8:30 a.m.: The train arrives into the platform. We board it and take our place. Seating is unreserved, but the compartment is not too crowded and we are all able to sit together. We find a vacant cubicle. Rachit and Aravind sit opposite Suraj and I.
9:00 a.m.: The train departs. In a few minutes we reach the next station, Simi Bakhtiyarpur, where a large number of pilgrims board the train. They alight at the following station, Mansi Junction.
10:00 a.m.: Rachit is hungry. He takes out a pouch of beaten rice from his bag. Aravind has brought some pakodas. They lay out their wares on a newspaper and share the snacks.
1 p.m.: Rachit buys lunch from the hawkers on the train. Roasted chickpeas and samosas. Suraj borrows Rachit’s headphones and tunes off.
3 p.m.: Rachit is hungry again. So are we. He lays out the beaten rice left over from the morning and we gratefully help ourselves.
7 p.m.: Chhapra. A passenger who boards the train here sits next to us and gets talking. He tells us about the factory he owns in Gorakhpur. The factory produces sports goods. He used to work in Delhi when he was much younger but decided to shift to Gorakhpur in order to be close to his home in Chhapra.
10 p.m.: The train enters Gorakhpur. Our co-travellers takes his leave. Rachit is tired and wants to sleep. We prepare to retire for the night.