This sounds like a running commentary

But i’m a little surprised at myself. After a long long time seeing myself do random stuff is fun!

Last evening I checked into a hotel i’d booked earlier. I had a wonderful hot tub bath, a good footlong from Subway, a super-sized can of Coke (which I dislike but thanks to lack of availability of Sprite!). I watched Apocalypto partly before dozing off on the good bed, preceded by some media coverage of a murder (or being american homicide) trial which was a little disturbing.

I woke up and looked at myself and appreciated my physique on the mirror, One of those things i know will gross you readers out , but hey! seriously? You bet you do it every single day in the bath if you’ve a large mirror in your room. c’mon!

Then I came down to have a nice breakfast and I’ve no clue why but EVERY single time I am in a hotel and go down for a complimentary breakfast spread, I’m nervous. I nervous about my conduct while taking things, while baking the waffles, while taking those cut fruits, the orange juice, coffee or toasting the bread. I HAVE to mess up in at least one of these departments.

I get extremely conscious while eating using spoons and forks, most when I’m alone in a public place. Today I was standing next to the pop-up toaster waiting for my bread to pop up. As expected it took like a year to pop out and through that year sometime in September I decided it was time and turned the knob in the hope of the machine understanding that “Okay this guy doesn’t want me hot anymore, lemme throw the slices up in the air”. At least that’s what MY pop-up toaster does. But this one heated more and then I pressed a random button which turned on “Roast” and a few seconds later when the bread popped out it was darker than brown and short of being black. Alright! Alright! I said and walked away with a couple of sachets of sauce. I sat myself down on a table and started to eat. When I got to the scrambled eggs and bread I discover that I’d pulled out some Picanta sauce. Seriously! This country throws so many surprises at you every hour of your life it almost gets you a little cranky sometimes. And to top it my irrational nervous energy. Anyway so I finish the scrambled eggs breakfast and am about to get up, so I slide a little get up and hit the table.. lightly… but then when i sit back the couch has ended and I’m basically going half down. I almost fall on the floor with the paper plate in my hand containing all the rubbish from the breakfast. I shout “Oops!!!” and very obviously the whole breakfast crowd is now looking at me. I look at no one and like a regular embarrassed guy, look back at the couch with a look of surprise “Like how the hell did you decide not to hold me?” sorts and walk off slowly. And like the other other times, i’m thinking “These guys must be thinking These Indians (nodding their head)” .

I hate misrepresenting my own country people but i always end up making a fool of myself.. Whateva!

I then went out with a friend of mine to look around for places to stay. After shuttling between 5 places I finally land in this place which charges me relatively decent rate and has an attached kitchenette with the room. Feels like the smallest nice room you’d have. But I’m glad I got it. It’s right next to my office. So far I’ve relatively cruised through this trip without much worries or points of concerns. Lets see whats in store for the next three weeks.

This place is unfamiliarly vast. You can look into the expanse. To sit all alone in a room and see into that vast expanse is sometimes dreamy and sometimes a little scary. I haven’t felt that nervous fear of being in a new place in a long long time. I think the last I felt that was when I went to stay alone in Noida back in 2009 winter.

I have felt a nervous excitement of being in a new place all alone as a tourist a lot of times, but that’s the fun one. This one with a time period of 3 months is a mixture of both. I’m eager and skeptical both at the same time to discover whats in store for me and it has started!

Here’s to Denver, Colorado!

Drink me up hearties

WWF Camp – 1

A wildlife camp I attended as a kid of 10. One of the most amazing trips of my life.. where i learnt to live by myself and with a completely unknown set of people.

If ever you happen to visit Bokaro Steel City, there in the city center market is  a book shop called “Student’s Friend”. Yes, very aptly named shop. The owner of that shop is Mr. Rajkumar. A very soft looking, strict man, short with a wide face, and generally looking serious, but occasionally flashing a smile.

