The train system in India is very backpacker friendly, affordable, convenient, taking into account that it reserves tickets for tourists, has a special counter for tourists to purchase their tickets, which will save you from the hassles of ticket reservation process. ( fellow local passengers told me that it took them months to get the ticket.)
I met the lady on the train from Amritsar to Agra. I am very poor at remembering people’s names. But she has made my journey memorable.
We shared the same train compartment. She was sitting on my berth while farewelling with her husband at Amritsar station.
As the train left, she had no attention of returning to her berth. Instead she stroke up a conversation with me. Indians like to ask seemingly intrusive questions, like age, profession, family members, but don’t take it personally. They are just genuinely interested in you, knowing all these particular details help them understand you within certain framework.
I guess the fleetness of such transient encounter has made me more forthcoming so I answered her questions honestly.
Knowing that I grew up in a single-parent family, she frowned and then held my hands. I usually avoid telling people about such particular background, coz they probably reacted sympathetically. I felt like being pitied upon, which exactly I hated to see. ( But now I have overcome such mentality. There is no shame in being who you are.)
But this lady made me feel warm.
“You are very strong and brave. Now you have a family in India. I am your big sister.” she then pointed a finger at a couple sitting on the opposite berth, “That’s my younger brother and my sister in law. Now they are your brother and sister in law too. We will take care of you during the journey.”
I was overwhelmed by her hospitality.
She was on her way to take part in a relative’s funeral, although she wasn’t close to the deceased, the issue of death and separation still brought her sorrow and emptiness.
Along the journey, they shared food, drinks and snacks with me.
At night, she proposed the idea of getting in touch with me through her son.
” My son knows how to use email and Facebook. He is 25 years old, he is handsome and hardworking, working as teacher now. He can speak English very well. You should get to know him.” She proposed. Then she picked up her phone and made a call, later put me in phone with her son.
“Hi, it is Chau speaking.” I spoke reluctantly. (I hate speaking through phone. )
The reception was poor, I could only hear some mumbling.
After few attempts, the lady finally gave up.
“What a pity. I think you will like my son. He is single.” The lady said, “you should come back to Amritsar to visit us.”
Wait, was she trying to hook me up with her son? That’s hilarious. Her big-sister image turned into a mother who was anxious about son’s bachelorhood. Nevertheless, it made her cute in a crude form.
I wrote down my contact details to her, yet I haven’t heard from her lovely son till now. Guess I have to ditch the idea of having my big Indian sister as my mother in law.