Monday, October 09, 2006

THE TRAIN RIDE

My love of trains goes back as far as I can remember.The trains in India are as ancient as India itself, it looks like part of the landscape. Much of the Indian life is lived within sights of the railway station or the train tracks. The Indian railway is not merely a way of going to and from work but rather a solution to the complex demands of family life. Births, deaths, marriage and religious festivals all require a journey home. At the time when I was growing up in India air flights were expensive so most people depended on the train.

My father was home once a year, I looked forward so much to that visit because not only did I get time to spend with him but he would take me and my younger brother for train rides. We would usually go from one station to another but sometimes we would just ride the train all day and then take the return train home. The exciting part was there was no destination.

I remember one such day, scattered showers of the monsoon had begun to appear, I sat by the window in the train, looking out. I could see the rice fields, planting had begun and it was a luscious green. The cool air filled my nostrils, I could smell the fresh earth,the children playing in the fields appeared happy with no care in the world. I wanted to be one of those children, the expanse of the green fields and wild flowers beckoned me.

At the first stop, I see people scurrying back and forth, you can tell the long distance traveler because they always carrying a big trunk. The trunk had many uses, children would use it as a seat, when lunch was served it converted to a table and you suddenly felt like home, it was also used as a back or head rest.

Across the tracks I see many vendors selling food, books, trinkets and even sunglasses. One cannot miss the meals on wheels, hot tea and also vegetables and rice. I always liked the hot masala peanuts which was wrapped in note book paper, after eating the peanuts I would try and figure out what was written and wonder who the book belonged to .

The train thunders on, passing small villages . I see men and women washing clothes by the river and mud huts with grass roofs in the distance. We pass by a bridge and I see cattle grazing. It was a clear evening after a rainstorm, there was not a dark cloud in the sky , the blue color reflected in the pools of water in the paddy fields.

I keep gazing out of the window, the skies slowly begin to get darker and soon all that can be seen is the flicker of lights in the distance which gets brighter as we reach the station. Very few words are exchanged the whole trip, it was a time to see and enjoy the world outside of my home.

Suddenly the train comes to a halt, I feel my fathers hand on my shoulder, it was time to disembark. He gets himself a hot cup of tea and gets us some peanuts. I was too excited to eat. I can feel my fathers hand gripped in mine, as we make our way home. I had been on this beautiful journey and had spent time with my father, I wished this train ride could have gone on forever.

140 comments:

Sweta Mohanty 9:15 AM  

Beautiful blog :)
Train journeys indeed are fun. Especially in Monsoons...I could relate with most of your post.
Keep writing!

Eclipsed Thoughts 9:48 AM  

reminded me of my first train journey from delhi to heydrabad. well, that was so nice and i was very excited... i had never been on a train before or seen any... we had no trains in nepal. Now also, we have just one track and only one train.

watching monsoon out of the window of the sizzling train is so nice... i have experienced it a couple of times.... nice one you got here.
TY

starry nights 11:33 AM  

Sweta..welcome to my blog and please do come again.thank you.

starry nights 11:34 AM  

Thank you eclipsed thoughts. I think a train ride is one you will always remember.

sudhav 1:35 PM  

Lalitha, so well written.it reminded me of my journey in train during younger days...we used to have fight as to who will sit near the window..and when i grew up and started traveling alone from mumbai to chennai i used to love to turn on my walkman and sit near the window and just gaze out..ho lali, its such a wonderful write up...

BTW, how r u feeling dear..how is ur back pain..has the date been finalized for the surgery that u had said? take care.my prayers are with you...

archana 1:43 PM  

Beautifully written, starryN, you took me back in time. Thnak you

Arjun Ramakrishnan 1:46 PM  

I share that same love and longing for train rides. you've narrated a very typical train journey in a beautiful way.

starry nights 3:13 PM  

Sudhav..thank you. I loved to just sit and gaze out of the window. my back surgery is scheduled for nov 6th.please pray that all goes well.

starry nights 3:13 PM  

Archana..thank you.

starry nights 3:14 PM  

Arjun..welcome to my blog and please do come again.thank you.

Twisted DNA 4:49 PM  

That is a lovely post. Felt nostalgic reading it.

