Railway journeys over these years have taught me a lot about life. Here are 5 life-lessons that we can learn from the trains.
Travel by Train
Trains are fascinating. In my youth, I was gripped by the boarding process, window seats, and moving quickly at a tremendous speed. Whether on vacation or on a mission, the train took us to our destination quite hastily.
A widespread network of railway lines in India is the prime medium of transport for passengers and goods. Finding a person in India who never traveled by train will be almost impossible! A railway is not just about moving from point A to point B rapidly and comfortably.
The Benefits of Sightseeing on a Train
Nature and experience are two of our best teachers. Traveling is one way to observe nature. When it comes to traveling, the train is one of the major means of transport. Have you ever tried to understand what a train journey can teach you?
The answer lies in keen observation. As a travel enthusiast, I often travel on trains and make many observations. Keeping a learner's perspective, there is infinite knowledge we can grasp from our surroundings as we travel.
All these years, from five hours of a short journey to two days of a long journey through trains, I learned five important life lessons. These lessons are learned through the experiences associated with my railway rides.
The guard has waved the green flag. So take a seat, and let me take you through each lesson while you nibble your snacks.
5 Unforgettable Moral Life Lessons I Learned on a Train
- Nothing Is Permanent
Lesson 1: Timing
Timing is the essence of a masterfully crafted life. In most scenarios (especially sports) timing lays an upper hand over strength. While traveling by an Indian local train that is fully loaded with passengers, timing plays a crucial role.
One has to carefully catch a train without losing the grip of the metal bar to avoid falling down. One has to quickly study the speed of the stopping train and decide the right time to hold the metal bar attached to the outer side of the train.
Over the course of time, you will hit the perfect timing. You will understand when to wait and let the passengers go. You will be versed in making your way into the train amidst the huge crowd. But in exceptional cities like Mumbai where there is an ocean of people at the platform you just have to merge with the crowd. The crowd will push you in and out of the train.
Timing is necessary even when you have to get out of the train. Once I fell down as I picked the wrong time to step out. Thankfully I didn't get severely injured. The wrong timing just made me alert. (we will read more about alertness in the next subheading)
I should have waited for the train to completely stop. You can't afford drowsiness while stepping out even from a train moving at a slow speed.
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Lesson 2: Alertness
A railway ride teaches you to be alert. Here's a short anecdote that reveals the need for alertness in train and indirectly in all aspects of life.
There was this group of peers with whom I was traveling from Ratnagiri to Mumbai. There wasn't any time left to seek the general coach as the train began to speed up. (Of course, we did not make any kind of reservation as our returning day wasn't pre-planned) As the train driver permitted us to enter into the luggage coach, without giving a second thought, our group of twenty young people hastily entered in a luggage coach.
The coach had no luggage in it so we were able to easily accommodate it. After a long journey, we reached Dadar station in Mumbai. Everybody was in a deep sleep. My friend and I were singing songs. The train was about to halt for two minutes. The next stop was two hours away.
Both of us stopped singing and did whatever we could do to wake up all the guys and girls. We all stepped hurriedly out of the train and immediately the train started to leave the platform.
This incident taught me to be alert in every walk of life. Lack of alertness can cause accidents while alertness can save nines.
Lesson 3: Bonding
There are many grounds for people to open up like cafes, bars, get-togethers, or party halls. Traveling has made remarkable connections between people whose lifestyle, religion, and even nationality differ.
I have seen two persons who are complete strangers to each other, forming a strong bond at the end of a train journey. They exchanged phone numbers and continued to stay in touch with each other. A railway venture is a good way to get to know the co-passengers coming from drastically different cultures.
Releasing heavy loads of life's race, you are quite relaxed in a train journey if you are on a vacation.
I can recall my two days on the train journey. A family including a dozen people was our neighbors for the next two days. In the beginning, the extroverted people in my family and the big family started conversating. Then there were a few small talks. Gradually each and every member of both the families got well acquainted with everyone. We shared snacks, meals, and touring experiences.
Senior citizens began discussing the spiritual destinations they visited so far. Middle-aged people exchanged their opinions about traveling, politics, and the ever-changing culture. I talked with the guys about studies, places, girls, and films. We played card games. It was fun.
A train ride on a vacation helps you loosen up and connect with new people.
Lesson 4: Nothing Is Permanent
The best way to learn that nothing is permanent is by traveling. Look at the world moving so rapidly backward, through a train's window. If you missed seeing anything spectacular it's gone.
You simply can't pull a chain to stop the train without a valid reason. The fun I had with the big family as mentioned above was also a temporary experience. Memories do reside but the actual interactions are a part of the past. A (working) train never stops or moves forever.
Whatever good or bad events you go through in life or even on a train journey, they are supposed to end. That amazing girl at the window seat, a co-passenger sharing his life experience, the platform full of delicious snack stalls, or a dense forest passing by! Nothing is going to be present right in front of you forever.
A few months ago I saw a movie called, "Before Sunrise" where a girl and a boy meet on a train ride. They enjoy their day wandering in Paris. They fall for each other. But the next morning they depart only to meet again after six months. They decide not to contact each other for six months. This movie is a great example of the lessons - "bonding" and "nothing is permanent." It all starts inside a train!
Lesson 5: Adjustments
Adjustments fall into a "practical" category of lessons that a train teaches humans. I was never good at making adjustments until I went to Mumbai. Those days were full of struggle. I had to board a train packed with people. Inside a train, there wasn't any space to freely move my hands.
Those days crowded by passengers with sweaty foreheads still vividly flood into my memory's lane. A local train in the financial capital of India is never prejudiced towards any special group of passengers. Yes, there are first class and second class coaches, but most of the time they too are fully loaded with humans.
It doesn't matter whether you are a son of a landlord living in a very spacious and luxurious ambiance. You will have to adjust yourself if you want to travel through a local train in Mumbai. You can never claim your name on any seat.
The adjustments are mostly concerned with a local train. Though a long-distance express railway is more comfortable, still you have to take care that you don't disturb the other co-passengers in the coach. You have to make certain adjustments even in a three-tier air-conditioned coach.
For instance, you can have beds in some top-class trains in the world but the space is still small as compared to the rooms in your mansion beside the sea. So, while in a train, adjustment is the underlining factor you have to adapt to. The rest of the journey is pretty joyous. In life too, you have to make some adjustments as per the situations. Never compromise though. Don't mistake adjustment for compromise.
Trains Are Transformational
In various ups and downs in the life of a man, Nature, traveling, and traveling by train are great sources of motivation. That's the reason why many great writers and philosophers have written inspirational quotes related to trains.
Just like the invention of the train has brought a great transformation in world transport, it can bring a noticeable transformation in a mind of a conscious traveler who loves to learn new things from observing his surroundings.
© 2020 Niks