Skip to main content

A Journey

Indian Railways
Train number: 18610
Boarding Station: Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Mumbai
Destination Station: Ranchi

Traveling long distances by trains is nothing new to me. However this particular journey in 2013 has been vivid in my memory. Thanks to my peanut salary and a last-minute travel plan, I could not book an air ticket for that trip. So, I decided to go by train. Cherry on the cake, I could manage to get a berth in the humble non AC sleeper class only.

My journey started on a scary note when I found a drunken passenger next to my seat. Thankfully he got off at Kalyan, the next station. I heaved a sigh of relief and waited for my other co-passengers to board the train. One middle-aged woman came and sat next to me. A married couple followed her. Two college going teenagers filled the remaining seats. And my long journey of thirty-nine and half hours actually started.

Sitting by the window, I enjoyed the view outside. Small talks followed. The middle-aged woman had come to visit her son in Mumbai. She complained about how her son had got a new job in Mumbai and how his salary was not enough to afford a good accommodation. The young married couple were expecting a baby and they were going to Allahabad- the wife's hometown. The teenagers were heading home for the vacation. For me, the best part about train journeys is that people tend to strike a conversation with fellow passengers. Especially, if you are traveling in a non-AC sleeper coach. The conversations are lesser in a AC sleeper coach and are minimal in a two hour flight.  It seems that duration (and price!) of a journey are proportional to conversations among passengers. "Do not talk to strangers," my parents warn me often when I travel alone. Nevertheless, I participate in such conversations.

I met curious glances when my fellow travelers came to know that I was on my own. There is a famous dialogue from a well known Bollywood movie- "Akeli ladki khuli hui tijori ke jaisi hoti hai" (A girl travelling alone is like an open treasure box). The glances of my co-passengers tried to convey this message (After all these years, multiple warnings and endless glances have still not deterred me from traveling alone).   

Next day, my eyes opened with the early morning shouts of tea vendors and hawkers. There is something magical about the hot tea in a kulhad. Or the Vada Pav or Pohe Jalebi served at the stations. One can make a long menu based on the local delicacies served at these stations. And there are occasional surprises too. By midday when I was feeling sleepy after lunch, two Naga Sanyasis hopped on the train from Naini, a small station before Allahabad. Kumbh Mela was after a month and they were going to Allahabad. Needless to say, it was quite shocking for my sleepy eyes to stare down at the Sanyasis (Ahem, Ahem).

Unfortunately, the rest of the journey was devoid of shocks and surprises. The train moved on to come up with new co-passengers, new stories and experiences. By then, I was getting drained from the long journey and slept like a log. Early next morning, I reached my destination to my sweet home.

**This post first appeared on my blog on Quora. 

Popular posts from this blog

The Transformation of a Foodie

Being a Bengali, I was taught to appreciate the taste of prawn, crab, Hilsa, Rohu, chicken, and lamb from a very tender age. Though vegetables are termed as "Ghaas Phoos" (that literally means grass) in a typical Bengali household, I was fed with quite a generous amount of spinach, okra, bitter gourd, beetroot, bottle gourd, and eggplant as well. I could not evolve as a fussy eater, thanks to my mother's stern looks at the lunch or dinner table. However, I also could not realize my love for food until I started staying in a hostel. Poha, Upma, Chole Bhature, Daal Baati, Gatte ki Sabzi, Malaiyo, Raw Mango curry, Thalipeeth, Appam, Pooran Poli, Pithala Bhakri- I was introduced to new flavors from various parts of India. At the same time, I started missing "Ghar ka Khana", the much sought-after homemade food.  
"Those who love to eat do not necessarily love to cook." -Writer of this blog post

