My childhood was filled with lot of beautiful memories of train travels. As I grew up train journeys got reduced and my last train travel was from Chennai to Salem in 2012 an eventful year. But I continue to cherish those memories and within no time I can travel in my mind to any of those moments. During such times I can even smell the unique scent associated with Indian Railways.
Now the reason I wanted to write this blog was a thought which I used to have while travelling in trains. This thought is linked to the night time travel in trains. Night time in long distance travel is a very interesting experience. As darkness slowly engulfs the environment within the train will get busier. Those days it used to be the dim yet bright yellow lights which have now been replaced by white fluorescent bulbs. People used to get ready for having their dinner and the entire compartment will be more alive with passengers and merchants.
The scenario becomes more interesting when the train stops at a station with tea/coffee vendors walking to and fro in the platform. The cool drink salesman making triiiiiiiiiiiiiing sound using the bottle opener on the bottles. The scent of hot medhu vadai and omelette will trigger the hunger inside you.
Slowly the activities will reduce and passengers will settle down as the train runs through the lonely track with the light through the window falling over the bushes and changing shapes and running along with the train. Observing that light by resting your face over your arms which rests on the window as the window flowing through your hair is one exhilarating experience. The wind which was warmer during the evening would have become colder. The wind rubs your eyes with your eyelids dancing to the tune of the wind.
Once all lights are switched off with most of the windows rolled down lying on your berth and experiencing the to and fro rocking of the train is one great lullaby. Now at this time when all activities have died down and the dim yellow lights have been replaced by the blue night lamps the train will stop at some stations. Waking up at that time and observing the station which is asleep is a calming experience. Many times I have wished for that experience to last forever. The trolleys at rest, the bags and bags of luggage lying around the platform, a man sleeping on the concrete seat in the platform are worth seeing.
Now sometimes we will be lucky to notice another train going in the opposite direction has also stopped. From this train we will be able to observe the dimly lit coaches of that train. We can notice one or two people moving around inside the coach. That is when the thought which I mentioned earlier in the post used to pop in my mind. When watching the people in that train some sleeping few lazily moping around my thoughts wander about where those people are going and what those people are going through right at that moment. Sometimes I have wished to become part of that journey and experience whatever they are going through.
I am struggling to put in words the exact thought that used to to go through in my mind. But it was one unique experience which will always linger in me.
We should thank GOD for the ability to imagine. We can experience so many things without even moving a finger and by just sitting at wherever we are sitting.