I woke up at about 7AM and prepared to be on my way by 7:45AM. My taxi arrived a bit early, but we were loaded and on the road right on time. My driver was telling me his daughter was having her Ritushuddhi, the Hindu equivalent of a Bat Mitzvah, that morning at 9AM. He was a little anxious because there was a strike going on right near the train station so he took me to the back entrance which was largely deserted except for a ticket window, a porter and a couple of men hanging around. The driver enlisted the porter for me, and I didn’t object. But this porter was no spring chicken and needed to ask a rickshaw driver for help picking up my bag after I finished at the ticket window. I was a little concerned for his safety, especially going downstairs. But he made it to the platform and found me a spot to sit and wait. I went to pay him, but he told me to wait until after the train arrived. When it did arrive, he came back, enlisted some help, and brought the bag to the correct coach. As I began to hand him 100INR, he old me 200. I laughed and gave it to him.
The train was almost empty, except for maintenance workers and police, since this was the originating station. The policewoman on my coach smiled at me as I got on, having just observed my interaction with the porter. She told me the fee for porters is only 50INR. I smiled and shrugged my shoulders as she laughed (at me). I secured my big bag under my bed and made myself comfortable. Not knowing what my food options would be on the train, I bought some food at the vegetarian canteen a little way down the platform.
There was about a 40 minute wait before we left, but fortunately only a 10 minute wait for them to turn on the A/C. By the time we left there were four military commandos sitting with me. They were all playing with their phones or tablets, laughing and having a good time. They were speaking in what I thought was malayalam, but they were very friendly and appreciated my imitation of one of them posing for a picture. Most of the commandos got off in Cochin, but others sat in their place so I was unable to lie down all day.
In the late afternoon, about 7 or 8 hours into the ride, a friendly family consisting of an adult woman and her parents (or maybe in-laws) occupied the compartment with me, but they were spending the night with me.
Over the next several hours I occupied myself with Facebook, Instagram, and my blog. I was able to churn 3 posts out thanks to my preloading Tumblr with pictures when I had wifi in Kovalam.
Around 9PM the family prepared for bed and I could finally do the same. I got my bed made, turned the lights off, and laid down with a movie on my iPad. I made sure to set my alarm for 4:30AM as the train was expected at Canacona station at just after 5AM. I didn’t make it very far into the movie, settling into a deep sleep.