Rambling about Rails

Memories enfolded in the synapses of an endless intertwined web of cellular material only to be untangled in the most unexpected situations. One moment I was here solving problems in my class and in a split second I could hear the childish toot of a locomotive whistle reverberating and waking up the lush hills from its slumber. The grassy meadows carrying the parallel paths of iron hustled like they had goosebumps. My pupils widened in excitement as my soul reconnected to that moment of my 8 year old self dwelling into a fantasy world for the first time.
Choo! Choo! The Bradley manor locomotive sent out its departing whistle. Lucy, Susan, Edmund and Peter boarded the train and bid their mother a farewell, as did so many other children evacuating the war zone. With all hopes faded in their eyes, the train sets off carrying them into a new journey.
The train passes through the English landscape with one of the most magical songs I have ever heard in the background.

šŸŽ¶ One breath, for all
Beneath the wall
Feel this, Feel This

One breath, for all
So tender
Feel this, Feel this

The scenes :

The song:

(Stop! Picture the sweet innocent smile of your childhood self, Listen to the song, then proceed. You deserve to smile today šŸ™‚ )

(I have been searching for the person who sang it but there’s no information on the web. If you happen to know please do let me know in the comments)

We lost count of how many times me and my sister have seen Narnia. This three minute scene has been etched in my memory like its yesterday. Lucy’s little woollen hat, Peter responsibly consoling crying Lucy, Edmund’s adolescent snarkiness, Susan’s smile hiding her grief of separating from her mother.. I remember every thing about this scene but one thing I took for granted was the location of the scene. The train platform. Is it coincidence that two of the most popular fantasy sagas start from a train platform?
Isn’t it a beautiful metaphor for a transition from one part of their life into an unknown destination. Trains and these ever busy stations what’s so magical about them that excites me?

I grew up near a periodic overhauling workshop for trains. We lived in an old British era colony that was built for people working in the workshop. Me and my sis would go around the colony in our bicycle having mini adventures exploring the nooks and corners. Sometimes these mini trips would end up near the engine workshop. We had our own ‘bridge to terabithia’ world. From behind the walls we heard all sorts of ominous sounds. Giant metallic demons thumping, Clattering of their iron vessels. It was indeed the giant’s castle to me at that age. Charlie had to walk past the chocolate factory every day to get to his home. He would take slower paces near the factory so that he could enjoy the aroma of chocolate as long as he could. Meanwhile I wondered whether the black petroleum smelling fluid emanating from the factory would give me superpowers if I jumped in it. (ugh idiotic).

Every train journey taught me something valuable in life. My first realization about the concept of death..(woof getting a darker turn) was in a train journey. My first social interactions outside the bubble I lived in was while travelling in a train. Back then we used to board only the unreserved coaches. It is quite a challenge to get into them but the excitement of hearing the stories of new people was worth the hustle bustle. Well, it wasn’t me exactly, it’s my mother who always initiates the conversation with anybody. My mother is as much extroverted as I am introverted. Seriously she makes friends like that *snap*, in an instant. With a broken English she has managed to make friends out of strangers from Netherlands, UK. There were a group of college students in one such jam-packed trip. I vaguely remember this entire gang together laughing and smiling. They were the first impression of what college life is supposed to be, for me. I hope all those nice friendly people whose faces have washed away in the tides of time from my memory are doing well now.

There’s something melancholic and sonder worthy about railway stations than any other public commuting places.. Three fourth of my train journeys, it was only me and my backpack. The weekend trips in Rockfort express from college to home, the saturday trips in brindavan express from Chennai to Bangalore, official trips to telengana, the trips to Kerala… I could go hours gazing at the vast grass fields and paddy crops or the distant palm trees or the lonely houses dotted here and there in the vast desolated fields. We spend all our lives tucked in cozy corners of our apartments and only a train journey wakes us truly by the gushing breeze that hits us when we peek out of the windows, sometimes it whispers in a swooshy voice.. “This is life”, squishing our tiny noses through the crossbars just enough so we could see the entire curvature of train taking a turn… Despite frequent bus journeys only in a train journey I realized how big the world is…I wonder how my life would be if I were one among the kids the other side waving at the 90 mile per hour train.. Their faces swooshed (swoosh sounds like a made up word but it isn’t lol) away from memory at the same rate, yet I wonder how each and every human life is different.. All those villages, all those people, all the sad faces, happy faces.

There’s a concept in philosophy called Emergence, the property of entities coming together to form a whole unit that has completely different properties compared to its components. The criss crossing swarm of people, the majestic trains huffing compressed air like a bull ready for its epic race, the meticulously careful voice of the announcing lady in speakers.. Now let’s take a leap up and see them all as a whole. Doesn’t it feel like the entire place is living and breathing life. For most people this is the only place where we make eye contact with most strangers compared to any other establishment in our daily routine.

I have spent a considerable portion of my life waiting in train junctions. It’s not like every journey was a pleasant one nor I would sit like a curious poet on the bench and write all this, admiring the beauty of being present there. But again like life, we endure the bitter truths, dust our hands and prepare for that new journey. As Robert Frost said, miles to go before I sleep ā™„


It’s been 4 years!

I am choked in happiness now. Thank you so much to every gentle soul I met in this wonderful community who were there with kind and optimistic words for me when I was in toughest transition stage of my early independent life. I learnt so many things, laughed , cried reading your blogs. These past few years of me in wordpress, though inconsistent is really when I took a decisive step to pursue a serious hobby, to give out everything I wanted to say and I am ever grateful šŸ™‚


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