• Nandini Sengupta

On the tracks

The whistling of the train

as it starts its expedition-

With promises made

to unravel mysteries

Hidden in treasures

in places unseen

and unheard of

The unearthing is all

that remains -

If I start penning my travel journal, my memories would inadvertently take me back to days when rail journeys were in vogue, not airways...

Quite early on, while on the routes, I found myself sitting and sleeping on berths inside railway compartments. Our vacations were planned either during the summer holidays or on Durga Pujas. Tickets were booked in advance and I would feel immensely relieved after the ticket checker was done reviewing our tickets...I don't know why but I had a fear that if something went wrong with the tickets, we would have to get down in the middle of nowhere- in a no man's land may be...where would we eat and sleep?

A child's mind works on a fantastic level altogether.

The lush green valleys, the flowing mustard fields, the twisting paths as the train turns and bends, the dark endless tunnels which bring us to light at the end, and the exhilaration of reaching our destination have all remained an integral part of my everlasting travel memories...


I would stare outside, through the bars on the windows, which disturbed the view from reaching the eyes...When glass windows replaced them, it was full of haze and fog- distorting the view in weird ways...Windows without panes and bars are what I seek...

Once we were traveling to Hyderabad in the hot summer holidays. At noon, the sun rays directly pierced onto our faces, leaving them tanned and burning. I would wet my handkerchief in water and put it on my parched face for some interim relief. In retrospect, when I see my photos from this tour now, I only decipher my dresses; my face was blotted out, totally sapped by the heat.

During autumn, as we traveled northwards, the weather used to be congenial...the verdant fields through the glass windows acted as a balm to my ever-searching soul. As we all must have had seen and felt, the huts and trees seemed to run away from us as the train sped forward. As we grew up, we understood it's not the trees but we move on- move on in our journey- the journey of time and life.

Endless memories recur in my mind especially the foods we packed and ate...we felt so hungry all the time. Sometimes, we would even meet friendly co-passengers and sometimes not so friendly. At times, I wonder where they got lost in the crowd...

Now with time, we travel more often on airplanes...It saves time and trouble...but is devoid of those delightful memories of rail journeys... when we would eagerly wait for our destination...the voyage was equally exciting as the place visited, as they say.

The screeching sound

when it comes to halt

drums our heart

for the arriving exploits,

for we never know where

the track leads us to...


By Nandini Sengupta

@metaphors_of_life


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