So You Think You’re Fit?

Try the Indian Railways 3-Tier AC Fitness Challenge.

Tooth Truth Roopa Vikesh


My dad sitting on his berth. Photo by the author.

The parameters of fitness are strength, stamina, agility, flexibility, balance and coordination.

All of these get tested on the Indian Railways three-tier coach! How?

Strength: one needs it to climb up onto the top berth. Benching a hundred? Try pulling yourself up to the top berth that’s literally head and shoulders above you.

Stamina: these coaches have 3 Indian-style sit-down squat toilets per 72 people, and only one Western style.

Pooping is as as hard or easy as it always is for a person — but there’s the layer of having to hold a squat as you do it. Sure you’ve held a goblet rock-bottom squat, but have you held one long enough to finish pooping?

Yep, that’s a photo of me and an Indian style toilet! Photo by the author.

Agility: Getting into a crowded train compartment (with your luggage in tow) will test both your agility and your strength. Yes, you might be a runner, or a gymnast, or a weightlifter — but for this task, to muscle yourself and luggage between passengers onto a train that’s about to leave the platform, you need special skills.

Flexibility: When your co-passenger wants his toothpaste (which he kept in his suitcase below all of your seats) you have to be flexible enough to raise your legs and for long enough for him to find the carton.

Note: said passenger eventually could not locate his toothbrush and used toothpaste and fingers to clean his teeth. Here.

Where we brush our teeth on a train. Photo by the author.

Balance: Drinking hot tea you make yourself from a tea bag and powdered milk on a moving train tests your balance.

One of the railway meals. Photo by the author.

Co-ordination: Making your bed and layering the blanket over the sheets needs coordination.

There you go!

The Indian Railways 3-tier AC Fitness Test.

Don’t consider yourself fit unless you’re confident you can do this!



Tooth Truth Roopa Vikesh

I don’t just create smiles, I inspire them! Dentist, mom—Jamshedpur, India.