Travelling consistently from a very early age ,across many states , life has given me numerous opportunities to interact with people from various cultures and professions , especially during train journeys. Some people usually give a good company , chattering with the same frequency as me. Some still prefer to stay in their cocoon , well concealed in their own worlds , fearing us as though we would churn out all family secrets from them.
Needless to say the ones who did give a good company , still rule my memory. A decade ago we were accustomed to travelling long routes from Chandigarh to Kanyakumari and again a decade back from Dibrugarh (Assam) to Chennai. It would roughly take us 2-3 days to reach our final destination. Back then there was no Facebook or WhatsApp for time pass. Well two decades back even mobile phones were a distant dream. The only way to wail away time was to make new friends on our journeys.
Once we met Mr.Ashok on Dehradun Express , who was a manager in a pharmaceutical company near Shimla. Since there was no direct train from Chennai to Shimla , he would break his journey in Chandigarh. He had a good sense of humour and had a close resemblance with one of my dad’s friend in terms of appearance and body language. At the end of our journey we had exchanged phone numbers just in case if there was a chance to meet in future. It so happened that Mr.Ashok happened to visit Chandigarh after two months of our meeting. He rang up and asked about our whereabouts. It was a wonderful meeting with his family who joined us for lunch later that day. This incident took place in the year 2005, more than a decade ago. Mrs.Ashok was equally delighted to interact with us, as no one in her locality(near Shimla) spoke Tamil.☺
Another interesting thing that happened was , we met a family during one of our journeys to Dibrugarh(Assam). They boarded the train in Kharagpur. The most peculiar thing about them was that the mother and daughter in the family had a habit of getting down at every station and taste the local quisine which was famous in that region. There was hardly a station in between ,which their taste buds had spared. They too were an entertainment throughout. After a year we were coming back to our hometown in the same for summer vacation. And what a surprise OMG😂😂 the same family landed in our coach, boarding from Kharagpur.
In Tamil Nadu Express once we had a brother and sister, duo in their early forties going to see their ailing mother, who was in a critical state in hospital. Both of them were constantly praying for her speedy recovery. Calls were disturbing the brother throughout the journey. His sister went to the washroom when he told us that his mother had expired , the news coming from his last call. A tear rolled out his eye which he quickly wiped away. His sister came back and he was pretending as if nothing happened. The next morning when all us were getting down he told us, ‘I cannot handle her alone and don’t have the courage to tell her the truth. Don’t know what’s gonna happen now.’ Terrible situation really:'(
Even when I get to travel alone , I thoroughly enjoy the company of senior citizens;) It’s true they pierce our ears with advice but I won’t deny some core issues on which they enlightened me. Some of them being the importance of casting our vote in elections, the pathetic state of engineering students and their blurred future(myself falling in that category unfortunately)😤, being obedient to parents, politics😩 and keeping aims high. Fiction books and WhatsApp get aside when I get such people to chat along.
I’ll keep you posted on more travel tales in #2. Hope you enjoyed reading.☺
Disclaimer: Names of people have been changed for privacy.