“Not all those who wander are lost” – J.R.R. Tolkien
I resonate with this line and find it suitable for people who travel. In the last few months, my relationship with Indian railways has deepened. I never got a chance to take the trains so much before coming to India Fellow and that too, by myself. Slowly, I am adapting a new way of life. In this blog post, I’ll take you through a series of train journeys I took recently.
Delhi To Udaipur
This was in April, when I was going to the India Fellow induction training. It was an emotional moment for me because I felt like walking on an unknown path. I had the courage within me. As the journey started, two people deeply engrossed in their conversation came and sat on the seat in front of me. They were brothers-in-law and were going from Ghaziabad to Mahaveerji temple in Karauli, Rajasthan. When I told them about my reason to travel, they appeared excited. We cracked a few jokes and kept the environment alive.
The India Fellow team and a few of my co-fellows were also travelling in the same train. We gathered to have dinner and dispersed to our respective berths to sleep. Next morning, as we reached Udaipur, it felt like the time flew in a blink of an eye. I realized that I lose track of time when I’m with other people.
Ahmedabad To Delhi
During the training, we went from Udaipur to Ahmedabad on a bus and hence, my next train journey was from Ahmedabad to Delhi. This time, I was traveling with a co-fellow, Shweta. I had to ultimately go to Bihar to start working there but Delhi is home and I thought of breaking the journey there. The interesting part was that even though our tickets were not confirmed, we went ahead and traveled.
It was my first time in the sleeper coach and I got to meet extremely helpful people in this journey. Before boarding the train, I was worried if anyone would let us even sit without reservation. But we met people who took special care of us. One of them made space for us and asked us to sit comfortably. On the way, we tried food on various stations. The night was suffocating as there were many people lying around in all corners. When we reached Delhi, I was exhausted.
Bihar To Roorkee
From Delhi to Bihar, I took a flight to Patna and then a bus. For work, I got an opportunity to travel to Roorkee, Uttrakhand. This was to work on the after-school learning center that’s run with the marginalised children in villages. Poorabiya Express, from Simri Baktiarpur has become my go to train now to travel this route.
Vande Bharat train and the snacks served to passengers on board
Once I also changed the train at Delhi, and went to Roorkee in Vande Bharat express. The advanced facilities such as comfortable seating, passenger information and announcement system (just like in Delhi Metro) really impressed me. Bihar has just begun to feel like home, and now I think with repeated visits, Roorkee would follow suit.
Due to these long train travels, I got to witness the diverse landscapes. The transition from someone who did not travel much to someone who is now getting to do it on a regular basis is enjoyable. I am seeing new places, talking to new people, and understanding their perspective. It has now become a routine and I hope that the excitement doesn’t die down. That it remains an adventure. What is your train story?