Did it read it right? Your father is home only once a year?!

indianangel 5:13 PM  

True! starry! everybody would have enjoyed a train ride in their life! especially when it goes via the tunnels and the mountain gorges its just awesome!

samuru999 5:27 PM  

Starry
I really enjoyed that very much!
I love trains also!
Thanks for sharing that...it was very nice!
And, I too will keep you in my prayers!
Surgery is not far off!

Take care!

Margie

Sanjay 5:31 PM  

Lovely post. I am the kid of a railway dad, so I always grew up associated with trains one way or another. As they say if you truly want to experience India you should travel by train. People on the train are often a microcosm of India and the vibrant alive place that it is.

SCRIBBLEZ TO WAKEUP 6:16 PM  

Hey..First, U have a FAB template..It is just so much in synch with starry nights, ofcourse thts obvious but its very very nice...

The train journeys u have described sound so calm and none of the hassels of travelling were every in your mind, maybe extremely positive and focused on the journey...Like tht perspective! :)

priya 6:50 PM  

Starry:

That reminds me of my train journey from north-east to south in C'dal Express. Those days are the best forever.

starry nights 7:22 PM  

Twisted dna..thanks.yes My father's job took him to different parts of India, so instead of moving the whole family he would come home once a year. but would stay for a couple of months.

starry nights 7:23 PM  

Indian angel..thank you.

starry nights 7:23 PM  

Margie..thank you. I need all the prayers I can get.

starry nights 7:24 PM  

Sanjay..so true. life in India would not be the same without trains.

starry nights 7:25 PM  

Scribblez..thank you.the template is courtesy of yogi.

starry nights 7:26 PM  

Priya..so true. thse days can only be memories, will not be experienced the same way again.

Aditi 8:21 PM  

Very beautifully put, somehwere in there was my childhood too
=)

Sunita 8:42 PM  

Beautifull starry, felt nostalgic:)

Neers 9:04 PM  

such nostalgia! sweet, really sweet, Starry! :)

Anali 10:21 PM  

There is something romantic about trains. The thought of a train ride seems like something from another era and you are actually part of the journey, seeing the vast landscapes close-up and sharing future memories. Very nice.

artnavy 10:27 PM  

I enjoy train journeys only 2nd class- very evocative post.

Gauri 10:31 PM  

As always Starry, a beautiful post.

Felt very nostalgic cos it took me to my childhood days when I used to visit South India with my parents during the summer holidays.

And yes, train journeys have a distinct charm of their own.

itchingtowrite 10:33 PM  

I always liked the hot masala peanuts which was wrapped in note book paper, after eating the peanuts I would try and figure out what was written and wonder who the book belonged to . MEE too. sometimes u wud get answer sheets with the scores ! i used to wonder where mine would have gone! very graphically written & i can identify with it. lovely

Keshi 10:48 PM  

beautiful memories of a train ride...u said it the best Starry!

Keshi.

Sreejith Kumar 11:03 PM  

:-( I have never travelled on a train till date!

KK 11:15 PM  

Very nostalgic post starry!!Very nicely written... When I was a kid I used to enjoy so much while going in a train. :)

mona 11:39 PM  

hello friend,
first time to ur blog,
but beautiful composition.. you hav eexpress ur feeling so nicely it reminded me of my childhood days...

take care.

Nisha 11:42 PM  

It's been ages since i travelled by train. In a group with family or friends, there's nothing to beat the fun of a train journey. The singing, the games, the food at every station... hmmmm... brings back so many memories. My favourite train journey's have always been the one's into Calcutta. The train has to enter W. Bengal and one can smell the luchi-aloo dum and matka chai... !!!

Srijith Unni 12:03 AM  

Hi Starry,

This was such a beautiful post. Most of the sights and sounds you have described have been equally treasured by me, in all my train journeys. Even today, though the flight rates have come down considerably, I still prefer the trains.. My friends tell me that i romanticize too much but nothing can really be better than a journey on a train..

With Best Regards,
Srijith Unni.

