Whether it’s a Virar fast or a bus in Bengaluru, you are never quite alone on your work commute. You are accustomed to being the fifth person on a seat meant for three. Crowded spaces don’t make you uncomfortable; in fact, they feel like home. So when it comes to living in a traveller’s hostel with 15 strangers, you aren’t going to be running to the concierge and demanding a far more expensive room. You’re most likely going to be fishing into your bag for snacks to share with your roommates.
Illustrations: Sahil Upalekar
Why pay full fare for a rickshaw ride when you can split the fare with fellow travellers? Even the most awkward and shy Indian has shared a taxi or a rickshaw. It is this very skill of being able to walk up to a complete stranger, introduce yourself and immediately ask if they’re willing to give you a ride that will take you far on your trips. Of course, choose your companion wisely. After all, hitchhiking isn’t just a cheaper way to get around; it’s also a great way to make new friends.
Illustration: Sahil Upalekar
When you live in a country of over a billion people, you’ve definitely spent time waiting in line – and frowning at anybody who tries to cut in. Whether it’s a line to enter a museum or the take-out line for your favourite restaurant, a little bit of patience and you could strike up a long-standing (pun intended) friendship or tips on the best seats. So when it comes to lining up for concert tickets or the elevator line to get to the top of the Empire State Building, there’s no way you’re leaving early. After all, the greatest things in life come to those who wait, right?
Street food – it’s oily and unhygienic but irresistibly delicious. You’ve most likely got a cast-iron stomach from wolfing down all those after-school bhelpuris and late-night omlette pavs on the road. From steaming momos on the streets of China to enchiladas and quesadillas in Mexico to hotdogs in America, your digestive capabilities will be appreciated by your stomach and wallet.
Your train decides to switch platforms and suddenly you’re on Borivali Platform 8, and you might as well be on Platform 9 ¾ on King’s Cross Station, because you have no clue where to go from here! Or your taxi driver promises you his shortcut will reduce your journey, only to land up at a dead-end. Living in a country like India, these occurrences don’t shock you, scare you or leave you at your wit’s end, they just force you to reassess the situation and find your way out. Getting lost isn’t a nightmare; it’s an adventure waiting to happen.
Psst: If you have ever got lost on Platform 9 ¾, please leave us a message. We’d like to get in touch with you.
Whether it’s somebody stepping on your favourite shoes, or a ticket collector refusing to understand that you just threw away your train pass, you know how to rise above the moment. So whether you’re stuck with a bill for something you didn’t buy or a taxi driver who does not understand what you’re saying, you’re more than likely to keep your cool. You can thank the kid who sat on your lap without asking, for keeping you out of international prison cells.
Every day is an adventure, as anyone who uses public transport knows. Whether you’ve been invited to join in a round of cards because the train has been stuck in the same spot for an hour or you have to wade through chest-high water during the rains because the public transport has been rendered useless, there’s no twist to your travel that you won’t be able to embrace.
writes comic stories for Tinkle for a living. When he isn't enthralling kids with fictional escapades he sets out on his own journeys, always bringing back a story with him.
illustrates for various ad agencies and publication houses. An avid collector of comics, he realised his dream to be a comics artist when he started illustrating for Tinkle Magazine and Digest in 2013. He loves to travel.
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