But, is it nothing to know when you are dying, when you are about to take leave of this world, of its joys and sorrows, when the past of your life is unfurled before you, when eternity opens wide its portals, is it nothing to know at that last awful,supreme moment of your lives, that you have not lived in vain, that you have lived for the benefit of others, that you have lived to help in the cause of your country's regeneration?

-Surendranath Banerjea

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Train journeys have always been a pleasant experience ever since..be thats in a crowded stinky 'general' compartment or the posh 'ac' coach..every single journey had been an experience worth relishing..I still remember,if not all,some of those fellow passengers in the past..the sweet lady from Delhi with short hair,who advised me to use almond oil on the hair..the family from Nasik,with a bubbly kid..the gals who i howled with inside every tunnels in Shimla..

If not perceive fully,it at least made me understand or witness the plights of being born a poor..the small kids who come around cleaning the floor or polishing your shoes for the meager pennies you throw at them..children who sing 'raja ko rani se pyar ho gaya' drumming on their empty tummy for a bit mercy..blind and handicapped crawling before you.. They did annoy me in the past..i hated their songs..i loathed their pleas..i despised even a sight of them..not because i was some ruthless shylock,but my small mind was so confortable believing that world was a safe haven where every human being could live comfortably..I chose to believe that poverty was not a big affair.. And when you are gloating in some non-disgusting thoughts,you find yourself demonstrating Newton's first law of inertia.. And so was i..

Until,i came out of the nest..where you are nestled and pampered by your parents,who pay for every goddamn request of yours(of course not all of them!)..ratifying the unwritten law that,dad is your banker by nature..

Being granted the laissez faire to spend a stipulated amount of money is definitely a wonderful thing..for you don't have to turn everytime over your shoulders for approval..you can shop or party around as and when you wish..and you find the glut of edifices for the money gushing up..theatres,malls,restaurants,..

And that was exactly what came to my mind too,when i was to embark on a journey alone,to Mumbai..i thought of the umpteen times, i was rejected a request for an ice cream or snacks in the train..Lays and Bytes blinded me..the flocks of colorful magazines i couldn't buy.. And i thought this was my time..my hour of profligate spending..

But it's when you start spending yourself that you understand it was a lot better to have someone spend for you than letting you act judiciously..the responsibility is painstaking..And the old celebrated skinflint in me resurfaces.. And every time i was to spend,the dwindling money in my account pops up inside the mind..and the thoughts of people who toil the whole day to make their ends meet blur the sight..the slums on the side of the highway haunts..

It was in my return journey that i met this woman,.the principal of a school in mumbai..Without much ado,we became quite friendly..and i was bemused by her craving for snacks..bananafry, vadas, vadapav from chiplun, cashewnuts and groundnuts.. reminded me of how i was..58 she was,8 i felt..

By the end of the journey,she n her hubby quite liked me as a daughter,blessing me and hugging me..i'd always made it a point not to inquire people's personal details during journeys,and hence,even after 28hours together,i had no clue of their names.. Getting down at my station,i felt a tinch of grief..coz i quite liked them..flimsy i may sound..but i either get too attached or remain totally detached..either of those extremes..

Turning back,last two days seem to have happened ages back..Meeting these people,..the elderly brahmin couple,who explored almost the whole historic india,panchavati,hrishikesh,haridvar,kailas,muktinath,and lot more..,the french-german lady who out of her love for india was on her 8th visit,..i quite liked them all,for their care and affection for me,obviously as i was travelling alone.. And the thought grips me tight that i would never meet any of those people i met during such journeys..and still every one of them did mark at least a trivial brush in my life portrait..

Ain't life the same way..a train journey..where each of us have different destinations..sooner or later you part..some stay with you till the end..some get down in the earliest station..still everyone of them contributes to complete the jigsaw..

"You are not the child of the people you call mother and father,but their fellow adventurer on a bright journey to understand things that are.."-Richard Bach

PS:I began saying something..veered long..and ended up saying something else..flurry of thoughts i couldn't sift through..

Khuda Hafiz


AnjuGandhi said...

wow what a description!!
i enjoy train journey a lot. these days ofcourse we have become very health and hygine conscious, otherwise in old days we never used to think twice before eating those pakodas, bhel and so many other things which we get in the trains.
i still remember those pre bisleri days. where at every station we used to get down from the train to fill the water bottles

ZB said...

so you went to Mumbai, all alone? wow, thats a macho act. Bravo.

And you Brahmin? Humm, when i was a kid, i used to believe that Brahmans are really stupid.(just kidding) hehehe...but not anymore. But i still wonder how they survive eating Sambar, rasam, thair sadam?

