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Me and My Train...
By Anil D'Souza, Halealve

July 4, 2011

I simply love riding in the train. Every aspect of the journey starting from booking tickets to getting down at the destined station, usually Mangalore Central would be an experience of sorts for me. I don’t know how and why I love those long train journeys, but somehow they make me excited and in this article I would take you around my feelings towards train rides (all in the proper sense)

The first time I ever embarked on a train ride was in Kadri Park I guess. I cannot remember properly, but I was petrified. Then somewhere in the mid 90’s Mr. George Fernandes gifted his beloved land a train service - Konkan Railway. It was a blow to the bus service providers and a boon to the thousands of mangaloreans who lived in IC colony, Borivili, who had to rely on Canara Pinto and Vishal travels for their to and fro journeys.

My first trip by train to Mumbai was a good one - I cannot recall much of it as my uncle and aunt were with me, but the return trip was unforgettable for the fact that my cousin and I, who were in our teens then were busy eyeing a cute girl and we had eavesdropped and learnt that she spoke Konkani. Our happiness knew no bounds. My cousin, a good two years older than me, even found out her name from the name list pasted at every compartment’s entrance. She was from Kumta or at least getting down at Kumta. We never slept till she got down and then inevitably had to sleep for the next 3 hours till we reached Kundapura. Getting down at every station, hopping around compartments to scan for some other homegrown lassies, standing on the door and feeling the wind at our faces and allowing it to blow our hair away- ( now I know why both of us have less hair J) were a few things we did without a care of the world.

This was in my teens. Life is just like a train ride. It takes turns- some small to the left and right and some huge abrupt U turns, sometimes it even derails. I too had to take a train to Kolkata, a huge change in my life, but looking back now, it looks a small diversion in the journey of life. But the train ride was fun. We were 6 of us, all classmates who had all landed up jobs in the same company. We encountered eunuchs, battled loose motions, learned to eat and digest even stones. All these just by a train ride to Kolkata. Life teaches everyone a lesson each day, some take it, learn from it and become wise and many others like me wait for the second lesson, which will surely be present round the corner and usually is accompanied with punishments for missing the first lesson.
    
The advantages of boarding the train in the first destination and getting down at the last station are numerous. One of them is that you will meet lots of new people form new places. Faces next to you keep changing at every 10 th station, and just having a casual talk with them teaches you new things. Acquaintances made during the train journey may not be permanent, but sometimes they end up being life long.

I have taken numerous train rides from Mangalore to Chennai and the other way around as well. Every time I reached Mangalore, I was happy and every time I reached Chennai I was sad. Many of the articles written by me, published on this website were conceived, sitting on the upper berth – my favorite berth. Its such a nice place, just because after u dump your luggage under the lower berth and occupy the upper berth, you can just relax knowing there is no one to disturb you.

Recently I took a short 40 minute train ride to Port Talbot. The ride was scenic as Wales is a very beautiful and there was slight drizzle outside which made it look even more beautiful. Out of nowhere I thought the train is travelling through our very own Gods own country- Kerala. It was similar in many aspects, the greenery, a steward selling tea and coffee, the TC checking tickets etc and different in some: firstly train was waterproof I mean water did not seep into the berth from a small 12 cm crack which the maintenance knowingly ignored and secondly the steward shouted “ANYTHING FROM THE STALL” instead of shouting “CHAYA CHAYA, KAAPI KAAPI”.

It has been a long time since I have travelled in a train. I have a major ambition of travelling throughout India in trains- not in Rajdhaani or in Shatabdi, but in these small trains like Chennai mail, Howrah Express, Mangalore Mail etc which go from one city to another and then take another connecting train to another city. I don’t know whether I will ever be able to fulfill this dream, but dreams are good. Don’t you think? But ambitions sometimes ruin life and put you in a hole. Another desire is to travel in the Mangalore- Bangalore train. I have heard a lot about it, especially about the winding paths and awesome scenery, hopefully soon.