Priyankari 12:37 AM  

nice post:) though i have never enjoyed local train journeys as much, but long journeys are fun. it was fun to read about a new experience, nice one:)

Deepak Gopi 1:13 AM  

Hi..
I always prefer train to bus.
Once I went to Mumbai by train,The train got derailed in a place between Pune and Mumbai.Fortunately there had been no casualities.I reached Mumbai after 6 long hours than the original time.
I had been anchoring a morning show called Shankoli at Doordarshan D.D 4.

adi 2:04 AM  

hmmm
i wish that train journey would never have ended ;)
tws beautiful starry

Jeevan 2:20 AM  

We can realize you joy on these words.
Traveling on Trains are nice experiance, the track sounds have a new music. Its my wish to travel in Train while raining:)

Michael 4:21 AM  

thanks for stopping by my blog..yours is pretty neat as well.

Ganesh Ranganathan 4:56 AM  

We would usually go from one station to another but sometimes we would just ride the train all day and then take the return train home.

hmmm starry, did you buy ticket, or without aa??

Run, run...Ticket checker is coming

hehe...just kidding :-d

Foodie's Hope 5:51 AM  

AWW!!! Starry, you pulled my heart strings!!Memories are beautiful!!
Cherish them!!

My best train ride would be betn B'lore and Mysore with a stop at Maddur to gorge on their Maddur vadas! YUM!!!

Lera 6:38 AM  

starry, Living through your nostalgic memories is a beautiful experience in a way.

The Brown eyed one 7:15 AM  

Nice post Lalitha. Reminds me of the very few train journeys that I have had and cherished. :-)

starry nights 7:53 AM  

Aditi..thanks.I am sure all children love trains.I like the calmness it brings when I just gaze out of the window.It is like reading a book.You are transported to so many different places in one ride.

starry nights 7:54 AM  

Sunita..thanks.

starry nights 7:54 AM  

Neers..thanks.Do you like train rides also?

starry nights 7:56 AM  

Anali..thank you.A train ride is romantic.want to take a train ride with J when I go to India.maybe from Bangalore to Chennai.

starry nights 7:57 AM  

Artnavy..thanks.you are right first class does not make it the way it should.the real experience is in 2nd class.You meet people and hear stories you never will in first class.

starry nights 7:58 AM  

Gauri..thanks.true trains have a charm in themselves.It was something I looked forward to every single year and was never tired of it.looking forward to another trip with J when I visit India next year.

starry nights 8:00 AM  

Itchingtowrite..true.sometimes there would be a low grade and i would wonder if the child got into a lot of trouble and sometimes it was fun to decipher the writing.

starry nights 8:01 AM  

Keshi..thank you.

starry nights 8:02 AM  

Srijith..welcome to my blog and please do come again.you are missing out on something really special, something that will stay with you all of your life. It did for me.it is something I have told my children and they love to hear about all my train rides with my father.

starry nights 8:03 AM  

Mona..welcome to my blog and please do come again.thank you.

starry nights 8:05 AM  

Nisha..I would love to take a train ride up north.I grew up in Bangalore so most of the train rides were in the south.

starry nights 8:06 AM  

Srijith unni..It is romantic indeed.A plane cannot give you that experience and feeling you get when you travel on a train.even after all these years, my father is long gone but I can relive it like it was yesterday.

starry nights 8:07 AM  

Priyankari..welcome to my blog and please do come again.thank you.

starry nights 8:09 AM  

Deepak..that must have been quite an ordeal.Hey so you are a news Anchorman.thats neat.

starry nights 8:11 AM  

Adi..thank you.It could have gone on forever and I would have been just as happy to just look out of the window and enjoy what I saw.there was so much to see and learn.different views of life and times.

starry nights 8:11 AM  

Michael..thanks for stopping by and please do come again.

starry nights 8:12 AM  

Jeevan..go for it.I think you will enjoy the ride.

starry nights 8:14 AM  

Ganesh you are funny.My father was a govt employee, dont know if he would take a chance of getting caught.He must have bought tickets because we did not have to run from the ticket collector and we did not have to hide when he came.

starry nights 8:15 AM  

Foodie's hope. I have travelled by train from Bangalore to Mysore and have stopped by and had the Medhu vadda's and also the chenapatna toys.

starry nights 8:18 AM  

Brown eyed one.. I think when I was growing up the trains were not as crowded and it was a pleasure to ride the train.