I was in my 7th grade. Considering i’d joined school as a 3 year old, let’s assume I was 10 (or 11 at the max). My mother got acquainted with Mr.Rajkumar through her teaching. She was a famous mathematics teacher in Bokaro in those days (later she moved into the Steel Plant and then we moved out of Bokaro). She had all kinds of publishers giving her free books of maths to market to the students, since she was part of the selection committee which chose the books to prescribe to the students. Student’s Friend was one of the bigger bookstores in bokaro and hence Mr.Rajkumar was introduced to mom in one of the meetings with the publishers. He was a member of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and since he’d become good friends with mom and dad, he introduced us to the club.

So around this time, the year being 1997, WWF was organising a hitchhiking camp to a nearby waterfalls called Jonha Falls, which was around 85 km from Bokaro. It was a hilly region and had a high waterfall which was quite a tourist spot among the state people.

He mentioned it to my mother and asked if she was willing to send me with his group of students from a public school. My mother agreed without much of a flinch. It was November 1997 and it was beginning to get cold. Diwali was over and the winter was setting in. These falls were among the hills and it was bound to be cold. I was into my winter vacations. I was asked if i was interested and I jumped out of the bed ready to board the next bus / train / cab to the place. Happiest guy around to leave the house and wander around on any given day.

So here we were, me and my dad, at 7 am on a winter morning standing in front of the Student’s Friend shop waiting for the trekker* which would drive us to the railway station. I boarded the trekker with a small backpack and a bedding. The backpack contained a couple of pairs of underwears, around 3-4 shirts, a pair of pyjamas and a couple of pairs of socks. The bedding had a cotton bedding with a thick dari* and a light quilt, all rolled up and tied with a nylon rope.

We set off and into the train. I knew not a single soul except Mr.Rajkumar, and that too quite faintly. But I was excited. I was going to go rock climbing, and stay in a tent in the middle of a forest, trek in the forest etc. all of which i’d always dreamt of doing.

We were about 2 hours into the journey when I saw Mr.Rajkumar talking to the other men who were accompanying us and after a few minutes of conversation they came into our bay in the train an announced us to pack up and be ready to deboard. Since the place which was closest to where we were supposed to camp didn’t have a proper train station, they had requested the driver of the train to stop the train for 2 minutes at a point on the way, and we were supposed to deboard and jump out of the train with our luggages. We were about 15 boys with around 5 adults, 20 in all. each with 1-2 luggage. All of it had to be done in 2 minutes, else we were risking jumping out of a running train, on solid stones and gravel.

We all lined up near the train door and the train slowed down and came to a halt. 3-4 persons jumped off the train and the rest were asked to line up their luggage to be thrown off the train. Once all the luggage was thrown we were asked to jump off the train one after the other. This way we wouldn’t have to jump off with our luggage and risk getting hurt.

Accomplished! All 20 people were off the train safely and the luggage was in a pile. I was worried my camera would get crushed. It was a camera dad had bought for my sister a year ago. [I still remember, me mentioning to him that I would love a camera and the next day he bought it and exclaimed it to be for my sister. He intended for it to be for both of us, but declaring it to be for her just when i’d wished for one hurt me as a kid 🙂 and hence it stays so fresh in my memory.]

We had to walk a couple of kilometers to get to the foothill. We all marched with our luggage and reached a small brick hut at the foothill. Where we were given lunch. Rice, potato curry, and 2 eggs per person. Post lunch we marched up the hill and to the place in the jungle where there was a shed like structure (4 pillars with an asbestos sheet on them, no walls, just the roof). The 5 elders in the group pulled out the tents and started to set it up.

The group consisted of boys from a public school in Bokaro run by the Steel Plant as part of their township program. These kids weren’t from the well-to-do families. Some of them were, but most of them weren’t. They all were elder to me. I was the youngest at 10 and the rest must’ve been around 14,15 or 16 yrs old.

