I'm a recent entrant to the world of Quora and am finding it a fascinating forum for exchanging a wide range of experiences and ideas. What I like best here is the depth and variety of the posts by members. Quite the opposite of the superficial drivel that can often clutter Facebook.
I saw a question asked by a member, "What do you think of when you hear the words Indian Railways?" Here's what I shared about one of my favourite train journeys:
Apart from that lovely song, Toofan Mail', my favourite train journey used to be on the Karnataka Express from Delhi to Bangalore way back in the Eighties of the previous century.
This route, connecting the North to the South, gave a wonderful panoramic view of India, better than any textbook or documentary film. From 'chai garam' to 'sooda' or 'bisi' kaapi, from aloo paranthas and cutlets to idli dosas and Ambur biryiani, this 36 hour journey was a peek into our cultural diveristy.
The first sight that struck me after leaving Delhi was the Chambal Ravines, once the haunt of legendary dacoits. In more recent times, the area seems to have been reclaimed and those stark, deep rifts dotted with scrub, are no longer so prominent.
Sikandra, Gwalior Fort, The grand stupa of Sanchi, are some monuments visible from your comfortable perch near a window.
|Sikandra, Emperor Akbar's Samadhi|
The route passed through the Dandakaranya forest, and I used to picture Shri Ram and his entourage doing penance there.
It was normal to make friends with fellow travellers, exchanging homemade food, books and magazines, and playing games to pass the time.
True, the toilets were smelly. But arent we also to be blamed for that partly? Why do we always expect someone else to clean up after us, neglecting to flush etc, even when it works?
Some of the old first class coaches even had showers, and I remember taking one too.
At the cost of being a nostalgic dinosaur, I miss those leisurely journeys.