Thinking of my countless train journeys, in my mind’s eye, I see a kaleidoscope of memories, of people I met and the places I saw, of the undeniable beauty that unfolded mile after mile, of the shouts and cacophony of railway stations and the silence of the nights, and the looking out of the windows through unseen eyes.
Recalling, I can almost feel the cool breeze when we are near streams and rivers, the wheels thundering over the bridge and I can think back vividly of the unbearably hot afternoons and the landscape broken occasionally by the lone tree. I remember the verdant meadows and the delicate yellow mustard in the fields. I can only imagine the swish of the golden sheaves of wheat as they sway in the wind, the clatter of the train drowning out the gentle sound.
I think of the times I had walked along the rail tracks with friends trying to get to someplace when we were not sure of where we were going.
I can recall Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina as she sets her eyes on Vronsky and her destiny for the first time on a railway platform.
I can think of the incredibly crowded trains where people jostle for space. I sit with Margayya of R.K.Narayan’s Financial Expert, watching as a man tries to enter the train through the window just to get a seat.
I recall the many snippets of overheard conversations on the railway station and on trains that have stayed with me over the years, my mind still turning the phrases around to make sense or to understand the context.
I think of the entire gamut of human emotions that I have been fortunate to witness in those places where humanity is bursting at seams.
Over all other means of transport, it is a train for me every time. I have had so much time to day dream during those journeys.