Some of the most appreciated of the sights and sounds that I would so look forward to were the ones I experienced on my journey by train. So keenly and zealously recorded and firmly stored, in a memory of one’s younger days does not erase so easily.
The rush and fast forward amidst a cacophony of voices, announcements echoing over microphones, a jungle of scurrying feet, amidst loaded wheelbarrows of baggage whizzing by, train horns blaring- just the ingredients that would give one such as I a form of a rush that is quite inexplicably baffling; the excitement of a kind of adventure perhaps.
The back and forth journeying, within twelve months, between home and boarding school, this heading home after almost a year of being away, would stand as the main excitement in this adventure.
Counting months would turn to counting weeks and then numbering days and now having set out it was only above 1500 kilometres and approximately over 24 and 30 hours till we would reach our destination.
Overpowered by animated exhilaration any kind of discomfort of this kind of travel would easily be disregarded just to have eyes peeled and faces pressed hard against window rails to spot approaching stations.
We recognized each of them, if not by name, then most assuredly by the peculiarities that each locale would identify with.
Signature profiles they bore. Besides the usual lively sights and aromas full of character of a train station – bringing with it the likes of mouth watering munchies on wheels, the intriguing call-outs of the familiar garam ‘chai’ ‘chai’; ‘coffey coffey’ and the kind- each shout, prominent to the distinctiveness of the ware.
Wheeled cart loads of vibrant multihued bangles, special sweets, quaint pottery and gaudy clay handicraft each one belonging to a particular society and people told us where we were.
Every encounter and display was absorbing; the entertainers et al, with their dance and song. There was always something to espy in every bright pulsating platform filled with so much to keep one completely occupied and amused. Travellers from across regions and nations carrying their own specialty subdued or vivid also played a prominent part in this spectacular scene.
To me all that crossed this window to my world was but a dramatic dazzle which was breathtaking and one that always left me wide-eyed.