On The QT

Rambling in Rajasthan – Part 1

Blogger: Katie Burke. Part 1: Train to Jaipur

We boarded the sleeper train to Jaipur as a group of five with (thanks to the incredible organisation of India Rail) only four sleeping berths and one random “no seat” ticket. But we were told it was fine for the 5th person to bunk in with one of the others so that was our plan. When we located our beds however we were a little surprised to see a whole Indian family sitting on them (Granny, Grandad, two sons, the wife of one son, one little girl and a baby girl). They were obviously on the “no seat” plan too. They quickly moved to some vacant seats opposite us. All of them that is except for Granny, who it seemed was intent on staying put. In an attempt to oust her, Bruce, my friend who held the ticket for the bed on which she was sitting, lay down on his bed but still she remained happily seated. So as we had come to learn to do, having spent six weeks in India, we simply accepted it. 


Shortly after we’d accepted Granny’s presence. The wife of one of Granny’s sons, who had been watching us with great interest since we boarded, plonked her baby girl on another of our beds and began a lengthy conversation with my friend Kate. Initially she just wanted Kate to play with the baby then before we knew what was happening both children were sitting on her bed. As Kate half heartedly played with the kids, the wife appeared to be discussing Kate with her husband and his brother, all the while beaming at her. Eventually the inevitable questions began-Name, Country, Age and then the favourite “Married?” For safety Kate said she was married to Bruce, who was by then (pretending to be) soundly asleep beside Granny. The wife seemed to accept that and proceeded with “Love Marriage?” To which Kate replied, with a series of muffled giggles from the rest of us, “Yes yes, we are in love!” The wife seemed overjoyed at this which prompted Kate to inquire “And you?” The wife nodded her head towards her husband, rolled her eyes and said with a sigh “Arranged!” Then she burst out laughing and so did we. 


Next the husband stood with his phone in hand and the wife asked for a photo so Kate obliged. However they felt the photo was too dark so they suggested using Kate’s i-phone. They took a couple of Kate with the kids and then the wife insisted on her own photo with Kate. They were delighted with selection of photos and insisted Kate take their email address and send the photos on when she could. With that the train stopped, they gathered the children and their belongings (even Granny jumped up, much to Bruce’s delight) waving, smiling and shouting their email address and then they were gone. We all burst out laughing and then fell asleep wondering if this was a taste of many encounters to come on our trip around Rajasthan.

Blogger: Katie Burke - Adventures in India
Katie is an aspiring writer who is originally from Galway. She has been travelling in India for the past two months. She has had an eclectic journey including everything from experiencing the culture shock of Delhi to teaching baby Buddhist monks in Dharamsala and so much in between. This blog covers the highs, the lows and the hilarious of each site and situation visited and reveals the madness that is India from the naked eye of a first time visitor.
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