It’s 5.45 in the morning. I’m surrounded by so much noise, action and drama that it feels like it’s mid-day. People checking their seats, trying to get their bags up in the storage space, haggling with coolies, buying magazines in a rush, rushing for a quick coffee/tea…a typical morning at the railway station. Me? I just about made it into the right compartment, hauled my bag up and got my kids seated before the train puffed out of the station!
There are some sights and sounds that amaze me every single time – the Indian family living abroad explaining (at the top of their voices) to their kids why they should speak quietly, the family of 4 that has about 15 smallish bags struggling to squeeze them into the storage bins, the person with one humungous bag bargaining with the coolie at the last minute, small kids wailing, my kids wanting chocolate or any other kind of junk….oh, the list is endless.
What makes me repeat this journey time and time again? The destination, of course – Madras, nalla Madras. I love everything about it. But in addition to this, it’s the joy of the journey itself. The Shatabdi Express’ lovely coaches that make you forget that you’re actually traveling Indian Railways! The clean bathrooms, excellent service and the invariable friends I make on the train thanks to the kids antics…all this and more is what I love.
Happy Holidays everyone!