Recently when I told my friends that I was going home, someone asked me whether I was going by air or by rail. It started off as an innocuous question, but very soon a debate raged. And within minutes we were trying to outshout each other and trying to prove how one is better than the other. I put all my money on rail travel and, luckily for me, the majority rallied behind me. From then on it was a one-way traffic as we firmly and unequivocally proved beyond doubt that traveling by train leaves you with the most memorable memories. Experiences aside, there is the adventure to be had during a train journey… after all, don’t we love a bit of adventure, DDLJ style!!
Why Train Journeys Are So Special:
I am sure that, just like me, you also harbor a dream of sweeping a lady off her feet…! Those hazel eyes, baby-soft skin, and Mona Lisa-like smile keep you awake at night…I understand, but still a person can only dream so much. Considering how romantic train journeys can be, especially on a full-moon night when all the people in the compartment are sleeping like a log, you just need to find a restless soul like yourself and, God willing, the sparks would fly. So book a train journey –it could well be your passport to the Hall of Fame of love!!
I have never had more fun than with a group of likeminded buddies accompanying me on a train journey. Believe me, you will literally forget all the troubles of the world and get swayed by the histrionics that is unfolding in front of you. And unless there is a self-righteous aunty in the compartment to spoil your party, you don’t have to hold yourself back…sing, dance, play cards, or do whatever catches your fancy (only remember not to be offensive and indecent) –and see how your co-passengers look at you jealously and wait for an opportunity to join in!
Travelling with family is akin to a big picnic party where every member is animated. This positive vibe even infects others putting a smile on their face. Then, the train chugging along the track also delights the children, who rather than sitting silently alongside their mother are more interested in exploring this giant engine. Mom, it has such big wheels, and they are made of iron…isn’t it strange? And it makes such strange, explosive sounds, why is it, daddy? Get ready to be bombarded with questions!
There is a full-fledged market inside the train; a mobile-market, I stand corrected, which are run by single individuals selling stuff starting from cigarettes to Chinese mobiles to clothes to gods-knows-what-not. I suggest if you don’t want to buy expensive gifts for a friend, try your luck here (I didn’t say ‘girlfriend’ because I don’t want you to blame me if your relationship goes caput for gifting her counterfeit item!!).
If you are a foodie, get ready to pamper your taste buds as the meals, apart from being hygienic and healthy, are finger-licking good. Just gorge yourself on the delicious meals and breakfasts…be it vegetarian or non- vegetarian stuff. For short distance trains, where catering service is not available, you can easily buy eating items from the many stalls that line the platform.
India is not just about cities and concrete buildings. As someone rightly said, the true beauty of India lies in its countryside and what better way to explore it than through a train journey. It takes you to the interiors of the country, places where people even today lead a normal laid-back life, where nature is seen as integral part of life… so soak in the glory of the countryside, breathe the unpolluted air and sway to the zigzag movement of the train as it meanders through valleys, rivers, and forests.
You rarely come across a more colorful lot than the one travelling on an Indian train. Some speak a language you may not understand a thing, others wear dresses you wouldn’t even if someone pays you a hundred bucks, while even others may discuss anything but cricket –the diversity is mindboggling. Indian railways is a common thread that binds these diverse people who may be different in many ways, but get along very nicely. Indian Railways, tenu jawab nahi!!