My Pternal grandpa( dads dad) is namboodiripad... he was known as Ishwara pattar.

Nice description....when i travel alone, i dont like people coming up to me and talk. I like to travel silent.Thats one time, i like to be all alone and lonly and think.....Nice post. :))

Durga Nandan said...


gayathri-vishwanathan said...

u came alone to mumbai? now that's really brave of u...hope u had a nice journey!

Nazish Rahman said...

Thats so true...each of us have different destinations just like a train journey.
But ya its a different experience to travel in train n u know India more closely!!

ZB said...

hello, i read your *about me*- you are all of 21 and still figuring out what you are like? to quote my grandmother ** she had 3 babies and counting another, by that age.**. my wife was 1 year into marriage when at 21( thats a different matter )....and you still feel that you are an infant? Strange....:)

ramya said...

Train journeys are always wonderful...for me, every journey from Chandigarh-Kerala or Kerala-Chandigarh has some special memories...memories of people, food or landscape
Its fun to travel in 2nd class rather than AC. I have travelled in all the classes from general to 1st class, and in every train from a passenger to rajdhani - but the 2nd classes, where we have a good company, its wonderful!
I loved this post!

Thousif Raza said...

abt the flurry of thoughts it happens yaar

abt 'laissez faire' where is that dictionary.... :P

and lemme tell you gayathri the thoughts that you put in here make perfect sense, it only through personal experience that we learn more and more, good luck to more such memorable experiances ahead

and you are back kya???, thats so very nice to hear :D......

take care and keep writing........

HaRy!! said...

bravo bravo :) ! yeah these days yu buy an unreserved ticket in a express train and u are doomed ! remember used to do that during college times!..all yur description makes sense! cya

sujata said...

that was a great description! As a child I loved to travel by train, the food, the company and the rush and thrill of each platform was something i looked forward to, but as I gre older, I became quiet. Since college, i travel with a book and am really wary of making aquaintances in the journey..I just catch up on my reading and stall all efforts at conversation!! A very lovely post

Dhanya said...

That's a nice way of putting things. Journeys can always be eventful some way or the other. And I agree with ZB here, I don't like talking when I am at it. Prefer quiet ones listening to music all the way till I reach my destination....

HaRy!! said...

yep forgot to add, i met this guy in train, who was a consultant in chennai , he was travelling along with me back home...real nice chap and we still are good frnds..and owe him a lot for his advice...just remembered that:) thanks

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Life is indeed like a train journey and your wonderfully evocative post was like a journey in nostalgia and self-discovery. Lovely!!!

workhard said...

That is a very good analogy....

Well written article..

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Gayathri said...

@Anju,thanks :)
Yeah,even i used to drink from the station pipes and all..eat pakodas or samosas,whatever it was..but these days,i increasingly dislike all these things..may be owing to the diff non-hygienic sitns i witnessed..

@ZB thank you thank you..
and u didn know i was an iyer?i thought i had mentioned it earlier!!
My onward journey was like that..silent and solitary..but sometimes i feel good getting to know people :D

Gayathri said...


@Gayathri,thanks..but unfortunately,i was bored,not getting to go out due to the pandemic :D..

Gayathri said...

@Nazish,so very true :)

@ZB you don't figure urself out completely until the end of ur life..every single day is a new one..

Gayathri said...

@Ramya,yeah 2nd class is good for the amicable people u find there..but it's the cleanliness and the silence that i find attractive in AC..

@Thousif,ya ya..i'm back home.. :)
Each day gives you more memories and experiences :)

Gayathri said...

@Hary,yeah i rem the times when i could simply buy a sleeper ticket to go by any train..but these days,even when reserved,i have to wait for it to go from WL to RAC to CND..

@Sujata,when i have friends with me,i still look forward to shouting n howling and having some fun in the train..but then,otherwise,it's the books that i resort too as well..

Gayathri said...

@Dhanya,yeah,i like silence..but with some people,who seem genuine and friendly,i wouldnt mind striking a conversation with :)

@Hary,my pleasure..

Gayathri said...

@Sucharita,Thanks :)

@Workhard,Thanks :)

Amrit said...

Even I love train journeys. And I have travelled alone so many times since I moved to delhi for my studies.

Unlike you I made loads of frnds whom I met in trais journeys. And with few of them I am still in tocuh. Even though sometimes it is risky but one gets the hint the kind of person you are interacting.

I am away from blogging for quite sometime..and hence is the delay in posting this comment.