I was asked to be with one of the elders in the group, who was a very nice man. I forget his name, but I called him bhaiya and he was the in-charge for arranging the food supplies and general needs of the children.

We dropped our bags and were asked to be lined up in 3 rows of 4 boys each. We were taken through some exercise drills and soon after we were walkng into the forest towards the water fall. We saw the water falls which was pretty high and loved the sight of it. We were all excited kids and i was walking with my camera, with the strap over my neck to avoid losing it at all costs. I was petrified of losing it as i’d be spanked back home.

We were shown a secluded area where we were supposed to go in case nature decided to call us up! It was getting dark as winter was settting in and we started to retrace back to the camp. Soon it was dark and we were at the camp. We were adviced on the general rules about going to the loo accompanied with at least one other person. About carrying a torch always, about the possibility of bears being around and hence the need for alertness at all times, about how cold the nights were going to be and the ration that each person was entitled to.

It was night and we had to walk down to the foothill to get our dinner. We finished our dinner and trekked back up to the camp and went off to sleep. I was sharing the tent with the bhaiya and one another guy, his relative who’d also come to the camp. I soon realized we were going to sleep of a bed of stones, and the bedding i had brought from home wasn’t thick enough to curve out the shapr edged stones that lay underneath the tent sheet. But i was tired and soon fell asleep. Half way through the night, I woke up to a very loud noise only to realize, the bhaiya was snoring away to glory right into my ears. I tried to get back my sleep, but it was beginning to get a little suffocating inside the tent since it was closed from all sides. I opened up the zipper from my side and breathed better. But it was cold outside, and i soon started fearing a bear coming close and ripping open the zipper. I immediately closed the zipper. The tent was small, and 3 people breathing inside it, led to condensation and my skull cap was soon wet due to the accumulation of the condensed vapor at the bottom of the tent under my head. Things were getting crazy. And now that i was up, the stones underneath hurt me. I said to myself “Get some sleep, you need to sleep through the night there’s not much you can do!”. Just when i thought i’d convinced myself enough to sleep in that Co2 packed tent, wet on the inside, the air smelt dirty. Soon it was accompanied by a resounding noise of a fart. The bhaiya was contributing quite generously to my misery.

I couldn’t take it anymore, and pulled out the torch from under my pillow and walked out of the tent to breathe easy and take a leak. I didn’t go too far remembering the advice. But i also didn’t wake up anyone since i knew none and i wasn’t very keen on asking anyone to accompany me, i knew i could take care of myself. Having relaxed my bladder, i was shivering and had to get back into the tent and convince myself to sleep through the night. I finally did get a couple of hours of sleep but soon it was morning and daylight was beginning to show up. I could hear noises and i immediately sprung up from the bed and stepped out to find the head of the team up along with teh guide who was to take us trekking and rock climing et al. I was happy i was out of that place and back in a more familiar and comfortable place. Lack of sleep wasn’t an issue.

Soon the rest woke up and we all brushed our teeth and people who wanted to loosen their bowels went to the secluded place and cleared their system and got back. I have always had a dislike for unhygenic toilets and open toilets and it makes me extremely uncomfortable to defacate in one. I chose not to go and instead keep it in. Actually i never felt the need for it. I had psychologucally convinced myself of the impossibility of going there.

Moving on without delving too much into those details, we were all asked to line up for the exercise and the instructions. We got done with the drill and were soon going downhill. I was looking forward to a good breakfast when the drill instructor (who was the head of the team, Lets call him Mr.Singh) started running followed by the other boys. I had missed something in the instructions. I soon discovered that we were going for a run for 2 km. Something i hadn’t done ever. I was a sports guy, played cricket, football, badminton and table tennis. But none of these required a marathon like run. And here i was running 2 km at a stretch. We soon reached a ground and we were now doing different kinds of exercises. Next was a game we had to play. I don’t quite remember what the game was but i remember the name of the guy who won Ankur. I have a strong feeling i once saw him in a party in Bokaro, although i could barely confirm it since i saw him run past me. Too short a time for me to register and confirm his identity.