I have many other ambitions and fantasies related to trains, but I consider them unworthy of getting a mention here. J . Trains have been a boon to our nation of more than a billion people. I sincerely hope government orders superfast trains pretty soon and help me fulfill my dreams.

 

Anil D'Souza - Archives:

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Comments on this article
Valson Mendonsa, Mangalore/USATuesday, July 05, 2011
I love Indian Railways, after 9 years I have visited India just last year by paying airfare alone RS.65,000.00, when I get down in Bombay I took Konkan railway to visit Mangalore just to enjoy the journey, In Bombay I took local train pass to roam around..really I enjoyed Indian train journey, it carrys anybody .. anywhere..at affordable price.
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David Sequeira, Koteshwar/AbuDhabiTuesday, July 05, 2011
Dear Anil,Now its tm to b the engine of the train thats ur family train, u r capabale and ull do it God Bless u
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Shamin Sequeira, Mangalore/MuscatTuesday, July 05, 2011
We would like to take similar a train journey, starting from or terminating @ Mangalore or Bombay..to really experience the diversity of our country..any suggestions....
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Dolfred D'Souza, Goa/Mangalore/UKTuesday, July 05, 2011
Very well said Anil - Life is just like a train ride. Life is not a race, but a journey to be savoured every step of the way. we need to learn to love the journey, and not just the destination. Enjoy the beautiful scenary before we reach our final station. We all need to live life to its fullest each day!! Enjoy every second of our life, because time races by so much quicker than we think. So take care of yourself, and enjoy life! Use time wisely for yourself, loved ones & others. Life is Short. Spend much time as you can loving and caring people who love you. Enjoy each moment with them before it’s too late.
"Happiness is what you choose to remember.”
Enjoy every moment in the journey of your life, even if you don't know the outcome. Relinquish your attachment to the outcome. This means giving up your rigid attachment to a specific result and LIVING IN THE WISDOM OF UNCERTAINTY.
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V.Baretto, Bantwal-BangaloreTuesday, July 05, 2011
wonderful experience. try and venture by Bangalore-Mangalore day train passing through the beautiful western ghats. Though it takes long 11 hrs. it is an added experience for persons of your caliber,atleat to first timers. I always prefer train journey be it to Mangalore or to Chennai
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nelson, mangalore/kuwaitTuesday, July 05, 2011
Thank you Anil for this informative article. Your views and mine are identical except for one point. I prefer always the lower berth (window side)instead of the upper one. Mangalore to Bangalore day train is a must for you. The winding paths and beautiful scenary after subramanya road until for another two hours journey is a unforgetable experience and you need to carry a zooming camera to capture those scenic beauties. A West coast express journey from Mangalore to Chennai is also a soothing one.
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Jimmy Noronha, Bellore,Kulshekar,LucknowTuesday, July 05, 2011
Good one. I prefer train travel to any other mode of travel air travel notwithstanding, as in the plane you have to go through so many hassles and it is often scary too, and one has to walk quite long if in Delhi, whereas in the train in the side lower berth, one is free as a bird if one is in second class AC, it is great and like the writer I too love train travel.
Comment on this message

Vivek Baliga, Bangalore/Abohar (PB)Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Train Journies in India always have a mystical touch in them, they make u feel so humble in my experience, would agree on errol the Side Lower is the best seat in the class, and if u are looking at a good train journey in India, try the Kerla Samprak Kranthi, which starts in Chandigarh and Ends in Trivandrum via the konkan Coast its 3 days 11 states one amazing journey, u will relsih
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Errol, KundapurMonday, July 04, 2011
Anil,

Good article.. Upper Berths Are Perfect For Sleepy Heads.. But if You want to enjoy the sceneary outside.. and the Greenery Inside.. Try the Side Lower.. as it has both a personal window to the outside world.. and a direct and open access to the aisle... Plus.. u have the flexibility of sleeping\ sitting anytime of the day you want..
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