Saturday, April 26, 2008


The other day I was reading a tag entry from Neena where she mentioned about the urge to travel in a train…It reminded me of the great times as a kid when we considered train trips as the ultimate fantasy ride…Even the super fast air travel where almost every second soul seemed to be reading the ‘financial times’, is boringly devoid of a rustiness which so characterizes our railways.

Given a chance and plenty of time, I would always prefer the train over a bus. The train is something beyond a means of transportation for me, something that would conjure a more myriad motley of emotions, sights and thoughts...Wanderlust stuck and in poetic frame of mind, I love to see the sun setting in the backdrop of a mackerel sky that looks all so dutch…. as if in a water color painting done on the top of a blue canvas by the creator god himself..

And when the nature’s own canvas pulls the curtains down, you just rest your head on the window sill and gaze at the rails running parallel to your track…There is some kind of mystifying pleasure when the other track seems to accompany you in your a track buddy for life or something!. Some diverge from us after sometime, setting their own paths in directions quite obtuse from us…and some join us in our little trip, out of nowhere…The parallels between the rail tracks and our life are strikingly similar...

Have you ever though why we all prefer to sit in the direction in which the train is moving…even if it is an air conditioned coach?
Think, it sort of sub consciously motivates you to move forward in urge to look what is beyond you, like as a kid when you strained over the window to see what lies ahead in the track…the station that was coming up next so that you can tick it of from your list of milestones.
And it is weird that sometimes I have an entirely different frame of mind if am sitting in a seat in a direction opposite. Remarkably, inspite of exactly the same canvas of trees, mountains and people, I find myself like a rewinding tape which gives the illusion of a world that is moving in a different direction...of everything which seem to go further away from me… it somehow reminds me of lost chances and a vague feeling that those images...the people and the sounds that zipped by me, never to be seen again..

The train has a rhythm of its own...Keeping the ears shut off from the rustle and bustle inside the coach and listening only to that chug chug , the music is no Wagner maybe, but very much likeable...Melody so machine but at the same time humanely trying to push your spirits in some transcendental way. If you remember those old B&W movies where anyone inside a train is shown swaying his head in a exaggerated tilting way, it looks quite funny now…But I think it sort of reflects the harmony and rhythm which we want in our life…the caressing sway, the lullaby of the rails and a destination is all what we crave for!!


thomas said...

Have always cherished train rides. On another angle, I have always anticipated a goodlooking babe to be in my compartment but not even once did the godess of coincidence smiled.

P.S. I'm pretty much sure you're referring to the tvm-ekm journey, where we see all those paddy fields and rivers.

Sreejith Panickar said...

Not much train memories... as you know, I was very late to start TRAINing... :)

Dewdrop said...

I always loved the train journeys. For me, its the most comfortable mode of transport. Gazing out of window to sun-touched fields, with the landspace changing every hour is quite a beauty to watch :)

Abhi said...

I've loved train rides, they brng back memories from my childhood where a train ride was the start or end to a wonderful vacation in kerala. I always have loved to be in the direction of the train as you told, even if its AC coach. Pinne as Thomas said, i've wished to have gals sitting opp me and till date i've had that fortune quite a good number of times and have got 2 good friends because of that too!

mathew said...

hehehe..i think all of us did the same..remember mentioned in one of the chetan bhagat books about guys checking out at the reservation chart to see who was sharing the

well..i think your account was entirely different..TRAINing..hehehehe..

yes..but i guess you appreciate that more in solo trips..with a crowd it is all more of a party...:-)

hahaha..yeah we all think about our childhood vacations when train journeys are mentioned...What i stress in the post is about the similarities we see with our life..
I do ocassionally like sitting in the opposite side just for the heck of it..

silverine said...

We are a family of roadies, so no train memories, except those night trip from Blr to Alwaye due to some shotgun wedding or funerals which are always sudden :p So train journey were always equal to Black halwa from Alwaye station. Nowadays it air dashes thanks to Capt Gopinaths revolution! But I loved sitting near the train window as a kid and gazing out... Interesting analogy of the train journey and life!

Priya said...

I have always enjoyed my train trip and cherish those memories. Cool post.

VIDYA said...

:) :) this was a poetic post, yesterday for the first time i travelled all alone in a train, :) it wasnt a long distance train, jus home (near home) from the cricket stadium, but then i d NEVER gone alone in a train, there was always someone with me, then yest i discovered its loadsa better to travel by train alone, I love Trains and busses, Thank god they exist.

Cycle il poyal cycling,
Train il poyal Traning agumo?

Dhanya said...

That was a wonderful post relating the train journey n life.. I have always loved train journeys n after moving to b'lore it has become part of my life.. Still never gets tired of it..

mathew said...

I can’t imagine driving all the way from blore till tvm...maybe it is more thinkable till aluva…and yeah however we criticize and make fun of air deccan, it definitely bought a reason to cheer for many of us…

I know very few who actually prefer the bus over a train journey..

@Vidya you got to watch the IPL....;-D
Yeah..train travels sort of feels complete when it is an overnight trip…I did my first solo train trip when I was in high school…that was quite memorable..and was a instant recognition of growing up!

mm…and I hear from my uncle it is virtually impossible to get tickets from blore unless you book like 3 months in advance…I hope someday to make a trip to blore by has been ages since one..

