Journeys have fascinated travelers almost as much as the destination, sometimes, even more than the destination itself. For who knows what awaits us at the end of the road? All that you can be sure of, count on, the only experience you can soak in, is the path you’re journeying. In fact, isn’t everyday just another mile in the journey we’ve all embarked upon? Anyway, this one is just my insight on one of the 100 shorter journeys we take on… a journey to a specific destination, from A to B, and of all the joys and surprises and teachings, this seemingly mundane and well-planned journey brings.
Among all means of travel, I’ve always found train journeys particularly… May I say, romantic! You might never know who’ll be your companion, which stories would unfold, when, over the long route, there would be an unsaid exchange of ideas and emotions… And how it may bring you closer to those you thought you’ve always known, in ways you had never thought of..
To board the train to leave the familiar confines of home in the morning, spend the afternoon in the company of deserted small stations and friends you’ve only just met… twilight sets over Rajasthan as the train is gradually moving towards its destination. And I know not how many towns and cities have passed us during the night.
The arid beauty. The feeling of being ‘nowhere’. The wilderness. The panorama of trees. A muster of peacocks here, a peek into the village life there, hills, rivers, forts, cities, the clatter as the train moves on the bridge, the change of tracks; each, though just a fleeting glimpse, becomes a word that completes the story.
Sometimes, I get down at the stations when the train halts. Places I’ve always wanted to visit or may be just hadn’t given a thought at all.. Until now. Bhopal, Meerut, Agra on this line. I step on the soil, breathe the air, witness a few minutes of their life, be a part of them, even if that’s for a very short while. And we hurry back in when the horn blows.. I settle on my seat. I look out and smile.
And even among this gush of words and tales and places, I find time for myself. To look at the night cast a shadow on the setting sun as I listen to Late Goodbye. It’s a perfect setting- to soak in the day, ponder over what I’ve left behind and what I’m taking along, to muse over what lies ahead, or just grab a book and give myself the pleasure of an undisturbed read.
Even then, I can’t help but muse, someday I’ll pack my backpack, get a ticket, catch a train to a place, and get off at whichever station amuses me. No plans, no foreboding, no turning back! I get a knot in the pit of my stomach; the idea is more intimidating than exciting. But then again, love is about taking a chance… 🙂