I got into the 12703 train with my family at Vizag. As the train approached our platform after a long journey from Howrah, I could see dirt on the coaches.
We climbed into our coach. It was not easy to get to our seats. 15 minutes after we entered, we could manage to settle in our places after asking people sleeping in our reserved berths to vacate. Slowly at a snail’s pace, unwillingly two gentlemen vacated our seats. Third berth, the middle one, I had to ask people to give me space to lay my berth.
We, parents, prepared a berth for our child, who is for the first time travelling on a train, with berth allotted to him, so it means he has to sleep alone on his berth this time.
All this while, we were standing in a congested space where people barely moved unless asked to. Now, before going to sleep, my child wanted to urinate. I took him to the toilet, which is still not upgraded as per the latest Indian Railways upgradation standards.
I told my child not to touch anything, and he obliged me. I flushed, and as returning to the berth, my child for the reason he knows, asked for washing his hand at the washbasin, but even that place is occupied, as our 1st gentleman was seen sleeping there standing.
Half past 2, I woke up. I could see people sleeping on the floor and near the toilets. I can see the toilet door open and a poor guy in a deep sleep just outside it.
When I see people sleeping on floors, breaking their backs sleeping on seats, sleeping near the toilet- in unhygienic conditions. Then, I felt for a moment about how lucky we are travelling in a reserved seat.
I can say for sure, that nobody wants to sleep near toilets, nor sleep on the floor, it is just their financial status, to save money they undergo hardships.
But shouldn’t all of us, irrespective of our income status and spending capability at least have a chance to live a dignified life?
Society must work towards it. Governments must work towards it. Railways must work towards it.