Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Train "Yaatra"

"kripaya dhyaan de dilli se mumbai aani waali gadi platform number baarah ke badle platform number chattiis pe aayegii..aayegii ..."

I had the pleasure of embarking upon  a train journey in India couple of years ago. My friend Sujatha and I were to take a late night train from Bangalore to Mangalore. We had booked a first class AC tier. We arrived at the railway station an hour early for the 9:30 PM train. I was taking in the typical Indian platform scene with elan. I was so excited to be a part of the liveliness of the station. The routine loudspeaker announcements regarding arrivals, departures, coolies carrying luggage, etc., continued almost non-stop. People were so busy trying to reach their destinations, that being pushed and shoved did not matter to them.  Part and parcel of the whole station experience I guess.  It’s only later when they get home to find out their wallet is missing that they realize that they should have paid attention to the people who were pushing them. One of them might have been a pick-pocket. The Shatabdi arrived on time. My friend and I found our “bogie’ and quickly settled down in our AC Coupe nothing less than a private hotel room. I was impressed! Soon the Express chugged away. The aroma of homemade sambar and rice quickly filled the compartment. We knew it was dinner time.  We missed the chatter that was going on outside our Coupe.  We decided  that to fully experience the train yaatra, we should travel by 2 Tier AC. We did just that on our way back to Bangalore. After the confusion of seating was finally resolved by a stubborn and arrogant ticket collector, we decided to introduce ourselves to the inquisitive families who were staring at us with great curiosity. Two of them turned out to be engineering students. Fun loving girls of today's generation.  They knew exactlly what they wanted for themselves. My friend and I immediately connected to their hilarious and brave adventures in college as we are ex engineering students ourselves.  Vendors came in selling all kinds of goodies.  One vendor even allowed me to use his mobile for free. I bought some cream biscuits from him and quickly saw a smile on his face. The biscuits worked well with “garma garam chai" that we drank out of an earthen pot.  Only wish we had a pack of cards at that point. Nonetheless we settled for “Antakshari”. After playing Antakshari for an hour or so, we decided to call it a night. We had to climb up to the second birth to our respective beds.  It was a pleasant journey. Ours was the last stop. We woke up when the train slowly pulled into the busy Bangalore railway station at the crack of dawn. I want to go again on a longer journey sometime in the near future. Till then, here is wishing you all a “Sukhad yaatra”…


  1. Indian Railway's platform ..always so full of life..emotions and expressions...anxious to catch the train...and happy to reach the destination while getting off it...every face is a story in itself...

  2. Thanks for your comment Amit. Simple pleasures in life keep me going - Maya

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