PadfootSpeaks



Through the window…

Even today, whenever I board a train, the first thing that comes to my mind even before the fact that a girl is sitting in the vicinity is whether I have a window seat or not. The window of a train will always hold a special place in my heart for all the wonderful memories that are associated with it. As I child I remember the long train journeys to Kolkata from my hometown Bokaro to spend the summer holidays at my Masi’s place. For me the holiday would begin as soon as I sat near the window seat. As the train would embark on its lonely journey through the fields, forests and mountains, I would try looking at the station from the window as it gathered momentum. The setting sun, the sound of the retreating birds would and the rapidly diminishing station lights would make me feel as if the city was bidding farewell to me. Through the dimly lit station, I would see hawkers trying to sell their stuff to random travellers, coolies walking fast with bundles of luggage as if to mock at the traveller who would be slower even without the luggage; but soon these would be lost in the vast formless darkness of the city as hills and trees towered around us.

The lights of the Bokaro Steel Plant spread across acres of land would make my father immensely proud. He would then start explaining to me about each department as the train crossed them. With my sister and mother showing absolutely no interest whatsoever in his talks, I had to listen intently as he went on and on. Steel Plant employees like my father rarely got any recognition for the hours they put in the job and it was through these windows that I could thank and appreciate him for the tireless work he had been doing to feed his family. My mother would not be so concerned about the window seat. Her main worry would be the dinner and the bunk on which she would be sleeping as it had to be a lower one.

The era of mobile phones had not yet begun and people had no option but to interact with their neighbours to while away the time. Father, being a talkative person would soon be seen discussing Bengal politics and communism with another stranger. But my heart lay in the window. As the train crossed open coal mines and green fields, my mind would spin tales about each place. The children walking through those open tracts of fields at dusk with their cricket bats spoke a universal language of sadness to me which was borne out of the fact that today’s play was over and it would be time to sit and study for tomorrow’s school. Soon the outside view would be completely engulfed in darkness and I would no longer be able to see anything but lights from a nearby town. The train used to halt at “Adra” junction for more than an hour and the arrival at that station meant dinner. My mother would be very particular with the fact that nothing in terms of taste and delicacies should be compromised even on a train journey and therefore, our luggage consisted of numerous tiffins and food boxes. Occasionally there would be hawkers trying to sell their home made dinner but it would be highly non recommended by my family.

As a child, I had to take the middle berth and I hated it. I loved waking up early to be able to look through the window and that would not be possible if my mother slept on the lower berth. Nevertheless, my mother also used to wake up quite early and I would again find myself feasting upon the outside view as the train crawled towards its destination. Whenever the train crossed tunnels, I would be reminded of the Ruskin Bond stories of tunnel keepers and their lamps. Although as a child I was afraid of dark, the moments of darkness when a train passed through a tunnel excited me as I knew this was temporary. If luck was good, it would start raining outside and that made the whole viewing greatly enjoyable.

Today, whenever I get a window seat, I try and see the outside view. Instead of the endearing fields and enchanting forests, all I see today are the endless tufts of clouds. My neighbours are completely engrossed in their laptops with music plugged into their ears. As the flight starts to land, the airhostess reminds me to pull up the window shutters. I can’t help but gaze longingly at the outside view through the dusty lanes of nostalgia……

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Comments

  1. Very nice piece. Managed to make me nostalgic :). A Ruskin Bond in making. Loved the ending!

    | Reply Posted 4 years ago
  2. * Sourabh says:

    First world problems in the end..haha ;P

    | Reply Posted 4 years ago


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