Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Day In Train


I came back today from a trip to Sikkim with my wingmates (sadly the last trip with them). Needless to say, holiday with 12 of your best friends is always rocking and the ending was to some extent depressing. I just didn't want to go back to the old routine after a week of great fun . And more than that, the thought that this would possibly be the last trip with some of my best friends was dispiriting. Our return journey was by Mahananda Express and was almost 24 hours long. I really have a great liking for the train journeys. Sitting by the window, watching vast fields, wind hitting the face, hair flying in all direction, electricity wires racing along with the train - dipping slowly and rising suddenly when a pole comes, constant rumbling sound of the train, conversations between total strangers. Poori, aloo ki sabji and achaar taste better than usual. Although this time, I didn't have the luxury of eating that. We passed through West Bengal, Bihar and UP. Three of India's most populated and most poor state. Travelling through them in a sleeper class coach is an adventure in itself. At every station, retaining the seat becomes a game. Most of my train journeys have been during night and hence the sight of vast agricultural fields was a little unusual for me. In fact, never before I have seen fields so vast, stretching everywhere your eyes can see. Some of them were green, some brown and some golden. One could also see small muddy ponds created by the rainfall. Children playing in them, animals resting in them, women washing clothes, all in the same pond. In the morning time, you could also see people defecating beside the railway track. You could see huts made up of sand with the roofs made up of hay. You could see India which is far away from cacophony of the vehicles, far away from the pukka roads, far away from the cellphones and ipods. You could see India where drinking water, sanitation and electricity remains a distant dream and about which you realize only when you are passing through them and about which you forget as soon you reach the next station which is when you are again consumed in the game. The night went well as I managed to have a good sleep. When I woke up in the morning, I could see someone sleeping in between the berths, a commonplace thing for Indian railways. Its really surprising to see how train accommodate people and how people accommodate in the train. Few hours later, we were back at the Kanpur station, back to the urban rush, back to the stinky smell, back to the old routine.

2 comments:

Kush said...

Really a nice one!

†J said...

A good write-up...