So after Varanasi we made a plan to go to Darjeeling - the top don tea place (of which I did not know about) so we needed a train from Varanasi to Siliguri so that we could take the jeep to Darjeeling.

There were no sleeper seats left (sleeper means the chair turns into a bed meaning that the 13 hour train journey would be slightly more bearable. But as I said there were none). In fact there were no seats available at all. In india however they have a type of ticket called an ‘unreserved’ or ‘general’ ticket. Y'know those pictures you see on the internet with hordes of Indians hanging off the train; did you know that they have actually paid for a ticket, just not for a seat.

Eventually, the train comes and it had come all the way from Delhi so it was dirtily packed already with people hanging out of the sides. People weren't on the roof, it wasn't THAT bad, but near impossible for 5 of us with our backpacks to get on.

We tried asking the conductors and drivers and anyone who might just help us but the only thing they could offer us was that we could sit in the sleeper carriage on the floor and just hope the conductor didnt give us a fine.

So here we are, jamming by the toilets. Y'know just jamming for about 6 hours all hunched up just… jammin'. Then, I swear on my life, I see the biggest cockroach run by next to my foot. It was this big


and it was just playing some devil games running in and out of this crack in the wall that was by my foot. Then the devil would just appear by my backpack all like 'Hey guuuuurrrlll' and I was all like 'Don't come near me you dirty insect child'.

After 6 hours of being hunched up, the 5 of us were all sitting on our bags trying to sleep and a conductor finally comes by and asks us why were are on the floor (we aren’t the only ones on the floor there were so many other indians with unreserved tickets nearby) and I'm guessing because we were tourists he found us seats for the rest of the journey for a price. How strange, we walked past women with children and old ladies around us who tried to bribe the police men who where making them move from near the toilet. The police men just threw the money back at them so disrespectfully.

We all realised how unfair it was, and at that point, Nilza remarked ‘Life is so easy when you're white’ to which I replied ‘yeah... I love being white’

I'm Black.

H Ricketts

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