Post the game we had to now run back! I was tired and this was unexpected. I still gave it all i had and ran half way through, after which i gave up. I couldn’t run anymore and was walking. I was then edged by one of the older men in the group and i ran in spurts and walked the rest till we reached the foothills for the breakfast. We were told that those of us who wanted to change could change and then have breakfast or could eat and then go up and change. I chose the former. I was soon back for the breakfast.

*Dari : a thick handwoven carpet made of discarded pieces of clothes.

*Trekker : a jeep like vehicle but much wider and much stronger in it’s pick up and power. Mostly used in Bihar and Jharkhand as a popular more of public transport. It can carry around 25-30 people hanging from all sides and all windows and sitting on the top of the vehicle, and still run at a good speed of 60kmph.

Photoghraphs and places!

I am just looking at blogs which post wonderful photographs and some photography competition sites.. and here are some that i find awesome..

I would love to swim from one island to another and spend time at this place for a couple of months living off natural fruits and leaves.. I wonder if i’ll ever be able to do something as wild as Bear Grylls does in Man Vs Wild. I don’t mean the eating crabs and scorpions part, I just mean living in a wild forest for a day or two!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/picturegalleries/9185741/The-Big-Picture-photography-competition-round-198.html?image=10

For some weird reason, this one reminds me of Downtown Ottawa

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/picturegalleries/9185741/The-Big-Picture-photography-competition-round-198.html?image=7

I want to go to this place with a tent and camp there.. and spend a couple of days in silence staring at the horizon and the clouds and the mountains.. and bathing in that spring down there.. (if that it one)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/picturegalleries/9185741/The-Big-Picture-photography-competition-round-198.html?image=13

A place i’d so love to go!!!! and just be..

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/picturegalleries/8943669/The-Big-Picture-photography-competition-best-of-2011.html?image=2

Thanedar

I picked up my phone and dialled PCs number (not personal computer, its Priyam Chakraborty), the big eyed girl who’s got “i’m a bengali” written all over her face.. until you see that straight hair after which you get confused. I asked her if she’d be interested in a trip to Thanedar, “kya??? Jamadar??? Ye kaiisa naam hai??” (ya the extra ‘i’ in kaisa was intentional, please read it again). I explained to her where the place was (as if it’d made a difference had i told her it was in nilgiris). She agreed and i informed Basu and shweta that PC was in.We had planned a trip to this place 80km from Shimla, for a quiet getaway over the Good Friday long weekend. And so we were ready to take off. Basu, Shweta, PC, Neha Chandok (Shweta’s roommie) and me. 5 different people, one of whom we only knew the name of, set driving towards Shimla on 21st April 4:30 am. I could hardly sleep the night before due to the excitement of the trip, and so i got up at 3:30 and woke up people, PC being the most difficult and dangerous. I’ll be reminded that i woke her up 10 min before i promised to, all my life, at least till we are able to talk and hear.

We fuelled and set gliding on the road, beautiful roads and less traffic made the drive till panchkula fast and exciting, also because Shweta and PC took a nap and Neha din’t have to be told anything, it needs a lot of motivation for her to start speaking, and none of us (me and Basu) were ready to oblige then.

With Basu’s remix collection on, he hardly put his feet off the accelerator and we paced down to Panchkula in flat 4 hours. 8:45 we’d signed into Giani da Dhaba. Lemon chicken, aloo paratha and gobhi paratha was the breakfast menu and we dug in deep before moving ahead with a couple of those bubble gums in our mouths. Now is when the ride had started, we were to realise later.Took us 3 hours to reach Shimla, which was expected considering half of delhi was coming to chandigarh / simla and the rest half was on its way to Manali, and the third half, well they are a small community and like to stay indoors.

