How to Survive Overnight Trains in India


ow to Survive Overnight Trains in India

Have you ever been woken up by a fart? It is quite alarming. It’s somewhat alarming when you are the tooter but when someone else’s butt bomb wakes you up…that is something else.

Overnight from Delhi to Varanasi

Brenton (buddy from college) and I hop an overnight train from Delhi to Varanasi. This first class sleeper has two sets of bunk beds. Brenton and I take over one side of the cabin, I grab the top bunk. Mostly because I like the challenge of getting my butt up there but also because the lower bunk seems like the main point of contact for anyone entering the cabin. Brenton can have that one.


Brenton and I in India
Taj Selfie!

Who will be our cabin mates?

We are nervous about who’ll be spending the night with us in the other two bunks. Every time someone passes our cabin we think “keep moving, please keep moving”. To our luck the train departs and the two beds are still open. We sigh with relief. Now we can have a dance party, not worry about making a mess, and not have to endure the awkward sleeping habits of someone you don’t know. Life is good. Everything I read about India said to lock our baggage to our bed while sleeping (this is where the cord lock comes in handy if travelling with a backpack), unfortunately our cabin door doesn’t lock, so we rig something up under the bunk with our cord locks just in case someone sneaks in unnoticed.

Brenton & I on Train in India
Getting ready for the train ride!

Once night falls we are fast asleep. When traveling, I generally sleep with an eye mask, it makes me feel fancy and for some reason I feel I get better sleep.

Burrumph! Burrrummmphhhhh! Bur bur burrrrumph! (Those are giant man toots, you all know the kind). I wake up with a jolt. I think “WTF Brenton?! You didn’t have beans for dinner”. Then I hear a long snore. WFT is that? This noise is not coming from Brenton. He doesn’t snore. My heart is racing. You know when you wake up from a nightmare and are too afraid to move? This is how I feel. Frozen. Heart racing. Scared shitless. The sound is resonating from the other lower bunk. What am I going to see when I look down? Whatever it is farts again. I have to look. I have to see. My curiosity gets the best of me. I slowly slide the eye mask off my face ensuring I don’t make a sound to wake the creature below. I turn over and peak through the railings on my bed. I gasp, oh the sight! Down below, across from poor Brenton is a middle age Indian man in nothing but his tighty whiteys; snoring and farting away. I think Brenton knows I am now awake. I feel the bed start to tremble in wake of his nearly silent giggles. That sets me off. The bunk feels like a full on earthquake. I am trying not to make a sound and it causes me to laugh more. We explode into full on hysterics, the kind where you can’t breathe and gasp for air. The partially nude man only stirs to itch his nuts.

No more sleep

There is no more sleep to be had. I blame the eye mask for doing its job and not letting in any light. For if I didn’t wear it, I surely would have seen Mr. Tighty Whities open the cabin door, shimmy off his clothes and lay down. Damn you eye mask.

Conductor to the rescue

Thankfully about 15 minutes later the conductor comes around to check on all the laughing, realizes this man is not where he belongs and orders him to wake. Nearly Naked Man stirs, puts on his clothes, and leaves us with one last toot before departing.

Apparently this man snuck up to 1st class in the middle of the night.

Brenton on Train in India


My words of wisdom to those taking night trains

1. Bring a cord lock, I’ve heard way too many stories of people get their shit nabbed in the middle of the night on trains. Wrap the lock around your luggage and to something sturdy on the train, it probably won’t prevent them from opening zippers but at least they can’t grab your bag and run.

2. Bring an eye mask, if you find yourself having to share a cabin you can slide it over your eyes to avoid unwanted conversation and it serves as good protection from seeing unwanted nakedness.

I will never unsee Mr. Tighty Whities.

2 thoughts on “How to Survive Overnight Trains in India”

  1. This is so funny but so disturbing… a friend and I had to deal with an overnight bus in Thailand that was equally as terrible, all we could do was laugh at our own misfortune. My hell was a stinky little backpacker bro…

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