CHENNAI: Last Thursday, when I boarded the IIAC coach of the Trivandrum Mail at Chennai, I was shocked to find berths occupied—an infestation of cockroaches were crawling all over the seats, nestling in the not-so-white sheets and pillow (standard issue) and also playing a disorganised game of ‘catch me if you can’ on the floor of the coach.
Much like the people around me, I also decided to weather the infestation and snuggled under the sheets and tucked them in tightly, to avoid attracting bedfellows whilst I slept. By this time my fellow passengers and self had formed a sense of kinship over our combined travails. However, our exposure to the Trivandrum Mail’s in-house fauna was far from over.
By around 10 pm, small mice began to scurry out from unseen crevices. Perhaps it was the smell of the food which had been consumed that drew them out.
Between the roaches and the mice, it was a wonder that we got any sleep. When we finally arrived in Kerala a little before dawn, I’m willing to wager that there was no compartment as willing and eager to exit as ours. If that was the standard of the IIAC compartment, i shudder to think what Sleeper class is like these days. On the bright side, at least they have the option of opening a window, if they need to!