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A Colourful Journey

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A Colourful Journey

India has long been associated as country of many cultures, languages, dialects, customs, cuisines, religions, myths and mysteries. From the tongue twisting languages of the south to the various dialects of Hindi spoken in the north, from the dosas and idlis of the south to the chole batura and bhel of north, from the coastal areas to the plains of central India and the mountains up the north, the pulse of India and that of Indians can be felt from Kanyakumari to Jammu and from Kutch to Guhawati during the rail journey through India.

A vast country with more than a billion people, exploring India with its caves and beaches, mountains and valleys will consume a lifetime. So will getting to know Indians with their various rituals, costumes, practices and beliefs.

But a train journey, as I have experienced many times, will present a picture of a miniature India before you. With a capacity to carry more than a thousand passengers from different parts of the country, one gets to interact with people from all walks of life.

Initially the long train journeys bored me and I detested the not-so-clean railways. But as fate forced me to be a regular commuter, I started enjoying my journeys.

And the best part of it was getting to know new people. It is great fun interacting with co-passengers and the usually long and time consuming train journeys becomes short in their company. The game of cards is the best loved by all passengers and I cannot remember even a single journey when we have not unpacked the card set for a game of Donkey or Bluff. I was even presented with a pack of playing cards by one of my elderly co-passengers seeing our enthusiasm.

Once it so happened that all the commuters in my coupe were from different states of India and each of us started singing the praises of our states and asserting that they were the best. It went on for a long time with each every getting animatedly involved in the discussion until the person from Rajasthan distributed some nice, hot and delicious Kachoris. We had to agree that they were really good. Later we went about discussing Indian cricket and Bollywood.

Another time we happened to be traveling with a pack of army men who entertained us with their jokes and enlightened us about their lives and struggles. Even having kids as co-passengers leaves us with a bunch of memories and new experiences and stories when we alight at our destination. A few have even had the chance to meet their life partners during their train journeys as I learnt from one of my co-passengers during a journey to the north.

I have crossed with many others too during these lively and colourful trips. With some of them I keep contact, though it breaks over time and with more acquaintances, and with majority I just cross path for a few hours or day or two, but many of whom leave traces of those memories for a long time. Reports of co-passengers cheating and robbing, of injuring and disturbing others are not uncommon and one has to be vigilant and cautions and these bad experiences of such kind are also not less. But every journey is a new experience, a new understanding of life and people and a new story added to ones book of life.

Contributed By: Gitanjali Maria I’m a undergraduate student from Kerala interested in writing stories, essays and poems. maria.gitanjali@gmail.com

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