Somehow Mac got a whole long bench (a bed, really) to himself, though at some point in the night the TTE came and woke him and the man across the aisle up and demanded that they switch beds. Sarah and I shared the one bed, next to windows that wouldn't shut, waking every hour or two to find a new balled-up position that might hurt less. By morning we were exhausted and so grateful for the sun making its way in through the filthy windows to warm us a bit.
The chai man came through every half hour or so, offering tea to the waking passengers. People folded their blankets and took turns in the bathroom (private, stinky hole in the floor), and one woman repeatedly cleared phlegm from her nose and throat as poor Sarah was disgusted almost beyond words. As it got closer to the juicy, light-filled middle of the morning, each stop brought new faces, both commuters and vendors, the commuters taking out playing cards and organizing games or reading the paper, the vendors coming on walking up.and down the aisles with offers of food (mountainous towers of fried something, vegetable patties, bags of chips and bottles of soda), shoe shines, fixed zippers or quick tailoring, even some sort of trading cards, until the train began to slowly crawl forward. There were also beggars at each stop, children who passed out notes, women with tiny, portable shrines, a man who swept the aisles, stopping every so often to extend an open hand to a passenger. As the only white people in the car, Sarah, mac and I were prime targets. Sarah avoided this by continuing her uncomfortable sleep, and Mac was sort of turned away from the rush, but my seat was right in the middle of it, and I was fully conscious. I was surprised at how many of the beggars found poking me to be the most appropriate way to convey their needs, and I tried to ignore them all. I had nothing to give, anyway, apart from an apologetic smile (which left my face quickly the more they poked me).
When we arrived at our stop, we had to find a cab to drive up up into the mountains to McLeod Ganj. It was a beautiful drive, and we were so excited to finally be there at our yoga school, when we finally found it. The view from our room was of the mountains and valleys, with huge birds soaring and diving and mongeese running through the brush below... We couldn't have imagined it any better. Class was to begin the nest morning, so we settled in and met our classmates, and tried to get some sleep.