It was February 2007, I was on my flight from US to India – on a journey to start another journey (to get married 🙂 )
Anyways, I was browsing through in flight movies, just killing time, and thought to watch one of the movies about “lions” and “witches” – which sounded quit boring as a concept!! 🙂
The movie started with what looked like a world war scene – “another world war movie” I thought.
So I was contemplating changing the movie, but then suddenly the tone of the movie changed.
In place of fighter aircrafts bombing European towns, now the scene was of a train going through green fields and hills
– with four brothers and sisters on that train, leaving their home behind and going to a place unfamiliar to them!
The music being played on background was one of the most beautiful music I have ever heard (later I came to know it’s “Evacuating London”
) – I think that scene/song combination had that dreamy effect when “everything else disappears and you feel all alone” – although I was surrounded by hundreds of tired, cranky flight passengers!
In short, I dont know why but that train sequence immediately touched me, even now when few years have passed by, and I have seen that scene multiple times – but still when I see that scene I feel something which is hard to explain. Even that song is always on “Top Played” song list in my itunes! 🙂
Come to think of it … this fascination with trains could be because of the train journeys I have gone through with my family (papa, mom & bhaiya) in my earlier years – like every summer vacation going to meet relatives, cousins when I was very young … I think I used to wait whole year for those train journeys … I think I loved to watch the landscape from the train (still do)
I can even recommend two of my most frequented and favorite train routes –
Chandrapura to Patna on “Superfast” train 🙂 [Map
This journey starts from an Industrial / coal mine belt of Bihar – the chota nagpur area – then it goes to more green places in Bihar, I think it passes some of the greenest parts and probably deepest “ghati’s” of Bihar. The Ghatis (valley) are so deep that one would have goose bumps just looking down the window. Lastly, I think my favourite part was those three tunnels it used to cross on that route, I think it was of favorite of almost everyone on that train (when train used to come out of tunnel – I think 80% of passengers used to have smiles on their faces . rest 20% looked indifferent, like it was just a short blip to whatever they were doing – like reading, chatting etc)
Delhi to Gaya on Neelanchal/Puri express [Map
These trips were taken later part of my years (age 10-16 I guess) … most of these trips were accompanied by Mom. Chatting with Mom and watching landscape was the usual pass time, but not enough to cover whole journey, so I started adding more ideas on those journeys – like carrying a diary and noting down things. Like, one wierd idea was to note down each and every station that comes en route. (there are 10-15 “big stations” on that route, they come on interval of 1-2 hours each. However every 3-4 minute the train passes “small stations”, which are small enough for the “express” train to not stop there.)
Now, this was a good passtime, as I was able to enjoy landscape and do something “productive” 🙂 …. the problem was I was not able to jot down the complete list in one journey – because a) I used to be asleep half of the time and b) the train runs at high speed, so it is easy to miss if you are not attentive enough.
You can imagine that I had to get prepared/attentive before the station is coming (usual signs were field will start disappearing, the train tracks will start increasing – like one track is giving birth to two tracks etc 😀 … and you can guess how “big” the station is by observing the number of track increase)
Finally I had the complete list after 3-4 tours of the same route (means 3-4 years, since we used to go each summer vacation) – that list later became one of my proud possession :). In later journeys I will still carry that diary with me … just to predict exactly how many minutes it will take to reach next “big station”, and amuse my mom & brother and fellow passengers. Note – the usual “train time tables” only used to have “big station names” but my database had both big & small train stations! … see! 🙂
Looks like I am getting carried away on this topic 🙂 … but that will explain my passion for this topic 🙂
So, anyways, there are still many more journeys which I have not taken yet, which I plan to do some point of my life – India is such a big country, the most of which I have not seen. Places where I feel I am suppose to go, but have not been yet. People I feel I am suppose to meet, but have not met.
for now, I can just dream on … thinking that someday I will! … probably someday I will have complete database of all small stations all across India!! 😀
Found the image here
– with a caption of – “A rare photo of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and bullock carts” — ca. 1930, Darjeeling, India — A steam driven passenger train negotiates a bend on a narrow track which descends towards Darjeeling. Two “brake men” ride at the rear of the end carriage. — Image by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS