It was in a state of semi-slumber that I received a sharp poke to the stomach. “Ouch,” I mumbled, waking and rolling over to a wide-eyed Sophie.
“What was that for?” I said, as I woke up fully and looked around our cabin.
Seeing her face, I started to panic slightly, “What’s happened? Are you O.k?” Still she said nothing but just opened and shut her mouth, whilst gesticulating towards the window. “What? What?” I persisted. Finally she gathered herself and spoke.
“You are not going to fucking believe it, someone, someone just threw a turd out of the window!”
“A turd, a shit, a great big poo – they put it in a plastic bag and threw it out of the window, it nearly hit me in the face. A poo, someone shat in a bag and threw it out…they just threw it out of the window.”
This incident was a sign of things to come, Dehli train station was a shit-hole.
Getting off, we were hassled and I ended up giving a porter 50 rupees to carry my bag for thirty seconds to a waiting room. Tom, who had just woken up (oblivious to the turd in the bag scenario – which would become an anecdote for the rest of the trip) joined us, to be swiftly told to get out as it was a Ladies only ‘waiting room.’
So he rolled out his sleeping bag liner and joined the numerous bodies scattered over the filthy platform. Sophie and I propped up our heads on our bags and positioned ourselves into the foetal position on some steel benches, we were not comfortable but so exhausted that, after setting an alarm, we were soon asleep.
Another prod in the stomach (the second within twenty-four hours – I was not liking this new form of wake-up) and I woke up with a gasp. An Indian lady was hovering over me:
“Your train, your train is going now,” she announced.
Bugger the alarm, the stupid thing hasn’t gone off…I thought as I fumbled around, woke up Sophie and quickly gathered up our belongings and stumbled onto the platform to find Tom and the train.
The train wasn’t there and Tom wasn’t where we left him. ‘He wouldn’t have left without us, would he?’ No, of course he wouldn’t have, he knew where we were, that wasn’t Tom. (His story we would find out later). “No, no,” I continued, “what’s the time, what’s the time?” Sophie unhooked her backpack and took out her blackberry.
“It’s,” she took a deep, withered breath, “it’s three-fucking-thirty.”
I would have given that woman a piece of my mind, but she had vanished from the waiting room and was no-where to be seen. She was the first but certainly not the last mental person we would meet through India. There would be Johnny, dear, sweet and completely insane Johnny. Back on the benches, back in the foetal position and the next time we would wake would be to the alarm, to Tom and to our actual train.