Remembrance of Great Indian Train Journeys;
It was an art, the art of slipping in the General Compartment of crowded Malabar Express. The art of sleeping over the luggage rack. At nowhere else we used ceiling fans as shoe racks.
Its all art. Art of seat reservation in day trains; you need to carry a hand kerchief for such emergency situations. The art of borrowing the co-seater's newspaper. The art of resting legs on opposite seats. Even the art of venting off at the shaky restrooms.The art of moving in and out of the Mumbai suburban.
Indian Railway offered the signatured delicacies and the watery coffees.Had sipped in more than a hundred of them. Pazhamporees of Kozhikode, Meduvadas of Chennai, Ankurs(grapes) of Ahmedabad, Idli nastha at Bandra, Appam-mutta curry of Shornur, Onion Oothappas of Andra(on fresh round green leaves), Vada Pav of Madgao, Masaladosas of Uduppi, Lassis of Gandhidham. Memories down the broad guage.
Had a few acquaintances through my journeys; the middle aged man who talked about his son's jeans which has never been washed. The students who closely listened to the technical aspects of the train. The Penthecost sister who read my mumbai diaries with a smile. The boy who boasted of charging mobiles from the mango leaf. The women who sold jasmine and malli inside the chennai suburbans. The man who carried his brother's dead body.The Hijadas of Mumbai who made their living from trains. The women of Kutch who enquired about my dreams and lot more to the list.
I had collections of the thick hardboard tickets which no more exists. A few from the yellow coloured ones the Mumbai suburban. All safe in my wallet
The journey would continue.
It is better to last it for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way
-Ithaca (Constantine Cavafy)
When my mind is longing for the next vacation, i stay pampering these frames. Snaps from an Ahmedabad-Chennai Trip three years before.