After all the planning that goes behind a trip, the moment the journey starts, it’s the most exhilarating feeling. For me, it’s the feeling I get when I get into the train. Train journeys have a charm of their own. Not too long but short duration journeys of 4-5 hours can give a lot to ponder on. My recent journey to Bombay was equally delightful.
F O O D
Food vendors bring tea, coffee, biscuits, chocolates, idli-chutney, sandwiches, cutlets, bhel and the ever green vada paav and make even a full stomach want more. The whiff of the delicious food enters the coach before the nasal, sing-along tone of the vendors does. On my latest journey, I intentionally did not get food from home, even though the cook offered to pack food, because my eyes were already gleaming with the though of the hawkers’ food! The moment my train started, I waited impatiently for any hawker to come by. Idli? Cutlet? Sandwich? Which hawker would come first? The bhel seller passed. I didn’t stop him. I didn’t like dry bhel much. At all, rather. But who could resist the rousing aromas of onion, lemon and chat masala! I ordered one finally (overpriced at Rs. 20) and didn’t regret it at all!
P E O P L E
Interesting, weird, irritating, funny and sometimes nice people you find during journeys. Rarely have I made a friend during any of my train journeys. Most people have just been interesting characters. People who occupy too much space (this happens with me frequently because I am thin and people think I don’t need space); people who talk loudly on phone; people who play songs loudly on their mobile phone assuming other passengers like their choice of songs; people who throw rubbish around. During my recent journey to Bombay, the girl sitting opposite me took up the entire leg space between both the berths and refused to realize. A chattering and nagging wife of a harassed looking husband didn’t stop talking. The whole family of 4 had a picnic and ate made homemade bhajiyas. 2 small girls sand Gujarati jingles for couple of girls. One of the girls fell down from the top berth and wailed. Their mother searched frantically for a lost gold earring. There were no interesting characters during my return journey and the journey felt quite bland!
B O O K S
A perfect time to devote yourself to a book. Our daily lives don’t give us time and energy to read books. it takes efforts and most of us don’t do that. A journey is the best time to read. I had been delaying completion of Jeffrey Archer’s Only Time Will Tell. I had been reading it slowly and that too during the short travel journey on my weekend home visits. I managed to finish off this book during the 3-4 hours I spent in the train to Bombay. Not only did the book become more interesting with each page, I am back to the good old habit of reading.
M U S I C
Happy, cheerful and soulful songs enrich a journey. There are numerous songs that have made my journey better at different phases of life. Some of the favourites today are Suddenly I see by K Tunhall, Emotion in Motion by Ric Ocasek, Hey Ya from Kartik Calling Kartik and the latest, Bhaag D K Bose from the movie Delhi Belly.
S C E N E S
Villages. Fields. Bridges. Rivers. Lakes. Hills. Towns. Old houses. Ruins. Abandoned factories. I especially like the fields and villages. I look, as far as my eyes can see, at the roads vanishing into faraway villages. Little towns with little houses, built close to each other, people sitting at the doorsteps chatting and children playing outside, not with toys and balls, but with each other. I often find myself imagining how it would be like staying in those houses or being in those small towns. What do the people do in their free time? What do they do for entertainment? Do they have electricity all the time? Do they have water problems?
T H O U G H T S
I can spend hours thinking. That is some feeling of being isolated even when you are surrounded by people. New things, new people and new situations trigger the chain of thoughts and may even give ideas! Who knows what brings out the creative best in you – during travel and when it is most unexpected!
Preparing for a trip can be quite a task but once the journey starts it’s for you to enjoy. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, after all. So true. I am already excited about my August Calcutta trip, which is going to involve air, rail and bus journeys. I can’t wait!