We hit some bumpy road on the way and were lucky to have the silencer kiss the road only once throughout, hats off to Basuda’s control and driving skills. We stopped at some place i forget the name of to get the break padschecked (for the name of the place please click here and read till you get to the point where the name is taken, and if i have forgotten to hyperlink the ‘here’ up there then just skip this paragraph and move on…) OH and Shweta took shots of some roosters and hens there while Pappu was getting mended.

So we were a bit bored post Shimla as the ride was getting worse and we were running out of topics to talk about. We stopped a couple of times to click some good shots, apart from that nothing much. We had PC doing the “Steep turn” now and then and the Benglish creeping in on and off. And of course random situational comments here and there which would eventually be countered with some real bad jokes, and everyone willingly contributed to the “Bad Joke Collection”.

We finally reached Thanedar at around 6:30 pm, and to be greeted by the snow capped mountains was the best thing that could’ve happened to us after the long drive. We were famished but happy to’ve made it finally. We checked into the PWD Guest House close to where Satyanand Stokes used to stay. That guy founded the place and so called planted the first apple orchards in the country.

We asked the caretaker to arrange for dinner and some tea, and went to the balcony and sat down do just stare at the sunset and click some photos from up there. Soon it was dark and we were talking about random stuff.I don’t even remember what we were talking about, but thats about when PC’s and my first Benglish ‘conversation’ took place. Before this it was just one off sentences here and there.

We were called for dinner and we od-ed on some rice, dal and gobhi ki sabzi before falling on the bed in the room.

Next morning we got up early to capture the sunrise and boy it was beautiful. And Shweta’s lens was just too much for me to let go off the moment. I made the most of it and fell in love with it and as a result ended up returning it to her only when we reached delhi. I tried to hunt down birds and capture them but i din’t get one good shot, the way i wanted it to appear on the screen.

We then got back and broke PC’s and Neha’s sleep before breaking the fast and headed towards the Hatu Peak. Just when we were ready to take off i realised that the only opportunity to look macho was in my hand and going off. So i decided to take a chance with these guys and declared that i wanted to wear my contact lenses and further my glares. I went up and prayed to my right eye to stay calm while i stuck the lens into it. I succeeded. It remained comparitively calm and allowed the lens to enter, and i went back running down with tears in my eyes. Yes they were tears, eyes were burning like hell dude… I covered it up with my glares and acted macho.  We found that there were no taxis in the locality and hence we had to take out our pappu and drive up to Hatu peak.

The drive was lovely, the beautiful pine trees with their shadows on the road, the sunlight tring to penetrate but not allowed to do so enough.   And we had to keep the song volume low to let Basu-da listen to the honk replies to the honk questions he was asking the other drivers on the road. We then went back to the random conversation games and ‘look at that’,” hey that looks so good”, statements. Suddenly out of nowhere we saw a couple of vultures on the side of the road feeding on a dear carcass. It took me sometime to understand the reason for Basu-da’s honking and i literally jumped off my seat at the sight of the vultures. Such huge creatures they are. they stand at a height of about 2-3 ft and with their wings spread apart they would look huge.. like HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I unlocked the door and almost jumped off the car to take a few shots of the creatures when Basu-da (you’ll know why i call him ‘da’ now), said “Aye boss, ruk.. ruk.. ruk… gaadi aa rahi hai” and he went ahead and said “bahar mat nikal sala kaat lega…” i couldn’t say much in my defense and we then decided that we’d click them on our way back claiming like experts that the vultures sure will be back for the prey. We returned and the next day when on our way back to delhi we saw the carcass still lying there. 🙂

Hatu peak gave us a wonderful view of the whole mountain range, and it also gave me my first experience of seeing and holding snow in my hand. I was super-egg-zited (PC this one’s for you) when i saw the snow. Again Basu-da came into picture and i realised that i weighed more than i thought i did and hence my jumping with egg-zitement inside the car must actually be testing the car in the slippery roads uphill.  So i settled down for the better.

