I am sure there are a lot many articles written in the train and this one is adding to the list.
I am right now in a train, on my way to Vizag from mumbai – a full 28 hours in the train. Yehhhh!
The train has always brought fond memories of my childhood when it was an annual ritual for us to go to my maternal grandparent’s house in Rajasthan. Criss-crossing the length of the country from one corner to another corner, with the fascinating journey itself taking about two complete days.
Those all familiar sights of the yellow board with black letters announcing the name of the station, trolleys with chips and Coke, Red dressed coolies running towards an arriving train (they always reminded me of Amitabh Bachchan), vendors shouting “Chai.. Chai.. Chai..”, the rail announcement ‘Kripiya dhyaan dijiye.. Gaadi number….” and the crazy commotion like they all have to catch a train. Well, i guess they did!
I remember this habit of buying newspaper at all major junctions, and being surprised at the fact that all of them carry the same news. So, my mind wondered, that the same movie is being discussed in Bhopal also, as in Hyderabad. This became my favorite hobby, to guess what news of the Raipur newspaper would make it to the Delhi newspaper.
What I was basically trying to do was segregating the national news from the local news. My young brain did not know this so implicitly at that time.
The train journeys made me proud of the diverse heritage of our country. The landscapes, rivers, forests, tunnels, farms, made me realize what a beautiful country we live in.
Another fond memory of the train journey is meeting new people. I realize I have always liked meeting new people and talking to them about varied things, right from a popular movie to the latest comic on the book shelves. In most of my train journeys, I have always encountered interesting people in the way, making me realize the diversity of the country.
Talk about train journeys and how can I forget the “wheeler” book trolley. One of the main reasons why i loved a train journey were the books. My book allowance would increase manifold during a train journey and I think this was more to keep me away from any mischief.
“Chacha chowdhary, tinkle, wisdom,..” and the likes would all comprise my adorable small book shelf on my return. I loved them so much that I used to get the entire collection hard bound, and saved for posterity.
An interesting thing to do while traveling in trains – remove the ear plugs! There are so many interesting conversations happening all around, eaves dropping on any one of them gives a whole new insight into the thought process of the common man. Well, this is the topic of discussion on presently in my compartment – the Aam Aadmi Party.
Sadly, after having started working, my train journeys have largely reduced mainly due to the time constraints.
In spite of this, I try to squeeze in a train journey whenever possible, making the most of it. This reminds me of a small poetry,
“My heart is warm with the friends I make,
And better friends I’ll not be knowing,
Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,
No matter where it’s going.”
― Edna St. Vincent Millay, The Selected Poetry
Train journeys is perfect time when I am all to myself without the irritating phone beeping all day (thanks to the intermittent network I tend to switch it off), and immersed in books and thoughts for the entire period.
Back to my book for now.
I am sure all of you too have fond memories of train journeys during your childhood, so which one do you remember the most?