Trains and the landscape

What an insignificant photograph. The emptiness of the landscape swishing by as you stand near the door of the coach of the train.

This is what I remember. The annoying families constantly littering peanut shells on the floor. A young man leching and me running to the safety of the coach door. The dangling, noisy vestibule threatening to rip apart as you stepped over it.

The smell of beedis and the occassional person insisting on brushing their teeth in the small basin. The annoying railway tap that has to be constantly pressed with great pressure hissing with reluctance and spite.

The rail journeys back home were far from perfect. But I miss them. The chai walah, the bisleri bottle madness and the joy of standing at the door, the wind knotting up your hair.

Everytime I go back, I want to take that familiar GT. And instead, giving into the ease and the time constraint, it’s the airports.

I miss that. The sheer romance of the journey. And the endless empty landscape.

10 Comments

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10 Responses to Trains and the landscape

  1. What a coincidence! I am in one of the trains as I write this comment. But since it is night, can’t enjoy the scenery outside! But your photo was a consolation…

    Destination Infinity

  2. What? You weren’t looking out of the window on the Durham trek? Much of it is vast expanses of nothing. If you trudge up to Edinburgh, you will also be treated to the stunning views of the North Sea near Berwick-upon-Tweed. Go, Neha, go!

  3. km

    the occassional person insisting on brushing their teeth in the small basin.

    Er..that would have been me. But only because Mom forced us.

    //loved the post.

  4. I love this picture and the post;

    I have always loved the trains there – and unfortunately yes! I too give in to the time constraint these days …

  5. I miss trains too. I moved out of India to Singapore, and now, I’m stuck with 6-hour flights when I want to go home. But I like the airports too… the lights, the modernity, the people.. they all still charm me. And occasionally, when I look out of the window of a plane, I get these huge realisations that “Oh my god, I’m flying!” Those are pretty cool too, and the view from a plane window, though monotonous, can be very exciting if you’re in the mood for it. :)

    I loved the trains though.. mostly for the fact that for some reason, I always sleep very well in trains (unless there’s a loud-snorer around, which there inevitably was). Plus, I loved lying on my berth and reading an Archie or a Mills and Boons that I bought at the station. Train rides were always a perfect excuse for buying trashy books that I would otherwise have felt too guilty buying. :)

  6. I am reminded of the tourist who went to Rajastan and asked why people there don’t sing, dance and dress like they show in the movies.

  7. I loved traveling by land. I can see the view clearly and eventually appreciate the beauty of it. Trains are good but somehow hesitant because of stories I’ve read and heard – mechanical breakdowns, and the like…

  8. As a regular on the local trains I completely identify with what you’re saying. Train journeys are often the best part of my day. Like the old saying goes- “you can take an Indian out of India, but you can’t take India out of an Indian!”

  9. winnie the poohi

    I know what you mean.. I still travel in train.. air travel is not for me.. not yet :)

  10. priyanka

    ..and the rock-and-roll motion of the train, and the steady rolling noise while you drift off, the funny blue lights in the corridor at night..I especially love lying right down on the berth, (without a pillow to cushion the sound) in touch with the cold rexin, and my ears filled with the rumbling noise (almost like the noise of the sea, or what u’r supposed to hear when you bring a sea-shell close to ur ear) :-)