I was recently traveling to Dharamsala and McLeodGanj (the place where Dalai Lama resides), and while returning, I had 7 hours to kill as my train was at 12 in the night, and I was at the station around 5pm. But this was not something I was facing for the first time. I have often had situations where the train or bus or plane has been delayed, or I have arrived early for the same. And I think this is a very common situation one finds oneself in when one is traveling. So what does one do to pass the time? Here are some things that I usually do.
Check Out The Place : If your train/bus/plane has been delayed, or you have arrived early and you have a couple of hours in hand, it is always a good idea to check out that place. The area around a Bus or Train Station is usually pretty crowded and happening too, especially if it is a tourist place. There are a number of shops selling local handicrafts and goods. If you are a food lover, these places also have a lot of food joints and are a good option to try some local cuisines and delicacies. This is especially true in case of India. If you are in an airport lounge, you will find shops selling local handicrafts or other stuff unique to that place, and could be a good option to take back as souvenirs.
Make friends : In case you are stranded because your flight/train/bus has been delayed, it is a great opportunity to make new friends. A lot of people you meet in such situations are travellers, and this is a great way to bond with them and exchange tips etc. about other interesting places. If you are traveling to their city, they could host you as well and show you around. People you meet under such situations are often very friendly, and looking out for other travellers with whom they could bond, and may be you could plan your next trip with them! Also, life is full of opportunities, and who knows this could be a life long bonding. Remember the movie ‘Before Sunrise’, where the two lead actors meet during a train journey only to fall in love!
Get on Grindr : So I don’t think I need to tell anyone about it, because the first thing that gay men usually do when visiting a new place is log on to grindr and change the name to “Visitor”( or “Visiting”). But apart from the humpty-dumpty stuff that you use grindr for, it could actually be a good way to meet people who could act as your local guide, or could help show you around. When I was visiting Agra (the city of Taj Mahal), I met a guy via grindr who showed me around and acted as my guide while visiting Taj Mahal!
Watch a Movie : Well, this is an old fashioned option that you have. You could watch a movie on your phone, or search for a cinema hall or multiplex nearby and catch the latest show. This is what I did during my recent trip to Dharamsala. I asked for the nearest theatre, and bought tickets for the movie that had just begun. It helped me pass 3hours (it was a 3 hour biopic!!) without getting bored.
Apart from these, you can always read a book, play crossword, sudoku, mobile games. Try and make the most of the time and place you are at. Also, would be lovely to hear from you as to what you do when you are under similar situations.
Sukhdeep Singh is the Founding Editor of Gaylaxy magazine which is India’s largest English language LGBT magazine. He grew up in Kolkata, in a Sikh family and in a liberal atmosphere. While studying in college he launched Gaylaxy magazine in 2010, which is now also available as an App. His message to the world is: “Treat everyone equally, with love and dignity.”