring to cough; rasping toxic coughs that sounded like one of his lungs was being dragged from his insides out through his mouth.
The evening began with the men in the bunk beneath me conducting a conference call (full Skype), and every new arrival to the carriage delivered its own special disturbances from the unpacking and eating of food, to the making of beds, to the attempts of stuffing luggage in spaces too small.
It did not help that I was recovering from a bout of Delhi Belly, felt nauseous the entire time, and was also suffering from my heaviest and most painful day of my period. Thank God for menstrual cups, though I have to say that my early morning venture to change it (in a moving train squat toilet) involved its own bag of items and a surgical line up including wipes, water, towels and most of all… balance.
Overnight trains in any country can be hit or miss. I’ve had some great experiences, I’ve some horrible ones – this was one of those not so great times. It all felt very dramatic in the middle of the night. I closed my eyes to the claustrophobia and luckily noise cancelling headphones prevented me from jumping from a moving train.
We arrived in the early morning. I was utterly exhausted. But the sun was streaming down, there were new smells in the air, and the promise of what the day would bring was enough to make it all worth it.