How safe is the train journey now? Manipuri girl narrates her travel from Pune

Pune Police Social Policing Cell helps need during lockdown.
Share this News:

Mehab Qureshi

Pune, May 21, 2020: “People have a judgment that this pandemic isn’t ending anytime soon… So why waste time here when you can be home with your loved ones”. Mangalphabi Ningthoujam, a student,21 years old, residing in Pune, has finally boarded the train to her hometown to North East India-Manipur. It is a 63-hour train journey plus seven hours of travel to Jiribam, her native place.


Let us hear out this journey from Mangalphabi herself.

Its been a quite tiresome journey now. Its a three-day-long travel. No you can never be prepared for this. I wanted to go home; it had been 54 days of forced lockdown. Pune is a second home for me, and as much as I love Pune, I missed my family even more. It was becoming more stringent every day. The domestic flights weren’t available, the risk is too high, and I expected the lockdown to be over, but it’s a vicious cycle. The cases increased substantially every day. My hopes were shattered, and I questioned when I would head back home.No, video calls wouldn’t do it. There is something about meeting someone in person and virtually meeting someone which cannot be described.


One fine evening I got a message that my travel has been sorted out, and I am travelling back home, sounds magical, isn’t it? This was only possible with the aid of associations like AMAN and MASAP. My name has come in the list along with 1606 people who were travelling from Pune to Manipur.


At the stroke of the evening, I wore a mask, sanitized my hands, completely wrapped my face and prepared myself for the journey. As I reached Pune railway station, I saw a massive crowd waiting to board the train. Social distancing was negligible, I was terrified because anyone could be infected, and my safety was zero.


However, we were then directed to stand in queue and were handed over the token, where we were given refreshments-Pulao, Amul milk, water, banana, sweets and so on. I am highly impressed by the Pune Police personnel who are risking their lives in this epidemic.


Furthermore, Thermal guns were used to check our body temperatures, and I was afraid what if the meter shows a wrong reading, I would be immediately sent to the quarantine centre, but nothing of that sort happened.

Inside the train from Pune
Inside the train from Pune


I finally boarded the train.

The train seats weren’t cleaned or sanitized at all. Looked dirty and we were made to sit next to each other. Social distancing isn’t being practised at all. I was hoping they will have lesser numbers than usual, but it’s almost the same. So this is very risky. The only difference is no hawkers are strolling in the train for refreshments. It is a strict only passengers train.


COVID 19 is the dominant fear. Manipur was a green zone last week. However, today it has 23 positive cases. So our parents think we’re safer at home and people have a sense that this pandemic isn’t ending soon… So why waste time here when you can be home with love ones. I will make sure I am tested as soon as I head back home.


Finally, the only thing that is uniting people from all cultures, religions, sects and social classes is ‘hope.’ Without hope, humanity would cease to exist, we all hope tomorrow will be better than yesterday and as they say, “This shall too pass”.