Mr. J 9:36 AM  

This post sure took me on a train ride. For moi, the train ride was more of travelling in the general compartment with just one bag and a pack of smokes and whole bunch of friends at the beginning of the semester holidays. And the best seat was near the door. :D

Ohh that was soo long time ago, i wish I could do it again.

nlonve (nu-lo-ne-vei) 10:00 AM  

:)... train rides are like life, each ride completely different from the last or the next.... There is a charm to it that is amazing... nice nostalgia :)

shankari 1:20 PM  

oh yeah, I wholly agree with you, on my recent trip, I went on the train and I enjoyed it as much as I did when I was a child.

Poetry by Kai 1:52 PM  

i wanna go on a train....it sounds like fun

hugs
:-]

mathew 2:08 PM  

It gets me nostalgic..those train sojourns are anytime better than those comfy metros in big cities!!

starry nights 2:30 PM  

John..the best seat was near the door! you were always ready to hop off.why not the window? I thought everyone loved the window seat.thank god for 2 window seats I never had to fight with my brother for one.

starry nights 2:31 PM  

nlonve..welcome to my blog and please do come again.you are so right every ride was different.

starry nights 2:32 PM  

Shankari..true.I still love trains.

starry nights 2:33 PM  

Kai..you should go on a train.it is really an experience you will never forget especially by the countryside.I want to take the Amtrack to one of the new england states. it would be fun.

starry nights 2:34 PM  

Matthew..have to agree with you.nothing like the train.

Blessed 4:03 PM  

I have ridden on a train one time and that was from Paris, France to Nice, France. We slept in couchettes. It was amazing.

When I was about 9-10 years old, we moved from California to KY (I was born in KY) and we moved to this house to where a train track was very close. I loved listening to the train go by. I loved watching the train go by. I don't know what age I was when the tracks were taken up. I do know that I missed hearing the thundering of the train barreling down the tracks, the whistle, the warm wind that came off of it.
I still would like to take a trip and take a train. Someday I hope.

Fresh Ink 6:30 PM  

Lovely post starry...I've always been fascinated with train rides esp train rides in India. They seem like so much fun!

southpaw 7:15 PM  

There is really no fun like a journey in a train in India and specially the long ones where u get to see the diversities of our country...:) Thanks for putting me back in good thoughts..

Robyn 8:04 PM  

This is so beautifully written! Someday I would love to visit your country. I actually have many friends from all parts of India (and have even been invited to a few weddings!) The best way in my opinion to see all areas of a country is by train. When I went to Italy, we traveled from Rome to Florence to Venice by train through the mountains and it was spectacular! :)

♥Robyn

divya 8:33 PM  

hi!! thanks for visiting my blog!!

smiley 9:54 PM  

brought back memories of the days of steam engines :) good post

Prashant 9:59 PM  

Agree Agree Agree.....
Train are life line of India...
And its reallly fun, sometimes not much fun when you dont have confirmed ticket but that too has its own way of enjoyment,travelling in train.
We used to travel durin our college days.
And for daily commuters its like another family.
Even i make a lot of friends during my train journies.

deepsat 10:08 PM  

nice post!! that made me feel so nostalgic abt my childhood!!

i used to go to my native place every summer during holidays. the train journey used to take abt three days in those days!! it was so much fun!! going thru all kinds of places!! my fav used to be the godavari bridge,

;-))

Mindinside 10:28 PM  

This same feeling i get when having an air flight...
Could this fly forever and never land.

Wish you many many nice train trips

chandni 11:36 PM  

somehow trains have played suh an impotant role in our childhood...and have been such an integral part fo one's life...the thrill...the landscap and the fields...

I wonder if our children will ever feel that way abt trains!!!!

geetha 11:54 PM  

I can imagine your excitement as a kid.. as I felt the same excitement in my boys when they went on their first train ride with us!

Nice memory..

