Travelling always fascinates me and more so when it's by train! The crowds at the platforms, the various peddlers selling their goods, ranging from eatables to soaps, locks, chains, newspapers, books and so on.... I simply love everything about the whole experience.

My hometown is an overnight journey away from Delhi. Past experiences ensure that I reach the station well before the scheduled departure time of the train, or well, I am usually running with my bags, knocking any and everyone while making my way towards a moving train! So, now the 'matured and learned me' reaches the railway station at least 45 minutes earlier, buys loads of books and hoards herself with potato wafers, chocolates, bread cakes etc etc. Somehow, I have this illusion that whatever you might eat on a journey never makes you fat!!! Now, don't ask me where I got this theory from. I believe in it completely and follow it too!

But last Friday was different. The auto driver took the longest possible route (he was charging by the meter!) and I was able to reach only a few minutes before the train left. Usually you do get eatables and books in the train, so I comforted myself thinking that I would buy them later. Little did I realize that I was taking a different train (Rajdhani) which started early evening and would reach Allahabad by midnight and which meant that there would be more waking hours!

Ten minutes into the journey and my fears came true. No vendor came by! No books, no magazine, no wafers, no chocolates! I was headed towards the most boring train journey. I longed for them and I cursed myself for not carrying a novel in my handbag!! I skimmed through the contents of it a couple of times, hoping that a book would magically appear behind my wallet or a chocolate would be hidden beneath the case of my shades. Alas, that was not to be!

I settled down, still biting my lips! Being the only female passenger in the coach, I had no one to talk to and the window seats were taken, and hence even the view was out of bounds.

So while I sat there...too angry to think and too bored to distract my mind, a conversation began. Now, if you have travelled by the Indian Railways, you'd know what types of conversations spark off in such journeys. You have people from different parts of the country, different age group, different beliefs and different opinions.

This was the Patna Rajdhani and most of my fellow passengers belonged to Bihar. The conversation began from who they thought will win the next elections, drifted to the development in the state, steered to the corruption that devoured it in the past to the racist attitude of Delhites towards people from the state and finally a debate cum fight over 'God-knows-what' between a businessman who was visibly high and an idealist who would not relent.

And all this while, I sat there, my head swinging from left, listening to them speak as if their lives depended on what they said. And yes, I had company! A 12-yr old boy, who looked a 10-yr, was as bewildered as me looked at the adults around him with eyes wide open. He was at an advantage though. He could openly laugh at everyone and no one seemed to mind. So he did just that, and would also break in with his one-liners, all this while listening to music on his i-pod and playing a video game! Finally, wisdom dawned on the idealist, who realized that his counterpart was drunk and too rude and he refused to talk to him! While the 12-yr old and I waited for some more action, we were disappointed, for now the discussion became much more sober between the sober ones of the lot.

Now, I was left on my own again. I looked around and saw a business magazine lying on the berth. Having taken the owner's permission, I started flipping through its pages. And guess what, I actually ended up reading almost all the articles in there! How much did my non-business mind understand and what did it make out of it, I have no clue! But yes, I was seriously reading...for once a business magazine, word to word! Now that's a different story that I don't remember one bit about any article, except the one on Commonwealth games and the expenditure behind it!

Dinner time discussions were not too interesting and soon after, people rolled out their beds. The 12-yr old's father tucked in his son lovingly, while telling him of all kinds of ghosts that might visit him if he didn't sleep. The boy, of course, was smart enough to laugh it all of. The drunkard grumbled and turned on his berth, almost falling off each time.

A pretty eventful journey, one would say. The auto ride, no books or chocolates, interesting fellow passengers... and a fight!
It was a short trip back home, blogdosts, and even before I knew it, I am back to Delhi. I have spent half my life away from home and yet, I feel homesick even before I leave home!!! Any remedies?

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10 Responses
  1. Brittany Ann Says:

    I'm always homesick too. I wish I could help, but I have no idea how to kick it!

  2. I love your writing...I feel like I was on that train with you!! Glad you had a safe journey (and that it wasn't as dull as it could have been! :))

  3. Neha Says:

    @ Brittany - This is something very difficult to learn or do :(

    @ the Hall Family - Thank you so much! Makes my day :)) The journey sure was an eventful one!

  4. Your writing is just beautiful -- I felt like I was right there with you!!! Happy travels!

  5. Neha Says:

    @ Kelsey - Thank you :)...I'm back now and waiting to read more about your Australian trip.

  6. Jason Says:

    Wow, that was a great, interesting post. I think we've all had the unpleasant experience of getting on a train or plane without a book or magazine. Such an empty feeling! You really described the train trip so well. There's something about train travel that always makes it interesting to read about.

    Thanks for the great post.

  7. Unruly Rebel Says:

    yeah at tyms u get to enjoy dose dead boring trips, and yeah you got no remedy to home sickness...

  8. Unruly Rebel Says:
    This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Have had similar feelings when travelling in Rajdhani for the first time..It appeared too dead!!

    Nicely written..had fun reading your post:)

  10. Neha Says:

    @ Jason - Thanks :)

    @ Unruly Rebel - True

    @ Sushant - Thanks :)