Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Happy Birthday Post

When I was young, the biggest joy in my life was the evening walk with my grandfather and cousins to the railway bridge near our house. We would spend the evening watch trains go by and then he would buy us all the best ice cream in the world.

The two thousand kilometer journeys to my grandfather's place would go by in a blur of amazing sights, sounds and acronyms like W/L, WDM, WAG and T/P which gave birth to a thousand questions. The answers to which were searched while munching Parathas and Paneer Subzi from Delhi and Pulihora from Nellore along with coffee and Pongal Vada from the pantry.

When I was a teenager, I rebelled and ran away from home. The train was the chosen getaway vehicle, as it was the vehicle which hauled me back home.

The train is where I romanced my wife, travelling 48 hours in three trains just to spend six hours with her aboard another train.

The train is where I saw life from close quarters - I saw wealth and poverty, hunger and gluttony, beauty and despair like two sides of the same coin. I saw also death from very close quarters in a train.

I learnt about the lives of thousands of nameless men and women who toil daily in weather that can kill others in hours. I also learnt about a few hundred names who sit in towel covered chairs and steal millions without batting an eyelid.

As a grown man the train became my window to the world and my escape from it. It was where I could be alone among thousands and yet be one among them.

The train has perhaps been the most central character in my life. That train turns 160 today. 

1 comment:

krtgrphr said...

Loved this post sirji.