The Great Indian Railways are highly esteemed for two things: a) being cheap and b) being shitty. It’s so shitty in fact, that toilets are used as kitchens. If you’re from or in India, you might have no choice but to use their services at some point in your life. Here are 10 tips to surviving the Indian Railways.


1. Avoid pantry food

Better to pack your food for the journey than eat what’s being dished out at the pantry. Take a walk to the pantry to examine the hygiene standards, if you need convincing.

2. Avoid side-berths if you’re taller than 5″10.

This is especially true in older compartments and third AC sleeper bogies. It’s just torture to try and sleep in an enclosure where you can’t stretch your legs for hours.

3. Book your tickets in advance

Avoid the last few seats because they’re usually the most undesirable – i.e. closest to the toilet, or a side berth.

4. Know your IRCTC
Mastering IRCTC’s website requires plenty of determination and luck. Some people spend their vacations on IRCTC booking their return ticket, therefore listen to advise dished out in tip #3.

5. Avoid the General Compartment
It’s where you end up when you do not have a confirmed ticket. The general compartment is worth taking if you want to be molested mentally, physically, spiritually.

6. Carry your own electric kettle
If you’ve got a AC class ticket, these are equipped with power outlets. Carry as much water as you can, bring in a flask, unless you want to depend on the hygiene standards of the railway train’s pantry.

7. Don’t eat in non-AC sleeper trains with open windows.
Picture this. The bogies are being fumigated non-stop with feces and urine, thanks to open toilets. Hurtling at speeds of 60-100 kmph, the train’s body is enveloped in vapors of shit and piss.

8. Carry a hand-sanitizer
And take your hepatitis vaccines if you’re going sleeper/general class.

9. Bring your own entertainment
Carry as many mp3s and mp4s as you can in your smartphone or tablet. Unless you want to have the same tired-old conversations on how fucked our country is.

10. Save your sleep for the journey
Best way to survive the railways is to sleep through it as much as possible.
Avoid all stimulants like tea and coffee or cola.

Hope you enjoyed reading these tips on surviving the Indian Railways. Feel free to leave a comment or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #fuckmytrip.


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