Ganesh Ranganathan 5:11 AM  

You have been tagged....:-))

Rupali_Srivastava 6:55 AM  

Well written ! Very descriptive and earthly.Can relate to it
Keep up the good work

starry nights 7:35 AM  

Blessed. You are right. Just the sound of the train passing by made you feel good. When my son was little I got him an alarm clock which was a train and the alarm was the sound of the train.he loved that( or I should say I loved it more than him.)

starry nights 7:36 AM  

Fresh Ink..Yes Journey by train through India is a completely different experience from just a commuter train.

starry nights 7:36 AM  

Raj..thanks. how are you.

starry nights 7:37 AM  

Robyn..you should if you can. and a train ride through the country is a must. you will not want to get off that train.I wish my children could have experienced this.

starry nights 7:38 AM  

Divya.thanks for stopping by and please do come again.

starry nights 7:38 AM  

Smiley..thanks.

starry nights 7:39 AM  

Prashant..true. trains are a life line in India.

starry nights 7:40 AM  

Deepsat..that must have been awesome.three days on a train. I am sure you have some beautiful memories.

southpaw 7:40 AM  

I m doing good buddy, u tell me? what happened with the tests? when r u gonna get it operated?

starry nights 7:41 AM  

Thank you mindinside. Actually for me I hate flying.especially long flights.would enjoy a long train ride instead.

starry nights 7:43 AM  

Chandni..true. I have thought about that and wished my children could have my memories. but they have their own memories.completely different from mine but I hope when they are older they can look back fondly and tell their children of their memories.

starry nights 7:43 AM  

Geetha..thank you. I am sure they were thrilled.Did they fight for the window seat?

starry nights 7:44 AM  

Ganesh thanks. I will look into it. I still have a tag pending from Alex which I have to do.

starry nights 7:45 AM  

Rupali..thank you and welcome to my blog and please do stop by again.

Shionge 7:55 AM  

Hiya! :D You have turned back the clock for me as I remembered my solo train ride from Singapore to KL when I was about 16 yrs old :D

Thank you

Sunil Parmar 8:49 AM  

That was beautiful.....I've also travelled a lot in Trains over here & literally the experiance is worth it...So why don't you pay a visit to your parents?

starry nights 1:40 PM  

Shionge..welcome to my blog and please do come again.thanks.

starry nights 1:42 PM  

Sunil..thanks. I am planning on making a trip to India next year as I am going to have back surgery in 2 weeks.I want to take a train ride from Bangalore to Kerala.but J says a car drive is better.its going to be a toss up.

starry nights 1:43 PM  

Raj..have been busy with a lot of tests and dr visits. my surgery is scheduled for Nov 6th.please pray that all will go well and I will be up and dancing before the year end.take care.

Id it is 3:36 PM  

What a vivid picture you've created! That was some train journey you had...so enchanting that one could reminisce over it for a lifetime.

_Jonathan_ 6:44 PM  

The Train rides Rulz!!!

Hey... great new blog's look!...
Take care.

southpaw 6:52 PM  

Everything will be fine my friend, don't u worry abt anything..:)

justme 8:44 PM  

:-) Reminds me of my 3 day journeys of my summer vacations wen we use to go from Down South India to my grandparents place in Rajasthan..!! reminds me of all the fun we used to have..!! :-)

faith 10:26 PM  

I love train rides too..

very nice write up *smiles*

Sunny 10:27 PM  

Train journeys sure have a charm thats hard to find elsewhere... especially when you're travelling at night and you hear the insects and see the fire-flies outside. :)

Saira 10:58 PM  

Although a dont remember my first train journey...but this write up made me go back to my chilhood where evn i loved eating those peanuts or dal ...they used to taste so good..:)

Sunil Parmar 11:34 PM  

Hello Lalitha!!!
Hope you get well soon..:)
DO share about your train experiance.
Take Care....

Appu 11:39 PM  

train journeys used to be fun. esp the ones that span over days and lands. great to see the telephone poles whiz by, the air blowing on your face. Now the pressures of office life demans air travel, but then i enjoy some of these rides once in a while.

