A train is not just a vehicle. It carries emotion; it carries the joy of moving forward, it carries the thrill of speed. Many times, when we read about any train journey in a book or on the internet, we are told the story of travelling in inter-state trains. However, a local train-journey is not devoid of thrill, adventure and happiness either.
Last week I travelled to ____________ from _____________ on a local train. We reached the station at 10 am. The station itself had many stories to tell. There were so many people- families, office-goers, masons, labourers, vendors, the fruit hawkers and food sellers and so on. All looked so busy, so full of life. As I was sitting in the station for my train to arrive, I saw many trains come and go. A deep realisation engulfed me - the trains come and go, the station remains the same.
Almost 15 minutes later, our train arrived. There was so much rush as it was office hour. At first, there was no seat for us to sit. The train started moving and the station moved backwards. It felt so amazing to imagine that the train was still but the trees and the houses were moving. However, it was hard for me to look out from the window because of the crowd. The office goers were the regular commuters, so they remained in their group and talked about politics and the sports. The women in the train were sitting and wiping the sweat off their faces. I saw two senior citizens. They were standing. It felt good to see that some of the passengers offered their seats to those two people. However, there were some rowdies too in the train who were standing near the door and were blocking the entrance. People were finding it hard to enter the train because of them.
As two or three stations passed, the crowd in the train became thin. Now, I could enjoy the journey. I got a seat. The typical sound of the train moving had a rhythm to it. It felt musical. Outside the window, I could see the meadows, the houses, the cows and goats. The train was moving at a decent speed and the air from the window brushed my face. It felt good in the sweltering heat. There was a couple sitting on the opposite seat. They had a 5-year old daughter travelling with them. Somehow, the family and I started a conversation and it felt good to meet new people.
While I was in the train, many hawkers boarded the compartment. They were selling different kinds of things. Some were selling toffees and snack items, some were selling files and copies, some were selling perfumes and so on. The speciality of these local train hawkers was, they can outshine any advertisement-writer with their own sales-pitch. Their sales pitches were not bland and dry. Some sang songs, some imitated the politicians while selling things. They had a very distinct sense of literature.
There was one thing that I wish I had not experienced. Apart from the green meadows that I saw from the windows, I also saw countless huts and tin-shade houses. There were many slums that were present beside the rail line. The poverty all around was disheartening to see. I promised myself to help these poor people when I start earning money.
As the train stopped at my destination station, I got down. After leaving the station, I felt like I was living on another planet for the past 40 minutes. It was not a train journey. It was an epiphany.
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