Inside 2622- Tamilnadu Express
The surging forward movement of the locomotive delivers rhythmic vertical strokes to the body while the chugging berceuse synchronised perfectly to the coaxing and cajoling horizontal swings transports the mind to a state of transcendental bliss. The rocks of the moving train massages every nerve of the human anatomy that there isn’t yet a swing comparable to its magic that instantaneously puts your senses to a long spell of suspended animation. Though not sure if any medical researcher has worked on the subject, I feel strongly that a train travel would be an ideal course of treatment to anyone suffering from bouts of insomnia. However sleep deprived one be in static life but in a train journey, you could sleep till eternity.
While the harmonic musical shake will put you to extended periods of slumber, the kaleidoscopic panorama of the view seen through the window would keep you wide awake throughout. The rapid alternation of the scenes, from the lush green mellows to the long stretches of barren hinterland to the occasional site of a winding river, the nature, through its bountiful variety, casts a spell of awe and wonderment that doesn’t bestow the eyes the luxury to wink. And as you are charmed by the ever changing beauty of the flora that whizz past you, a bewildering diversity of human beings that form part of the altering landscape would equally bowl you over. From a semi-clad solitary farmer negotiating his bullocks on the field, to the hoards of bejewelled ladies forming the part of a marriage convoy, to the rows of little girls carrying head loads of twigs, to the idling elders on the charpoys smoking their hokkas to glory, the spectacle of the human species and their myriad daily chores are indeed a treat that one cannot turn his sight from. And if all this is not enough to keep you awake, the sight of appalling poverty that characterise the setting of a railway platform would knock out any vestige of drossiness left in you.
Between these contrasting backdrops that alternatively keep you in deep quiteuide and in expectant alertness, the engaging conversations with fellow passengers could be an intellectual stimuli. As many of you would have experienced, a verbal exchange with the co-traveller typically begin with the offer of a cookie and quickly turn very intimate and even personal as the travel progresses. A very comfortable topic that everyone around enthusiastically pitches in would be on the state of the political affairs of the country with each dissecting the reasons why the current dispensation is the worst that could have happened to the nation. This will not be complete without an eloquent self-appreciation of the virtues of our democracy and equally loud denouncements of our neighbour’s affairs. As the discussion gets animated, few passengers open up to share their personal data and even carry forward their travelling acquaintance to their grounded lives. And for the more enterprising lot, a game of cards and a round of chilled somethings make the journey a very memorable one. With all these happening, there isn’t a dull moment in an Indian train journey.
It is now dark outside and inside passengers are spreading their beds after a sumptuous shared dinner. With the descend of a certain silence, it’s time for me to get caressed to a rocking sleep on the lower side berth and the Rehman number “ Cheya Cheya” wafting from the ipod of the upper berth traveller is damn intoxicating.