Abhishek Upadhyay 11:45 PM  

Those were the good old days when train journey used to incite some beautiful memory.I am a regular train traveller and I feel as the time passes the railway journey is losing its charm and innocence.Too much crowd, crooks,theives,mismanagement are taking heavy toll on our beautiful railways.
What a coincidence I am leaving for Delhi today by train.:)

Has to be me 1:58 AM  

Thats such a sweet post Starry! Train rides r fun indeed. I like them too (but wish the Indian trains can be a bit cleaner....esp the loos!) I waiting to take my kids by train this time when we visit India! Have fun dear!

ToOothlEss WOndeR! 2:08 AM  

That was a beauty of a post.
loved it.
brings back the good times with the big happy family.
well, the big happy family is still there, but your post reminded me of how much i used to enjoy those summar holiday trips aross the country that we used to make on them brown trains.

now the trains are blue, and i have nieces n nephews.
n i cant monkey around on the upper berths anymore. :(

ishita 2:49 AM  

longg time since i got here...! firstly...luv d template!!!!:))

and the post had me missin my days as a rly kid...i grew up arnd trains...hearin abt trains...living on a train!!! (dad opted to stay in rly saloon for almost 1/2 a year when posted to a new division once...lol we never had to pack our stuff wen we travelled!)....*sigh*...maybe sum day i'll write a post abt all that:)

thanks for takin me back and makin me relive my memories...esp. now wen i have very lil to smile about...

shruti 3:33 AM  

i do agree that train has its own charm but when you want to go home fast flights do fulfill your need.. its very difficult to get reservation in trains now a days..

starry nights 7:40 AM  

Id it is..Thank you.

starry nights 7:40 AM  

Jonathan..thanks.You like my look. A fellow blogger did that for me.I love it.

starry nights 7:41 AM  

Justme..thanks.

starry nights 7:42 AM  

Sunny..welcome to my blog and please do come again. Yeah I completely forgot about the insects and fireflies.

starry nights 7:43 AM  

Sunil..thank you

starry nights 7:44 AM  

Appu..welcome to my blog and please do come again.thanks. I can almost feel the cool breeze blowing in your face as the train whizzes by.

starry nights 7:45 AM  

Abhishek..hope you enjoyed your train journey. When I was growing up it was not that bad. I think now there are too many people and the trains are crowded, but I would still like to trvel by train.

starry nights 7:46 AM  

Saira..beautiful memories indeed.

starry nights 7:48 AM  

Hastobe me..thanks. I understand what you mean about the loos. I think if it were not for so many people boarding the train every day, it would be cleaner.I hope you take your kids even if it is for a short ride, I t is an experience to remember.

starry nights 7:49 AM  

Toothless wonder..welcome to my blog and please do come again. I am glad you have good memories of your train rides.

starry nights 7:51 AM  

Ishita..I am glad you like my new look. love yours also. Am glad I was able to bring a smile to your face. take care of yourself,

starry nights 7:53 AM  

Shruti..very true, when you need to be at a certain time I would prefer planes. We went on these train rides just for fun.we ususally had no time or destination in mind.I think that was the most fun part.If we worried my dad enough we could be riding the train all day.

geetha 6:55 PM  

Not really.. the train was quite empty, so both of them got the wondow seats ;P
Phew! If not, I would have to face both of them fighting for it.. :)

Dotm 9:18 PM  

I loved seeing your countryside thru your train ride.
I rode a train once when we were on our High School Senior trip going from Fort Edward, NY where I lived then and we ended up in New York City. It was exciting. I grew up a short distance from the train station. There was a large wooded section and a canal between where we lived and where the track went by. We would lay in bed nights listening to the train whistle, but what I remember most was the loud noise they made when they were coupling a new car onto the end of the train. Today I listen to the same type noise, only it is made by semi trucks that have two large trailers connected to the cab. We used to call those trucks piggy backers because they had the second one added on.
Good luck with your back op.. Hope it leaves you feeling loads better.
I also loved the poem written by the little 11 yr old. nice tag replies also. I caught up with a lot of your great posts that I had missed lately.

Ashley 8:11 AM  

Ok, please tell me- what train were you on? What was the route?

I want to go there.

:)

preetha 5:17 AM  

oh I too love train journeys...Its always filled with beautiful experiences, be it a short journey or a long one. Thats a great blog!

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