Despite the wooden slats pressing into my back and the coal and cigarette smoke tickling my throat, I've fallen deeply enough into sleep that I start violently awake as I feel someone tap my shoulder. I twist upward in my seat to face the trio of men looming before me, each neatly dressed in khakis and smart white shirts.
"Sir-Ji—I think you may be in the wrong seat"
It's approximately 2:00 am, 3 hours into my journey from Bihar to Kolkata. After the week I've had in India's poorest state, I associate their well pressed outfits with rifle bearing police or swaggering goondas. As my eyes focus in on warm smiles and Indian National Railways uniforms, I can't help but heave a sigh of relief. . .
<Story Forthcoming>

Having lived in China, India, and New Zealand, I am a freelance writer currently based in Vancouver, Canada.