It is said that people who love to eat can also cook good food. …

When I Met Harry

Harry came to my life when I was in the eighth standard. A bespectacled young boy with ruffled jet black hair, green eyes, and a scar on his forehead; a boy to fall in love with. Don't blame me as I was a teenager who wanted a spell of magic in her life and to run away to the Hogwarts. I hated being a muggle and aspired to become another Hermione Granger. I imagined myself boarding the Hogwarts Express and reaching Hogsmeade, going to that magical school, and learning to wave my wand. I had once written a secret letter to Harry on Valentine's day and later decided to keep it safe in my diary. When I watched 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' for the first time, I lost my mind (and heart!) over that young and extremely cute Daniel Radcliffe.  I remember keeping newspaper cuttings of anything and everything related to him. I still have them, safely secured in my old trunk. Well, that infatuation lasted for a couple of years till I graduated from college. And…

The Peace Amidst Chaos

In my mind, there is always a cobweb of thoughts running in a loop: worries about my parents' health, anxiety over the work deadlines, fear about my future; the thoughts go on and on. So, when I decided to take my parents on a short trip to Banaras, I was anxious over charting out the travel plan and executing it to perfection. My parents, on the other hand, were initially reluctant and later very excited to go to the holy city for the umpteenth time. But the bone of contention between us was the travel plan itself. While I was stressing on early reservation and booking for the trains and hotel, they were thrilled over traveling by a bus overnight and staying at a place with bare minimum facilities. No prizes for guessing that they are more adventurous than me. Needless to say, I could manage to book the train tickets only.
Banaras has a charm that never fades away. Though I have visited the city a couple of times, I still look forward to roam across those narrow by-lanes and rev…

Books and Coffee

As ridiculous as it might sound, at the end of a long tiring day, a perfect date for me means a large cup of coffee and an interesting novel to read. Yes, you have the liberty to label me as an anti-social and a nerdy introvert! I find it pretty amusing when someone tells me that reading novels is a wastage of time. Or that someone likes to go through work-related books and not elaborate literary pieces. 
An introvert raised as a single child, I have always found solace in my books. My love for storybooks started with Snow White, Cinderella, Peter Pan, and Little Mermaid. My father introduced me early to the monthly kids magazines- Tinkle, Champak, Nandan and Chandamama. I do not know if these magazines still exist. Billu, Pinki and Chacha Chowdhary followed soon. The Famous Five and The Little Women too entered into my life. Being a true Bong, Anandamela was an absolute necessity during Durga Pujo. The lazy afternoons of summer vacations were sometimes spent on Tagore and Sarat Chan…

Finding Happiness

There are a thousand things in my everyday life that I do not like. Peeling garlic, commuting through traffic, folding clothes and cleaning my closet, getting my hairy legs and hands waxed, looking at a pile of utensils in the kitchen sink, indulging in small talks with people or getting dragged into a discussion about makeup products (I know, this one makes me weirder)- the list of my dislikes is pretty long. 
Keeping my dislikes aside, I wonder about the little things in my day-to-day life that give me pure joy. Enjoying a big steaming hot cup of tea accompanied with my favorite biscuits is a bliss for me every morning. Feeling the warmth inside while gulping the hot tea makes me happy. Strange enough, I usually fail to appreciate such simple pleasant activities while rushing through my monotonous schedule.

After a bit of introspection, I have listed down a couple of things that take me to the 'happy zone'. Whether it is a long shower after a tiring day, a bowl of hot soup,…

A Tale of Gastrointestinal Turbulence

If you have read my previous post 'The Peace Amidst Chaos", you can get a faint idea about my breakfast menu in Banaras. Apart from searching my inner self on the banks of the Ganges, I tried to satiate my otherwise gluttonous soul with pipping hot Kacchori, spicy Alu ki Sabzi, Tamatar Chaat, Samosas, hot Jalebis, and some soothing cold Lassi topped with Rabri at the famous Pahalwan's Lassi shop. Not to mention, my sweet tooth (with a cavity) craved for hot, crispy Jalebis. My soul was satisfied after the week long trip. My stomach was NOT. 
Sitting at the airport, I heard the first rumbling sounds in my stomach. It was past midnight. I was dozing off in my chair when a faint explosive sound inside jolted me back to the present. Brushing it off as my stomach's call for food, I tried to sleep again. Little did I know that it was a warning call by my stomach, similar to the ones given by a volcano before it erupts. The call of Nature, they say. 
As soon as I settled do…