Experiencing India: Sounds and Sights from an Indian Train Journey

Experiencing India: Sounds and Sights from an Indian Train Journey

It’s surprising how train journeys closely mimic the¬†cycle of life. We meet people, make friends, only to let them go and find new ones- thereby knitting an endless chain of emotions- only to be felt but never to be broken. But again, what is life, but a collection of such journeys.

The following passage is an ‘as-it-happened’ description of a¬†journey with the Indian Railways (the 12.30 Passenger train from Madurai to Rameshwaram, both of which lie in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu). Try not to find¬†for a story in here, rather, seek to experience the billion personalities¬†that make India Incredible. Here it goes.

Chug, Chug, Chug! The 12:30 passenger train from Madurai has just started to sing its rhythmic song, a melody it will sing for the next few hours till it reaches a mystical island called Rameshwaram. It is an overcast day of November 2015, the rain clouds looming over the horizon as I attempt to traverse, and hopefully document, the lush green landscape of Tamil Nadu, India.

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Tamil Nadu country side with the looming rain clouds

I yearn for the rain, as I am aware of the power of the raindrops to elate even the most dolorous environs.

As I¬†try to get comfortable in my cozy window side seat, I am greeted by a¬†distinct sound. ‘Wooooooo…’– a loud cheer, emanating from the far corner of my¬†train bogie, surprises all the five occupants of the compartment I am in. The train had just passed over a small river causing¬†a group of seven children, sitting at a corner of the bogie along with their parents, to let out a loud “Woooooo..” sound in a seemingly pre-planned unison.¬†From that moment onward, the children failed to hide their excitement towards any river, tunnel, or even an old bridge that our passenger train crossed.
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Petrichor- The Smell of Childhood

I don’t remember my childhood.

Nothing except the smell of the monsoon rains, right before they lashed onto the verandah. Me, the solitary crawler, both enchanted and perplexed by a sudden downpour, would rush indoors to the safety of my mother’s lap. Such memories are vague, rather loosely etched on my mind. But the smell of the rains, the Petrichor, is something I can never forget.

I suspect that the ravishingly beautiful Petrichor is hard-coded deep into the minds of every human being. It is passed onto an individual through an infinite chain of forefathers. Or maybe it is simply a gift from heaven. After all that’s where the rains come from!

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Rains-Monsoon in India

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