Mishmash ! said...

When u wore ur contemplative cap, you got me into that rewind mode......train jouney is more close to life doesnt have that fake sophistication of the air travellers....where else u can find ppl unfolding that 'pothikkettu' , chorum curry-um in a mildly wilted vazha ela and that manly voice in the background,"chai--chai...chai...poooooori....pazhamporeeee...." !

Still Searching said...

I sleep like a baby in a train - I guess because of the rocking movement like that moms use to put their kids to sleep!

Nanditha Prabhu said...

mathew, the mention of train journeys takes me down the memory lane....i loved to watch the different people in the railway station.. it was one of my hobbies...
read your previous post now... so you are a cancerian ... now i understand. I am a cancerian i supposed to take up the tag?

srijithunni said...

For me train journeys always symbolize freedom, rejuvenation, life and a lot of such things, mathew.. It reminds me of the vacations during which we travelled as a family to Calicut everytime in anticipation of all the people we are going to meet and the fruits we were going to eat, and the sad return back to chennai with a truck load of memories, or should I say a "train" load of memories. Train journeys are simply something else..!

Have Fun, Take Care and God Bless!

With Best Regards,

Deepti said...

Loved this post .. being a marunaadan malayali .. we would rush off to Kerala as soon as schools closed down for summer vacations. 30 hour journey to kerala from here :). With cousins along, it used to be fierce battles for window seats and jumping around berths like monkeys :). I think trains have a tranquil effect, the scenes that pass along the window .. almost a reflection of how life goes on ( ok korachu senti aayi poyi ) :D

Usha said...

As kids, the train trip during summer vacations was something we used to look forward to, as much as we used to wait for meeting up with Amooma n the rest of our folks.

I remember, my li'l sister used to keep on doing that rocking motion even when the train stopped at stations.
She does that even now, once in a while, to amuse the rest of us.

mathew said...

You always come up with the right minute details which evokes the right sense of nostalgia..;-)
Pazhamporeee has to be my all-time favourite tea time snack!! Simply sympathise with kids who don’t eat anything but biscuits..though I was doing the same as a kid I suppose..

@Still searching
It is so easy to fall asleep in trains..and that is one of my biggest worries..of not getting up in time for the alighting from a station..;-P

The blogworld is dominated by cancerians..I can safely say that based on old tags..and would love to see your take on the tag.. I love to watch different people wherever they are....’it is called vayyinokkal’…<< this comment was a old comment from I get the chance to put it one someone else…;-D

train load of memories…that is a catchy phrase.
My vacation trips would be from tvm to kottayam/changanacherry..hardly 4 hours but still very enjoyable…travelling with family is entirely different ballgame when compared to with friends..isn’t..

thank you…You have no idea how I used to fight with my bro for the sidesight..i used to try all tricks up my sleeve to bluff him..until he was old enough to realise chettan’s kurukku buthi.. trains do really have a tranquilising effect and is a chance for us to reflect about things which we wouldn’t have done otherwise..

Yeah..trains conjure up several phases..for many they identify it with vacation trips..for many others it reminds of the college trips..Trains were prime location for ragging by college students for hostelites in most colleges back home..Some of them brings me harmless but funny memories..

mathew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adorable Pancreas said...

Going backwards makes me nauseous. I guess my brain is programmed only to move forward! :D

The Seeker said...

wow. Nice post dude, was down my memory lane, there's something about the train, as you said, when those things zoom past you, you have thousand thoughts running in your mind,would get nostalgic when i travel by train. How true is to say, "as warm as Indian train". Now looking forward for a journey in the train.

Dewdrop said...

Added you to my 'I love reading list'. hope you dont mind :)

Dhanush | ധനുഷ് said...

I did a train journey this weekend to your town and alas I come back and see this.

Nostalgic Post. I have very fond memories of train journeys right from my plus two days. May be I will write about those in future.

Jiby said...

beautiful post have captured so many of the visuals and thoughts that run through us while on a train journey. on every train journey i sit on the footboard for some time to feel the breeze on my face and to see the scenery without the obstructions of the window...once even got a ticking off by the railway police for sitting there, but rexperiencing that is a temptation i can't resisit.

the train gives a citybred man like me a peek into villages, landscapes and people i yearn to meet. i am lost in a dream world while i am on trains.

Neena Padayatty said...

Great post!...A romantic perspective to the joyride...some time back when i read one of ur earlier posts on ur train adventures as a kid i thought u took away my ideas for a prospective was too similar(traveling with a Tinkle magazine).This comment column makes it clear that mine was anything but an isolated experience.Good to find so many train lovers here.Guess i'll write my version one day too,I'm inspired!

Anonymous said...

Hey you brought back pleasant memories....those were the days!

Anonymous said...

Trains apparently had their share in my life too. The changing scenes have the quality of a bunch of movies with different story lines, the remarkable experiences and the ever fresh excitement is something sweet.
I love its rawness, the sounds (especially the platform shattering arrival of the huge monster…even now a shiver runs through my bones), the crowd and the smell (at night, they load flowers in West Coast and the fishy goods trains…). All sorts of memories are kindled by your post. Nice analogy. Even your writing has some rhythm, I presume… or am I dazed by the sentiments it created?