We reached the top and clicked… and clicked…. and clicked… and…. thats it… we clicked photographs. PC stood in the snow and then fell on the snow. I clicked the snow (or the rnage in the background) in my hand with a zoom lens in my other hand. At least i tried. (salvaging pride is such a natural reaction even when you’re writing). We then finally clicked (the first group photo) and went downhill to Banjara Orchards for lunch. A wholesome buffet lunch did us in a bit and we decided to taxi down to the Sutlej instead of walking down 20km (Ya i can see the stares people), to the river which looked awfully close for it to be 20km.

The water was cold and refreshing. It was super good to keep the feet in the water, pulling it out at regular intervals when your skin decided to change colors to blue. Well the shimla lady did have a good resistance and kept her feet soaked in shoes, soaked in the water till we left. On our way back PC did a rooney and hurt her camera (the pain in her knee surfaced later). So her camera got its first scratch since its birth.

we drove back up and the songs of Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagik helped increase our discomfort from cramping up in the marui van. And the drivers perserverance to play it even when the player refused to blurt out any songs was inspiring.

We reached up and now was the time for the photographs to come out and so all of them were transfered into Basu-da’s laptop and we saw the photographs from everyone’s camera before proceeding to the dinner table. Roti, chawal, dal and alu matar ki sabzi was fun, with regular intervals of PC’s ‘tatti’, ‘potty’ and ‘BOLW’ expressions.(one of 2 times when Neha decided to show us her teeth, and they’re beautiful i tell you, the second being, when i think me and PC were Benglishing).

We hit the sack soon after dinner and woke up to leave the beautiful place. The vacation was over and so is my little dream of re-living it through his blog post. We descended faster than we ascended (something new???? ) And we reached Shimla by 11:30, stopping by at Neha’s place and then went to Goofa, a restaurant in Shimla for lunch and had some good pahari khana. PC was breathless by the time we reached up (No… she’s asthmatic).

Shweta bought the scary movie mask and wore it through the walk from Mall Road to the car, and succeeded in scaring a few children (mission accomplished !!!). we headed down towards panchkula and were met with a good traffic at kalka post which the drive was smoother but the time was less.

Through the drive PC and Shweta began playing some random rhyming game where they had to apparently make disconnected sentences ending with a word on similar sound as “Akki” (god knows what that word means). And half way through the competition we had rules being defined and followed and challenged and then rejected. We finally got to Ambala and basu hit the accelerator and tried to speed up the rest of the journey, finally getting us home by 12:00 midnight.

