They say that even the mundane things around us are there to teach us a lesson and I did not really pay attention to this until I took my first train ride in Sri Lanka.

If you’ve been used to taking the train in Malaysia or Singapore, then you might not appreciate the train system here in Sri Lanka.


Well, for one, it is not equipped with AC units. There are ceiling fans but they don’t function all the time.

There are certain days when a train does not stop at a certain station.

There are certain days when there is no journey at all for a particular route.

The trains operate on a certain schedule. They don’t just simply come and go after every 5 minutes. Sometimes, the next train comes after 20-25 minutes.

Most of the time, the trains are packed and there is no chance to get a seat for yourself.

But, guess what? Despite these drawbacks, it actually makes me see things in a different perspective.


The situation that I am in when I take the train gives me a “me” time.

All those moments I was inside the train were spent on thinking about my thoughts and writing them on my journal. At times, I imagine stories in my head while I listen to music. At times, I playback good memories in my reverie from yesteryears.

Delays in train arrival enrich my planning skills and raise my patience. The longest time I waited for a train was 1.5 hours. Yes, that’s right. So what do I do while waiting?

I read stories saved in my Wattpad library.

I watch Korean drama saved on my laptop.

I write on my journal.

I do my things-to-do list.

I take a nap.

Since I know that there is often a possibility of a delay in train arrivals, I stock up on “items” in my gadgets, such as songs, e-books, games, drama series.

My time at the terminal benches, cafeteria and ticket counters provide me an opportunity to observe the people around me. It’s like an immersion experience.

Scene 1

I queue up to buy my ticket and the man behind the counter asks, “Chinese?”. I answer “no” and smile. “Korean?”, he asks again. I reply “no” and smile. “Thai?”, he tries for the third time. I answer “no” and smile. I take my ticket and leave.

Scene 2

I enter the terminal and walk ahead. I see vendors selling green apples. They slice a piece and sprinkle chili powder on it and give it to customers. I’ve never tried it, though. Perhaps, I will when the right feeling comes. 🙂

Scene 3

I stand inside the train as there are no more seats available. It’s quite packed and I find it difficult to move. Then comes the music band, the live music band. They face the crowd and sing while standing and sweating. I enjoy their songs and the way they bang on their drums. I give my token of appreciation and then I get down at my destination.

I take the train on weekends and although it is not always a pleasant ride, I fancy it for what it is.

Even though the train system here is not the best, I appreciate it and I’m thankful for it.

Things around us are and will not always be great. They don’t have to be grand to teach us a lesson in thankfulness. I just hope that the next time around at the ticket counter will no longer be a guessing game. 🙂

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