Thursday, September 27, 2007

Going to Barrackpore:The two sides of it

Recently, I had the very pleasant experience of traveling by a local train. We were going to my aunt’s house(father’s sister) in Barrack pore, a suburb near Kolkata. As the train entered the platform, all I could see was compartments full of people. No sooner had it stopped than there was a mad rush to occupy a compartment. I didn’t have to enter the compartment myself, I was simply pushed inside along with the crowd. But, miraculously, we got seats. I occupied the edge of one of the long seats. After crossing every station, it seemed to me as though the number of people were increasing. They just seemed to be preferring our compartment and everyone was just pushing my left hand and shoulder as they went by. So, I was really thankful when Barrackpore arrived. But, that was not the end. The return journey was still left and it was worse. This time, we didn’t even get to sit. My mother stood holding on to one seat handle and I stood putting my arms around her shoulders. And, when we reached Bidhannagar station once more, it seemed to me as though the entire population of West Bengal had landed up on the platform.

The daily passengers gradually get used to the hectic journeys by local trains. But, we are not daily passengers. My mother used to travel by local trains some twelve years back. My father has never traveled regularly . And, you can easily rule me out. Forget local trains, I have never had to travel regularly by crowded buses. I go to school and come back when the buses are least crowded. I think I am exaggerating a bit here. You might always ask me how I’ll manage to travel by a local train in future if it becomes compulsory. Well, I’ll have to manage when the time comes. But, the fact is that we are not used to it at present. We visit our aunt’s place hardly once a year.

But, going to Barrackpore also has a good side. The goodness obviously lies in the great food(specially fried rice) cooked by my aunt and her charming smile. That’s why going to Barrackpore also means fun. I must say that my aunt’s hospitality makes up for the dismal train journeys. While serving us during lunch(or dinner), she becomes very nervous trying to ensure that we feel most comfortable. But, the fun would have been much more had my aunt chosen to build her house in a place where we would not have to go by local trains.

9 comments:

Swetank said...

Hi friend!

I'm really sorry I've been, err... away. I've disappeared, to use your words, but not permanently. I haven't really had a chance to comment on your posts or to reply to your comment on mine, but I've been reading your past few posts, if that helps. It's been a really crazy time, and promises to be so for the rest of this year.

Interesting post, this one. The fried rice, I have no doubt, would be totally delicious. I'm rather hungry at the moment... Travelling by local buses or trains is rather a tiresome process initially but you get to enjoy it once you get used to it. I know the thing I miss most about Delhi is all the travelling in DTCs and Bluelines, waiting in the heat, squelching on the mud to get up with the rest of them before it moved, the long time it used to take to get us to our destinations before the metro came in... everything. In some cases, it is the only time that you have to yourself, to reflect, to think, and well.. once you are in college, it also gives you a little bit of freedom. I've only been to Mumbai once but I felt the same about the train experience over there.

I personally love travelling and unless time is a real constraint, I prefer more time consuming modes of transport whether I'm alone or with friends. It gives me some sort of satisfaction to be on the move.

And you can expect to see me a lot more on your blog, if not mine. I promise, I won't disappear for so long again and will be more regular with the comments.

Kanu said...

Very interestingly put sinjini....Awesome read as always.

Subhadip said...

Oh! Those local trains are some experience for people not used to them. It's been a very long time I have boarded one. I always found the hawkers very interesting - selling everything from books to boxer shorts in their own unique style.

~ Deeps ~ said...

if the fried rice was as good as u described then i can make the journery every week :)

Titash RC said...

I once had a terrible experiance on my way to Barrackpore on a local train. My destination was Birati which lies before NEW Barrackpore and I took the train for Barrackpore..yup I ended up on a very different route...glad you enjoyed the journey

Rohit Talwar said...

My experience in trains has been VERY limited, but I have to admit they're always fun. It doesn't even bother me to feel tired after that. It is just such a different experience. Wish I could travel more.

Woodsmoke said...

Very well-written and descriptive post. What else was on the menu?

Eta ki Tatai-der barite?

Butterfly said...

@Swetank
Yeah, Hi again!It's really been a long time.:-)
Oh yes, the fried rice was really delicious.
Even I love travelling and I too prefer time consuming modes of transport. But, I also agree with you that travelling by local buses or trains is really tiresome.

@Kanu
Thanks.:-)

@Subhadip Da
Yes, the hawkers are very interesting. Sometimes, they also sing songs on a microphone to sell their goods!

@Deeps
If it's for the sake of the fried rice, I think your journey will be worth all the trouble of local trains.:-)

@Titash
So, you missed the word "NEW" before "Barrackpore". Were you alone?

@Rohit
My experience in local trains has been very limited too. But, they haven't been limited in long-distance trains. Those long-distance journeys have been really fun(like Kolkata-Delhi or Kolkata-Guntur).

@Woodsmoke
Thanks.:-)
Besides fried rice, there was tyangra fish, mutton curry,dal and mango chutney.
Eta Tatai Dada-deri bari.:-)

Chitrangada said...

I feel like having fried rice right now :P


lovely post and i love travelling in trains but i m not lucky as u r :)