The weekend was over and so was the dream. But it was fun. 🙂

Train Journey

Trains remind me of my blissful childhood…it used to bethe appetizer for the vacation ahead at my grandparents’ place or Delhi… it’slike the starters they serve before the main course comes in. All the rattleand chatter around with Moms silencing their children and dads talking aboutpolitics and children jumping around… it was probably one of the few times inour lives that, me and my sister would bond and play cards. We’d play cardsendlessly interrupted by the junk food I’d want. Every salesman shouting his wareswould be entertained and hence would I.
Almost none were spared. Right from jhaal muri, samosa, chai, coffee, frooti,ice cream, Puri sabji everything was consumed by me and dad would literally cryby the end of the journey. We’d spend as much on the food as was spent on theticket. This when mom would pack the usual Puri and tomato chutney, with potatofry and of course the thair sadam (curdrice) which is sacred to South Indians, and to my dad most in our house.
We were invariably lucky to have another family travelling in the same bay orthe next and so we’d almost always find interesting people and team up to playcards and learn new games. I’d jump around when not playing cards and hang onthe chain and do the gorilla act, hanging and doing somersaults etc. People allaround would be tired looking at me. I now realize how much trouble I was to myparents. Mom especially since dad was the cool dude around. Hardly affected byany of the stuff unless it harmed the co passengers directly in which case he’dcrack his whip on me. Well not really whip but a word of caution. 🙂
And then there were window seats. I still love them. It’s so much fun to lookat the trees and clouds and long unending fields of rice, sugarcane, sunfloweretc stretched far into the horizon… my dad would show me a bird in some tree.It’d be a beautiful bird, only if I saw it. I almost always missed the sight ofit, when all the rest got to see it. I’ll still nod my head in affirmative andhave a fake amazed look to comfort dad and give him an indication that I dolike nature and so he show me more if he notices any… Hoping to get it the nexttime. !
And then there were the tracks. For a very long time I thought the tracks gavebirth to new tracks and they were intelligent and playful and that’s why they’dsuddenly part into 2 and go under the train or merge together to part away fromthe train leaving their siblings still under the train. And I was convinced ofthis notion almost till I was 10 or 12 years old. One fine day I finally askedthe question to my dad much to his surprise as to how the rails produce andreproduce… he then explained me the stuff and I kind of lost interest inwatching the rails now that I knew they weren’t intelligent and playful, but notcompletely though. I still look at them and let my childhood mind take over andthings random things.
The next was the power cables. Ever stared at the power cables that run alongthe railway tracks?? They sag between the poles and rise up at the polesholding them. Just staring at the cables gives one an illusion of the cablesrising and going down continuously… and now this was fun for me. The cablesalmost had a life of their own. And so you’d know that it’s going to go up andhen down and up and then down… and it’d be like a traveling wave of sorts…and I’ll be lost just staring at them. There’ll be times when the tracks wereon a higher ground than the poles and so you would see the wires at your eyelevel or lower.
And back then we didn’t travel in the beautiful and clean ac coaches. They were2nd class sleeper coaches where the only supply of air was the window and thefans would invariably not work in the bay you would be. So it’d be hot humidand sultry. But it was fun. We had open windows and so like every child I HADto put my hand out. And what we see Hrithik Roshan do in ZNMD today, everychild has done that in their childhood. I used to love doing it while in thetrain… the train would be cruising and your hand felt nice in the strong airblowing outside. The hand would go up and down just by the mere direction ofthe tip of the finger. You wouldn’t even have to make an effort at making itlook like a wave. It was natural. 🙂
Getting down on the stations with dad was the height of fun. There was a thrillof looking at the train from the platform and then boarding it when it’d slowlystart to inch forward. Also there was this sense of growing up because childrenweren’t allowed to get down. 🙂 As a boy that feeling governs most of theactions one does. Girls grow up silently and are most of the times aware of thereality; boys on the other hand are more sort of passionate about growing upand are farther from reality. They are always under the impression that they’regrown up while being immature. Girls always know where they stand. In a way that’swhat attracts the two and that’s where the boy begins to want to impress a girland the girl is like “take -t easy kid ” 🙂
Tunnels were the next high on ajourney. They were rare in my case since the route we took to go to Chennaifrom Bokaro in the Alleppy Express didn’t have any. But the one to Delhi had acouple. But sometimes they’d come at night when it didn’t matter. The conceptof everything going dark all of a sudden in the middle of broad daylight, was exhilarating.You never would see a sudden transformation from daylight to darkness, andhence this one still takes me to cloud 9. You shout and hoot when the tunnelcomes. It’s pure fun.
The Alleppy Express used to be aconsiderably long train. It had around 25 coaches. It passed through patches ofland which had huge turns and were clear on both sides. We would look out ofthe window and see the train turning. That was something we inherited from mom.She used to be super excited looking at the train turn and call us. And me andAnu would jump on the seat and peep out of the window to see the engine and thebogies of the train turning. It was such joy and happiness.
So the train journeys did transform me and sadly today we sit in ac coacheswith tainted windows and stare at the laptops playing a movie rather than birdsand rice/ paddy fields. Or you’re on a flight because you don’t have time, onlyhis time you’ve white clouds to stare at. The horizon is clearer; at least itappears to be. 🙂