Grumpy Traveller: Rolling thunder

Grumpy Traveller: Rolling thunder

The nightmarish experiences of travelling with snorers on a train

Lalitha Sridhar
July 17 , 2014
02 Min Read

It’s an unfortunate truth that an astonishing number of people on the planet snore. It’s perfectly harmless, of course, and most of them are surely law-abiding and kindly folk. Moreover, they cannot help snoring, can they? Now that I am awake and about, I’m able to see it logically. But after an exhausting day of travel in the Indian summer, when all I want is to enjoy the air-conditioning in my reserved berth on a night train, the presence of a snorer in my bay makes my heart sink into a hole of fearful despair. I know I am in for a sleepless night in which not even the rhythmic clatter of an express train can lull me to slumber.


There have been times when I have been stuck with two snorers in the same bay, who promptly slip into their particu­lar freight-truck scores (there’s even a precise meter to these things) in tandem — one ends and the other fills the interven­ing gap till he returns. Aaargh. If only snoring had a musical sound to it!

We have even had lively family debates on this subject. Can the problem be fixed? Somebody said sleeping on the side cures the sound. Perhaps a poke will help? Why don’t ear buds work? Can everybody be asked to tick in the form at the time of booking:

‘Do you snore?’

Yes  No


A clever system code could then collect all snorers into one bay by themselves, and peace could reign in (most of) the rest of the compartment. Alas, we concluded this wouldn’t work since snorers would object to being separated from their families (who may not, understandably, feel bound by a similar sentiment).

What makes me grumpiest is how well snorers sleep. They are invariably the first ones to drop off, even as fellow travellers are laying out their beds. They aren’t the least bit put out by that wedding party playing cards at midnight, those nocturnal phone chatterers, them hyperactive kids, or the sort of group that unpacks its dinner at 10.30pm. They sleep and snore loudly through everything. Nothing disturbs them.

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