We are just back from our mini-vacation to Samastipur after attending a relatives’ wedding (Yes, that’d explain the lack of posts last week on FertileBrains, in case you were wondering!). The journey involved a rather long 20+ hour train ride, which happened to be sonny’s first ever long distance train travel and his second train ride ever of all times, if we discount the toy trains in amusement parks, malls etc. (Delhi Metro being his first). In fact, the main reason we preferred a train over a flight was to give him an experience of the Indian Railways and to nurture his love for trains.
Anyway, the journey from Delhi to Samastipur was pretty comfortable and rather uneventful. We had gotten a first class coupe during seat allotments and so, had our very own private nook with a door. This meant that we could very easily close the door to the coupe and let sonny loose inside without any worries.
However, during the return journey, instead of a coupe, we got a first class cabin, which meant that we were required to share it with two other fellow passengers. Besides the obvious lack of privacy that this entailed, the first person who boarded the cabin after us, carried tons of luggage, quite disproportionate to his lonely self. He had 4-5 suitcases, 1 backpack, 2 cartons and what not. This obviously annoyed hubby (and us too, of course!). And like always, hubby was quite vocal about his displeasure, commenting how such people should be fined for all that extra luggage.
Anyway, this meant that once the train started moving, there was a stony, uncomfortable silence in the cabin with no chit-chat with our fellow passengers whatsoever. But if there was one person who was quite oblivious to the palpable tension in the cabin, it was sonny, who did not care one bit about the lack of privacy or the extra luggage messing up our leg space.
And during the course of the return journey, he went on to say and do things that made me cringe from time to time. So without further prolog, here are 9 things only a kid can do (and get away with!) while sharing a train ride:
1. Give a running commentary about the fellow passengers’ activities (Yes, the one with whom we had a verbal scuffle of sorts. Most questions were addressed to me, the hapless mom, and not many were directed towards the passenger himself, though):
- What’s his name? Hello! Good morning, Sir. Say hello to me!
- Look, he has so many suitcases. Let me count it..1, 2, 3…
- What’s in his suitcase? What is he carrying?
- Oh, he is eating his food.
- Oh, look, look, he is taking his medicine.
- Is this present for me? Look, he got a present! (This happened when the fellow passenger tried to unwrap a gift package)
- He is going to sleep..but it’s daytime, why is he sleeping?
2. Hurl a toy at a fellow passenger because he would not respond to kiddo’s greetings
3. Deny vehemently that his parents are his parents: “You are not Ma and Papa.”, especially during the time when the Train Ticket Examiner is doing his rounds! (Just in case you are wondering, we are planets Venus and Earth…that is what we have been renamed these days: “No…you are not Ma and Papa. You are Venus and Earth, I am Mercury.”).
4. Insist on drinking bottle after bottle of water/milk/juice etc. just so he could claim urgent bathroom breaks every few minutes. When these attempts start failing (after repeated use), insist that his parents, need to go to the bathroom instead, declaring its urgency at the top of his voice.
5. Switch on the reading lights every time you try to close your eyes for two seconds insisting “It’s daytime, don’t sleep.” or repeatedly pry your eyes open asking “Are you awake? See there’s light! It’s daytime.” Keep repeating the eye gauging attempts till you eventually give up trying to catch some shuteye after the 15th assault in a row.
6. Give a running commentary on the speed of the train and shout “Chugga chugga choo choo” or “All Aboard” loudly at regular intervals. When the train slows down or halts at its scheduled stations, look absolutely stunned by the train’s lack of speed and start pushing and pulling random levers (read water bottle holders, top bunk ladder etc.) in a frenzied attempt to try to revive the train.
7. At nightfall, when it gets dark outside, insist on becoming a bat (not Batman, mind you, but bat) and fly away out the window. Repeat that request not ten but a hundred times in a quick succession of increasing whine factor “I want to be a bat, I want a bat costume with wings. I am not scared of the dark.” adding extra details after each repetition. (Just in case you are wondering, the request eventually stood at: I want to be a
flute fruit bat who eats apples, bananas, grapes, and oranges. I want to fly in the dark in my bat costume because it is Halloween and I am not scared of the dark. You want to be a ladybug in your ladybug costume and Earth – read hubby dearest – wants to be a monster).
8. Poke his nose everywhere including the fellow passengers’ belongings asking prying questions like “What’s in his suitcase, what’s he hiding?” and randomly pat their backs and tap on their shoulders etc. hoping for some acknowledgment. Eventually, take a pen out of one of the fellow passenger’s pocket saying “Yeh pen hai. Let me check it out.”
9. Wake up at the crack of dawn when it’s still quite dark outside and start shouting “Wake up! It’s morning time. Switch on the lights!” repeatedly till the request is fulfilled and everyone is wide awake.
So, there you have it, 9 things only a kid can do while sharing a train ride. What funny, mischievous things have your kids said and done while on a long journey, confined with a couple of fellow passengers in a train cabin? Don’t forget to share!