lalbagh diary – musings from the track – part 3
1115 my co pax and I finally began bonding as we joined together cribbing abt these men who have changed the coach into a local train . They are standing crowding around us and there’s no place for even the pantry guys to come in . Incidentally we spoke abt our lives and chatted about our jobs and our monthly trips between the two cities – we did have something in common besides the cribs , altho she prefers bangalore and me , of course madras
1130 I decide to look out of the window to distract myself and see the scenery drastically change from forests and fields to real estate plots – every beautiful landscape has been stripped to form these societies – depressing ! A kid wails and her mother tries to distract her . Trains slowing down again and we see some compounds of small houses – its thiruvallur now
1140 I am now hungry – but there’s no sign of the veg cutlets – the vendors walked in just twice – bajji , onion vadai, masala vadai, some soup too and even holige or boli , the sweet – but no veg cutlets . Those guys also have disappeared; there’s no place for them to walk through the crowd standing I guess
1145 airtel has already welcomed me to chennai – I see the chennai from the window – vast open spaces with towers all over ; reminds me of my maternal grandfather, an engineer of his time who travelled the length and breadth of our country and even abroad building towers . My dads father was another great traveller of his times – a visionary , he had been to so many countries . He would be comfortable in a big city , an electricity less remote forest and villages . Both of them loved nature and heritage and were men of never ending energy and passion . I inherited the wanderlust from them .
1155 finally the outskirts of madras and places I’m familiar with avadi , ambattur – once remember being stranded in ambatttur when I was a difft me, someone who was scared to even get out of the house alone , someone who was always protected and lived a cloistered life .
1200 the bags come down as everyones getting ready to leave – now the local stops will start . This is the difference with the shatabdi – it stops only at central – the coffee , tea, soup, mineral water and cool drinks sales ends .
1201 perambur – always been my dream to see the coach factory here ; fascinated by trains and esplly goods trains – don’t ask me why .
1205 – Another 3 odd stations now ; quite a long stop – all the jokers who were standing refused to gv room to those who alighted ; remember travellg by this train a few years ago in a normal non AC compartment and it was a nightmare after katpadi- arakonam – it becomes a local unreserved train with people standing sweating – worse than the most crowded pallavan 29C
1210 finally at basin bridge , speaking to one of the men who is standing near our seat – heard that the group of men waiting here are headg to madras fm katpadi for a meeting . I asked why they didn’t organise a coach for them – irony that they were standing all this while and he just shrugged and instead spoke about his life – he was fm bangalore and he is now in the communications dept in katpadi ; he told me the man in the sunflowery badge was their leader called kanhaiya . He started bragging about the guy but we were already approaching central
1215 pulling into central station and the crowd outside the platform is more – the lalbagh leaves as the express and already the gen class compartment is teeming with people who are ready to leave for bangalore . The sea breeze is so refreshing as I step out and breathe the fresh air – I just love this city .