Shreemati Express!


When the editor suggested a write up on a Women’s only train, yes, you heard it right- a women only train, the Shreemati Express, all I could do was roll my eyes Heavenwards. Seriously? A woman only train? You mean a train with an engine, coaches, woman loco pilot? Lady guard? Lady TTEs? Why not? When women fly the planes and park their cars with clinical precision, ahem…I am a bit over board here, I know… why not a totally woman only train? What would we long for in a woman-only train?

There are ladies special trains used by commuting women. When I say commuting women, it does mean the average Indian woman like you and me, who can never keep up time, who always entrain at the last opportune moment. We love to dash on the platform as the train leaves, the pallu fluttering like a flag and we, flashing our ample belly. Every time we make the run, we can’t but hallucinate our own Kajol running, holding her skirts and Shahrukh extending his hand to pick her up. Alas! This is a Shreemati Express, the only person who is willing to even look at you is the lady guard, who shakes her head pathetically, wistfully thinking the body of this lady mountain doesn’t lodge between the train and the platform.

A Shreemati Express- as a woman what would I want in a train? A washing machine! Yes, you heard that right. There must be a fully automatic machine where the lady can drop in her laundry immediately on boarding and collect it while getting down. And oh, please give her the starch. A spoonful might help her close her mouth shut for the rest of the journey! Voila! We give them all a complimentary drink- a glassful of starch. That would save us from puncturing our ear drums.

Should we not treat our women to world class beauty care on trains? A refreshing spa experience and few hours later, when our lady detrains, her husband would be drooling at the dolled up mannequin that faintly resembles his wife. You may even invent ludicrous facials and bleaches- our own Railway invented Rail’naz Choosain beauty care that can pop up ‘fume’ facial, ‘steam’ facial, ‘soot’ bleach and train-flavored ‘toilet water’ bleach with a dash of old paint and alumina chipped of the same train.

Now that done, we must look into the ‘onboard entertainment’. What can enlighten and energise the women better than Ramdev baba’s six pack abs? Videos of bah-bah-ing baba with his assistants and our own Nithyanand’s world-famous chaddi jump can be shown to catch the ladies unaware. As for those ladies who feign ignorance of the chaddi buddies, there are always soaps. Give them a set of saas-bahu serials and the rest of the journey is plain cake-walk.

Food…khana. Khana to Indian women is akin to a ‘Khan’ahhh! We the ladies- eat like Salman Khan, act like Shahrukh Khan and look like Amjad Khan! Almost all Shreematis are bursting at the seams, literally. The food we eat is royal- rotis and naans never suffice. Only if we have a ‘pile’ of rice, we Southies attain “moksha”. A pile of rice seasoned with the same roaches that run amok the air-conditioned coaches and dripping with grease straight from the engine, nah! We are not bothered. All we want is our sambar rice and lemon achar. As for the water- we are not ordinary women. Rail Neer won’t do for us. Our choice for women only trains would be ‘nari’al neer, with a hint of sugar. We hate salt. She is slender and Jolie-ish. We detest the very nomenclature, SALT!

As for the blankets and bedspreads supplied- you may even give us the rags, we wouldn’t mind, really. So far as we get straight eight hours sleep, we love the express and no, we don’t give two hoots to the lovely fragrance hitting our nostrils from the toilets. And no locking the doors, turning off the gas stove, latching the windows and strictly no snoring, please. The icing on the cake would be no mid-night masala. Neither do we have a tired soul banging at the gates for mercy nor do we have to witness sex-starved orangutans hanging from upper berths in search of their simian mates who sport the tightest leggings and tees hugging their hour-glass figure. This is the Shreemati Express, mind it, rascala!

Who will check our tickets? Lady TTEs of course! Ladies in the same seldom-washed black coats that give you the creeps. The larger the frame of the lady, the more fearsome she looks. If she spots a pea-sized mole on her cheek and has saucer-like eyes, yes, she is the one. You can feed spoonfuls of baby food to your little one, showing her the ‘fearsome’ TTE. Being the most sincere citizens of the State, we would rather not have TTEs in the train. We never board without tickets intentionally, you see!

Paint the Express in myriad hues of pink and lavender. Pink! That looks girly. Or a fluorescent green? May be, we can spot the train three miles away. No classes for the train too. Only one class- LADY!

Nivedita Louis is currently a Commercial Apprentice with Southern Railways. She is married with two kids. She has a B.Com and an MBA and is an avid blogger, social activist and voracious reader. You can read more of her writings at: .