If you want to be a train hopper, you must pack your bag, steal a pair of shoes, and wait at a place where the railway track bends. When the train slows down, make sure there is no one watching, and jump.



Pssst! I found out 'bout this place. They do some sort of training programmes. Assured placement. Funny jobs they have, but there's good money in them. Found a bunch of them shouting 'chai! chai!' at the top o' their voices the other day. Have to get the right accent, you see? Can't wake the customer rudely; they won’t buy your 'mast, masala maar ke' chai otherwise. They have 'theory' classes too! They discuss the pros and cons of familiarity with the police while conducting dhandha on the streets. You will find that this place even runs mimicry classes; they divide you based on where you are from: Allahbadi's learn to imitate Bachchan's 'hain?'; Mumbaikars learn to spread their arms like Shah Rukh; and every Gujarati is taught to let out a 'mitron!' at regular intervals to pay homage to the Honourable Shri Shri PM. Pretty interesting place—the school of good ol' jugaad!




Shraavi cursed the pale figure in front of her for having existed. Then she cursed him for dying. Within the next five seconds, Shraavi had cursed the Parapsychology Society of India, Farhadin Apte, and herself. In that order. She knew, although she would never admit it, that she had only herself to blame, really. The Society might have discovered the infamous missing train, and Apte might have assigned to her the seemingly impossible task of getting the ghost of Mr. Salil Sheikh to give her an insider's account of the disappearance, but it was Shraavi herself who had boasted that there was no ghost that she couldn't get to sing like a canary. If Salil Sheikh was what a singing canary sounded like, Shraavi had words to exchange with her childhood music instructor.


It was a calm, sunny, beautiful day at the level crossing. A man dozed in his car with the windows rolled down. In his dreams, he could smell the noxious fumes of the cars stuck in traffic, accompanied by the whiff of maggi being made for the waiting motorists. When the bowl of maggi turned into smoke and started screaming, he woke up. A few cars down, a group had cornered the crossing guard and were loudly demanding that he lift the barrier and let them pass: the train hadn’t arrived in the last three hours; it surely wouldn’t in the next fifteen minutes. The man rolled his eyes and ducked back into his car. Out-of-towners, of course. Towners, like him, knew better than to rush the train. He turned the radio on and settled in to wait.



I will show you a road that winds through the centre of my village and goes all the way to the top of a hill. At the place where it stops, there is a big blue box with weeds growing out of the walls. If you stand on top of it, in the distance you will see strips of metal so long they touch the sun. These are called “railway tracks”. In the olden days, people used to string boxes together and let them run on these tracks. The box you are standing on was a runner once. Imagine that.



Classical conditioning theory posits that learning a new behavior is a process of association. Two stimuli, a conditioned stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus, are linked together through repeated association to produce a conditioned response in a person or an animal. American psychologist John B. Watson proposed that the process of classical conditioning (based on Pavlov’s observations) could explain all aspects of human psychology.