Calicut to Hazrat Nizamuddin-A train journey I Cherish
For an Indian, train journeys have always been an integral part of our lives. Anyone who says that they rather fly than travel in a train is truly missing out on a large chunk of the holiday experience. As a child I used to eagerly wait for my summer break because I knew that a 48 hour journey in the train awaited me.

The pre-travel excitement used to be too much for me to handle. The whole cooking up of snacks, cakes and food that would last that long, packing of my little bag with goodies- books and games to be enjoyed through the journey, picking the special soft toy that would make it to the trip with me. The last one week used to be extremely long and never ending. Finally they day would arrive when we would bundle our entire luggage into the car and drive down to Calicut to catch out train. Waiting at the station listening to every announcement that was made about the trains. All the while I was convinced we missed our train and then finally seeing our train chug into the station I would jump up and like any kid would grab my goodies bag and the food bag in case someone forgot it and trot of to where I knew our bogie would stop. After settling in on my berth and making sure that my worldly possessions were chained and properly locked would I look around to see who
ould be my neighbors for the next 48 hours?

The monotonous rhythm of the train would soon lull me into sleep and as expected I would want the upper most berths which I would never get. Grownups I tell you could act like perfect kill joys. The moment I would put my head down to sleep some vendor would come in selling interesting (according to mum min waste of money) which I would immediately want. I would stop the vendor and make him show me the entire content of his exciting and wonderful basket.

Soon it would be time for dinner, leading a protected life I would never be allowed to have that was served on the train. I always thought it unfair but then I was given yummy scrumptious food my mother cooked especially for me and my dad wasn’t allowed even a bite out of it. I did make me feel all superior and special. The moment diner was done and the berths were lowered I would hop into my lowest bunk snuggle under the blanket and pull out my soft toy and a book to read. Or at times I would just sit and look outside at the lights flashing by or the small villages with kids waving at the train whizzing past me.

I always wished that one day I could stop the train and wander into these villages. Lying on my back and looking at the moon playing hide and seek among the clouds and tress I would drift off to sleep, I would either sleep through the night or wake up at night at some station and to my delight I would see that my dad was awake and silently both of us would slip out to the station without waking up my mother and my dad would buy me a coffee and I would drink it along with him feeling mightily important about myself that my dad thought me worthy enough to include me in his midnight coffee drinking expeditions.

Jhansi and Gwalior were two points on the journey that I eagerly awaited, though never having seen either of the places expect in my history textbook. I always thought that there was certain amount of romance connected to both these places maybe because of Jhansi ki Rani and then Phoolan Devi. When the train passed through Chambal I was hopped to see dacoits on horseback riding alongside the train, stupid childish thoughts, that I am glad now didn’t happen for real. Looking at the Jhansi Rani's fort from a distance always thrilled me and the thrill of catching a glimpse of the fort still hasn’t left me at this age. I guess we carry a lot of our fantasies and likes from our childhood days.

The final excitement used to be the name of my destination – Hazrat Nizamuddin in Dilli. The name always conjured up the old Dilli- Mirza Ghalib’s times. I would tell everyone in the train that I was going to Hazrat Nizamuddin. But unfortunately the one regret I always have is that I never went to Hazrat Nizamuddin’s Dargha.