Our childhood is power-packed and painted beautifully with memories of railways. Baba worked for the railways and we have always loved travelling by train. As an employee, he would get railway family passes that made it easier for us as we never had to stand in queue for tickets. Some Ticket Collectors would also know him well and while they asked other passengers to show their tickets, they would greet baba and sit beside him and talk. The young me would be so proud to see that.

Visiting the Puri beach

We have travelled long distances by train, sometimes for a three-day journey too. It was so much fun that even by remembering those days we start smiling. There was a whole lot of preparation before any train journey, the most exciting was packing the luggage. A day before the travel we packed snacks and meals which would usually be loochi (poori) aalu bhaja (potato fry) and some sweets. My favourite part of the train journeys was the nighttime when the berths were converted to beds and one by one, we jumped to the top to sleep. Another favourite and lip-smacking memory is the food that is available at the stations. The poori-sabji, pakoda, kulfi, jhalmoori, singhara (samosa) jalebi, soan papdi, cream roll and whatnot. It was a complete feast for us and we ate non-stop. Later in life when I started having tea, I fell in love with that too especially if served in those earthen cups.

After my sister got married, she moved to Ahmedabad, which at that time was a three-day journey by train. My parents didn’t have much idea about the new city and were worried if their daughter was getting everything she needed there or not. So, when we decided to travel to Ahmedabad for the first time, we started packing a whole lot of things. Bags full of clothes, bedsheets, covers, spices, rice, pulses and utensils. Maa packed a sack of fresh vegetables too and baba picked up a set of a folding dining table and chairs! A few more things were added by her mother-in-law also and in total when I counted, we had seventeen things with us to carry. Baba, maa and I boarded the train with all those bags, sacks, suitcases and a dining table. Baba had this expertise of packing things and he placed all the bags so neatly that our co-passengers had no trouble at all. When we slept the dining table was tied to the top seat and it was a funny sight to see it swinging and dancing all night. When we reached Ahmedabad, the passengers also helped us in getting all the things to the platform. All three of us sat there with a heap of luggage waiting for my brother-in-law, who was supposed to be in by now. We did not have mobile at that time so the only option for us was to wait. After a while, we saw him and a cousin come running toward us and they said they were waiting for us at some other platform. They were surprised to see all the things we were carrying and were amused to know how we fit everything inside the train. My sister was happy and angry at the same time and that was the last time we carried so many things with us.

It was much later in life that we switched to flights, something that maa still doesn’t enjoy much. She misses the comfort of the train and finds a plane very congested. Baba enjoyed his first flight, more because it saved time and he could now quickly reach his daughters. Honestly, I miss the train travel too. With flights becoming a more convenient means of travel, I wonder if our kids will ever get to experience what a three-day train journey looked like.

Coming up next-

S – SKR and Daughters

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9 thoughts on “R- Railway and the Memories”

  1. That’s really amusing, all those things tucked away into the little space in an Indian train. I too have travelled thousands of km by Indian Railways. Fun? Yes, in the beginning. Eventually I chose flights. Now it’s years since I got on to a train.

  2. I can’t imagine carrying a dining table all the way in a train. My Dad hates it when there’s a lot of luggage. So we’ve always travelled light. I must commend your father’s patience and tenacity to carry so many baggages.

  3. Train travel is amazing for 5-6 hours….after that I am bored…now, we have all these super fast and express trains like Shatabdi and all.. but been a while since I have travelled in a train too…

  4. My dad is also a retired railway employee. We have often travelled by train rather than bus or car. I have many fond memories of train travels, especially befriending the strangers and the chit chat with them. Lovely post Rashi.

  5. I love train journeys, however long or short they are. Your post made me recall so many memorable train journeys with similar experiences of packing and enjoying the food available on the platforms. What an amazing experience packing and carrying that much luggage must have been. A great post once again.

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