I am writing this on a train to Varanasi. I decided to travel 1A, which I like to do when possible, especially when transiting certain areas that feel a bit less safe to me. It doesn’t hurt that I get a 50% discount on the tickets, either.
My name wasn’t listed on the chart, so I simply occupied a coupe, which is a cabin with two berths instead of four. I was lucky and no one came for the whole journey, so I could sleep, meditate and work in peace. It was wonderful. I knew when I booked the ticket the night before that there would be a lot of empty berths, but I didn’t expect it to be quite that empty. One man boarded when I did, and a few people got on much later, but no one came in to the coupe.
The funny thing was that when the TTE came to check my ticket, he asked me if I was OK being alone. I know that most Indian women don’t travel alone, and many are rarely alone, but . . . would he expect an Indian woman to feel more comfortable hanging out alone with a strange man than being completely alone? I wouldn’t think so.