Tag Archives: traveling woes

A revisit …..

A few weeks back after a very long time I had the opportunity to travel to Pune by train. As soon as I reached my seat and as the train gave a loud whistle indicating it was time to leave the station, it brought back old memories, of around 20 years ago when I used to travel on a regular basis to Pune from Mumbai during my Post Graduation. Well, those were the days which I really cherish and will never forget.

Waking up during wee hours of the morning and leaving in a hurry from home to catch the early morning train to Pune. This was my routine at the start of every week for about a year. I made many friends who also had a similar schedule and travelled to Pune by the same train. I recollect that I had got a monthly train pass and how we used to meet up at a designated spot to catch the train (as during those days there were no mobiles).

For this trip, I got my seat reserved and was more at ease as compared to my earlier travel days. So here started another mesmerizing journey to Pune. Sitting by the window, watching the greenery, the hill-tops, blue sky passing by as the train sped up and the parallel railway track which are always running with me irrespective of the train speed took me 2 decades back.

I still recollect that we (including my friends) used to catch a fixed coach and mostly a fixed seat. It was like we owned that coach J As soon as the train started we used to chit chat, pulling each other’s legs and sharing our snack boxes. Then it was time for a small nap as the train passed through the hills of Khandala (Mumbaikar’s favorite hill station to visit) with cool breeze hitting you. This had become our routine schedule during our to & fro journey to Pune.

Now I was travelling alone and I did miss my friends. I made a mental note to get intouch with all of them and plan for a revisit to Pune the same way which we all used to do before. But alas! I wish we all could do that as most of my friends (the Pune train friends) are working out of the country and hence it is next to impossible to make all of them come together.

A little jerk from the train brought me back to into the present. There was hustle and bustle in the coach with people pulling their bags from the side stand. The train had slowed as it was entering the station. Old memories are always sweet and I never realized that it was time for me to get down at my destination.

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Same pinch …..

Two strangers facing each other, our eyes meet, mine to that of the opposite person and the opposite person’s to mine. We exchanged smiles, mine been more wider as I felt so, maybe the opposite person’s smile was wider than mine, I am not sure. We looked at each other’s hand, initially that person glanced at my hands and then noticing that the eyes were looking at my hands I did the same, in complete syncronisation with each other. We both stared at each other almost for a minute trying to adjust our eye’s pupil to get a proper glance of the object in our hand.

No no … this is not what you are thinking. This happened yesterday evening while I was traveling back home in the train. We both boarded the same train, the same coach and from the same station. Once I got in we were facing exactly opposite each other (well, people traveling in Mumbai local trains will understand it much better 🙂 ).

Well, it was the book we both were holding to read during the journey towards home. And I know you will be disappointed to read that the opposite person was not female too. We both were holding the same book to read. I normally have a habit to read during my train journey and once I hop into the train I immediately remove the book from my bag to read.

We both were reading the same book and hence all these exchanges of eye contact and smiles tiny-smileys-yesemoticons-032. I have seen many people reading books while traveling but hardly I have found anyone reading the same book as mine. Couple of times it has happened that people have asked me about the author and the book I was reading at that time but never have I had an experience like yesterday.

Another few minutes of scanning each other we both got engrossed into our reading but the curious person I am, I did not allow myself to settle calmly. I wanted to pinch him hard and say same pinch but I avoided it tiny-smileys-yesemoticons-125. I took the initiative to ask him his opinion about the author and then it all started from how to when to where to who and lots more. Infact the full 50 minutes of our traveling journey we were chatting on all the topics we can think of; books to politics to demonetization to our profession.

Well, it’s the power of the book and the reading habit which helps to friend a stranger no matter which part of the world you are in.