Thoughts

Should You Share Eatables with Fellow Rail Passengers?

I seriously don’t get this.

Recently when I was waiting in Chennai Central Railway Station I saw a short movie being telecast on a big screen TV. They showed how someone befriends a co-passenger and convinces them to drink a cool drink which was mixed with sleeping pills or something else to make them faint. The person drinks it and finds all their valuables missing the next day morning.

The video was made so dramatically that I was smiling almost throughout! πŸ™‚Β But the message was simple: Don’t accept/eat any eatables given by strangers/co-passengers on the train.

I thought why take pains to make such an elaborate video for it — isn’t it obvious?

I was wrong. It seemed, this wasn’t so obvious.

After I boarded the train, I found two families — one sitting next to me and another sitting opposite to me. There was one small kid in each family. Soon the kids started playing with each other and the families started talking to each other.

The lady on my left took a packet of biscuit (of all things!) and offered one to the kid in the opposite family. The kid had enough sense not to take it and looked at her mother. This mother says, “Oh I have also brought things to eat — No thanks . . .” Β The lady insists once more that they take. The mother immediately jumps, and takes not one but two biscuits. She gives one to the kid, tells her to eat just one, and eats the other one herself!

I was already wondering what’s going on? Haven’t these people heard stories of ‘biscuit bandits’ in trains who appear like normal families?

This lady then turned towards me and tried to offer me a biscuit. I gave her a razor sharp glance. She immediately withdrew the packet! πŸ˜›

After sometime, the mother on the opposite side opened a packet with some eatables. Sevu, I think. She took a handful and thrust it into the hands of the lady next to me. Return courtesy gesture. The lady was reluctant but accepted it anyway and gave some to her kid also. Of course, the mother looked at me but I gave the same razor sharp glace πŸ˜›

There are limits to courtesy πŸ™‚

Fortunately, next day morning everyone was awake and there was no ‘incident’.

To all these people, I can say only one thing: You may escape 99 times, but the 100th time, when you are stolen of all your belongings, you’ll regret being off guard all those 99 times previously.

Destination Infinity

PS: If you still think it’s OK to eat things given by strangers on the train, read the experience of a fellow blogger’s friend who also thought so, from here.

29 Comments

  • SG

    Whenever we travel by train in India, we rarely have fellow passengers. In case there are fellow passengers, we never offer them food nor accept. This is not just for their home brought edibles. We do not accept even if they buy chai for us from the tea vendor. We neither offer to buy anything for them. They may think these people are from America so too much “thimiru”. Let them think like that. Does not bother me.

    • Rajesh K

      This is how it should be — neither take nor give. People here seem have this urge to be ‘courteous’ and ‘nice’ at least with strangers in trains.

      Destination Infinity

  • Sandhya Kumar

    I am also scared to take anything from strangers. But like to ‘talk’ to people! And I don’t like to start the conversation too! If many people talk together then I join in! Sometimes it is fun! Eatables, ‘No’!

    • Rajesh K

      Talking is fine, but some people tend to become close and start sharing foods just after a few minutes of talking! Good that you don’t do it.

      Destination Infinity

  • Locomente

    I so totally agree with you. Being friendly is one thing… And being nagging and irritating in the name of friendship is another. We Indians have a tendency to force (lovingly) others to take food even if they refuse. Isnt food habits something very personal?

  • Alok Singhal

    I find it astounding too…how come people got no sense, and only for a biscuit? Unless they are not trying to build long-term relations, there is no reason to accept these goodies.
    Nobody else to blame but ourselves!

    • Rajesh K

      Even if someone wants to build ‘long-term’ relationships, it maybe better not to eat anything brought by them from home. Something bought from the vendor at that moment might be OK, but who knows, there might be some previous arrangement between the two? I know I am too paranoid, but . . . πŸ™‚

      Destination Infinity

  • Harini

    I have been on the other side of sharing food. When I and my family were coming back to Hyderabad we met a couple from Kerala. My aunts bonded with the lady and we spent the whole journey playing games with them, sharing our food (they hadn’t packed any food as they were in a rush and were planning on sleeping eating biscuits) and many stories. My aunt is still in touch with the lady. They are still friends and very good ones at that.

    I do get the whole concept of not sharing or eating food offered by co-passengers because it can be dangerous. But sometimes in these journeys you do meet good people and if u keep shutting people out may be you will not make any friends.

  • Madhavi

    I agree, many times I travel with my kid and he is always offered snacks from the fellow passengers. Thankfully, my kid still obliges to my instructions and we comfortably avoid. Nice narration, I was waiting for the twist to read with curiosity.

    • Rajesh K

      Not everyone offering snacks might have a bad intention. But because of a few people, we are forced to distrust everyone. I don’t think there is anything wrong in refusing snacks offered by others politely.

      Destination Infinity

  • Manogna

    I never eat from strangers. I don’t like accepting stuff from strangers.
    Trains are more open than buses and chances of talking to people sharing our compartment are more,we like it or not.

  • Anunoy Samanta

    I take “precaution” to a higher level… I don’t interact (mostly) with my fellow passengers even in 18-20+ hours rain journeys πŸ˜› But, I never chain or take my baggage over the berth too. Bag/s is always left below the berth and I sleep tight like a possessionless man! In short, my rail behaviors are erratic :-))))

  • Nandhini Chandrasekaran

    This is one embarrassing moment I face in trains, especially while travelling with a kid. My son has the nature to smile at passengers in train and some one or the other tend to gift him a candy every time. It feels too rude to decline their courtesy at the same time I don’t feel safe to accept it. Especially how do I make a 2 year old understand my dilemma?

    • Rajesh K

      If he is too young to understand, you’ll have no other option but to enforce rules — not to accept any eatable given by others. But soon enough explore the option of telling the truth, even with kids. It sorta works.

      Destination Infinity

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