Whenever we have to travel long distances within the country we can travel by train or by air in an aeroplane. I remember my first train journey which I performed when I was just about four years old.
After that journey so long back, I have made several journeys by train but, that first journey still lingers in my mind and thoughts.
We had to go to Madras, where my father had to attend a Conference. Since we had not then seen Madras and our winter vacations were falling during the dates of the Conference, it was decided that we would all go with father and make a trip to the South.
Regarding the visits to different places of the South I remember next to nothing as, I was rather small but the train journey is still very vivid in my mind. There, at Madras, my father had to attend a Conference whose date was the 18th of December so; it was decided to leave for Madras on the 15th.
After a long wait, at last the 15th of December came and my excitement knew no bounds. I would be going on my first ever train journey, enjoying an outing and seeing new places.
The train that we had to go by was known as the G.T. Express i.e. the Grand Trunk Express and we went to the station to board it. I think it was evening time when we boarded the train. Inside we had dinner and then my parents and my elder brother all slept. I could not get sleep as, I was just too excited. I remember that, I had taken a window so that I could see the fun outside but, alas. No sooner that we had finished dinner, it was dark and nothing was visible from the window.
It was only at the stops at the stations, I would peep out and see the rush and life on the platform. Seeing the stations for sometimes, I finally slept. When I woke up in the morning after a comfortable sleep at night, I was absolutely thrilled to look outside. The area the train was now crossing depicted a very beautiful cross section of land forms and greenery, mills and villages.
Oh, what a panoramic beauty it all was. When the train crossed over different land forms, the sounds it made were heard changing – sometimes deep grunts, sometimes a smooth flow and at other times just a thud here and thud there. When the train crossed over bridges on expanses of water, the sound was of gurgling.
This medley of sounds created by the movement of the train was a wonderful experience the different stretches of huge expanses of land and water and different plantations for miles on end, showed nature in its full form and beauty. As we passed through village areas, I noticed fields of rice, wheat, mustard and vegetables. Oh what a wonderful sight of the cross-section of India.
At the stations the train would stop and another scene of civilization would take over from nature, and when the train again started, the nature would again take over.
This hides and seeks of scenes continued throughout the journey, and the music of terrain and water changing off and on was just stunning. This interesting scene continued for almost thirty six hours but, believe me, I enjoyed every minute of it.
A mobile home with all amenities, a look at nature and also human civilization was all seen packed up as one presentation package for me. The thirty six hours had just flown by and we were at the Madras junction.
I cannot forget this first journey by train even after eight years now and I do wonder if I ever will.