Memories of childhood; first train journey

My father,Subramanya Bhat, worked in the Indian
Railways from 1958 to 1987 and trains are so much a part
of his life.
So often I have seen his expression when he watches a train
chugging into the platform. There is so much of affection.
He gets three free passes in a year from Indian Railways to go anywhere in India. Railways is like a second home to my parents. Here he writes about how he travelled to Bombay as a small boy to his sister’s house in Bombay.

“ My sister was pressing Appa (father) to send me to Bombay during the   long summer holidays.  Appa was reluctant to send a
small boy like me alone to Bombay. After a year or so
he agreed to send me.  He had some old students working
at Guntakal station.  They assured Appa that they would
help me get into the Bomaby train.

After my annual exams. the summer holidays started.
There was nothing like seat reservation then for the
lowere classes.  I purchased a III class ticket to
Bombay at Hospet station and caught the Meter Gauge
train going to Guntakal.  I got down from the train.
One of Appa’s  students met me and guided me to the
Broad gauge platform to catch the train to Bombay.  He
instructed the porter to help me get into the train.

The train arrived from Madras. It was jam-packed.
The passengers  did not permit the doors to be opened.
The porter with me knew this.  At that time the windows
did not have any bars.  The porter lifted me and pushed
me inside telling the passengers inside that I was only
a boy travelling to Bombay for the first time.  He also
pushed my bag inside.  I had to stand for some time. As
the train moved I was shown a few inches of vacant seat
to sit down.  That’s how my trip to Bombay began.  I ate
some food given to me, watched the train cross the
Tungabhadra river.  Slowly sleep overcame me though I
was only sitting.

It was morning when we reached Poona station.  I
bought some rotis sold by the hawkers on the platform
and had my breakfast.  I wonder if you have ever
travelled by train from Poona to Bombay.  I think it
is one of the most beautiful train journeys in the
world.  After Lonavla, the train starts going down the
ghats passing through many tunnels.  It was my first
experience of going through a tunnel.  Finally, we
reached Dadar station, where I was told to get down
from the train.  My Akka(elder sister) and Bava (brother-in-law)were waiting for me
on the  platform.  They gave a sigh of relief seeing
me.

I was very happy and relieved.  We took a BBCI (now
called Western railway) train and got down at Bombay
Central station.  Their house was quite close to this
station and we quietly walked home.

What a wonderful journey!

For the love of trains

By Lakshmi Bhat

I am a person who believes there is not enough darkness in the world to extinguish the light of a small candle. We live in a small place in South India. I love reading, blogging, stitching, traveling, photography, listening to people and many other things which make life so very nice and interesting. Blogging is a fun experience, it has brought me into contact with people in different parts of the world and it is good to read about their everyday life. In spite of the differences there is a sameness which is fascinating. I have learnt and am learning something everyday. I have learnt to write haikus. I enjoy combining the thought and the number of syllables. I have always read books and I was happy to write short fiction. I had thought I would not be able to do so. Stream of Consciousness and photo challenges are fun too. Yes, there is so much in life that is sad and that hurts us. Many a time I wonder why life is so unfair to so many. We all have problems in life but the problems of many seems unbearable. This makes me feel so helpless. It is not possible to help everyone but we can do our bit, we can do something to help some in whatever way we can. I used to go to the Home for the Mentally challenged in our campus twice a week. I have been going there since 2011. The members are an important part of my life. Covid-19 has made it difficult for me to go there regularly. Hopefully I will be able to go there again. There have been many challenges in life and we have faced them with a positive approach. Our grandson and granddaughter have made life so much more richer.