Monday, January 13, 2014

Rail Gaadi

I sit on the top berth of an express train, lightly rocking back and forth to its rhythm, oddly reminded of the classic Ashok Kumar track that gives this post its title. The train winds its way to, um...who cares where it's going? It has different destinations for different people. But for me it moves in synch with my heart beat.

I've always been a hopeless lover of train travel. It is an almost childlike obsession. Everything about a train journey makes my innards launch into a series of overjoyed flips. The chug chug of the engine. The deafening blast of the siren announcing departures and arrivals, sending people into a flurry of panicked activity every time. Coolies in red, spilling in and out of the platforms, lugging impossible amounts of baggage on every possible body part they can. Hapless squatters scattered around the platform, destitute but purposeful. The feeling one gets as the train starts moving slowly out of the station, flanked by happy and sad goodbyes on both sides, inside and out. The feeling of leaving your home behind in pursuit of a new place, for every city, no matter how often visited, holds the charm of an entirely new place for me.

All you ever got to do on a train journey is eat, sleep, look out the window and maybe read a book or magazine, or play games. I'm not one for striking up lengthy conversations with copassengers, unless someone REALLY interesting happens to sit beside me (which rarely ever happens to me, alas). I once made friends with a Russian student on board a train to Pune. It was quite coincidental that I was a national level chess player back then, so we had something to talk about. That was as far as I went, though, in being adventurous or forthcoming on a train. Otherwise, it is just the window, a good book and I, happy and content in each other's company.


I've taken along Jeet Thayil's famed Narcopolis to read.
An appreciative note about the Rajdhani express also deserves mention here. It may not be the Japanese superfast Maglev, but it is cool nevertheless, and fast. Real fast. We'd already crossed the borders of 3 States within 2 hours of setting foot on the train

Anyhow, it's getting livelier in here as people are getting up and coffee is being served. Yum. It's about time I got down and about with my routine of eat-read-look out the window all over again. Ah, the joys of a carefree train ride. I wish it could go on and on, and on.



[This post was written on a train 2 days ago, but owing to poor network connectivity, I couldn't upload it right then. So here's reproducing it, as is. Pardon the poor formatting please, mobile blogging isn't as much a piece of cake as it's hyped to be. Will be back with another post very soon. Stay hooked!]
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