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Jun 27
I deeply miss those days
When I used to travel
Of course, not just by any vehicle
But a vehicle with a thousand wheels
Clattering away on iron rails
Like there is no tomorrow
A vehicle I had fallen for
Hook, line and sinker
Since the age of two
A love that I refuse to let go of
And a love that refuses to let go of me!

I deeply miss those days
When we railfans got together
Not simply to eat and drink
Not simply for some chat-chit
But to follow our passion
And shoot videos of trains
Thundering away into the sunset
Like there is no tomorrow

I deeply miss those days
When we railfans got together
And did train trips using circuitous routes
Akin to moving from the head to the mouth
Via the entire body!

I deeply miss those days
When I used to do solo train trips
On a monthly basis
Sometimes, even twice a month
An ideal way to **** work stress!

I deeply miss those days
When I used to write blogs
About every trip of mine
And post them in IRFCA
The largest association of railfans
At least as far as India is concerned
Including many railway officials
With an encyclopedia of information
About the Indian Railways
Whether it be the locomotive classes
Whether it be the train operations
Whether it be the timetables
Or even the food!

I deeply miss those days
When I used to lie down
Not on a bed, but a berth
And get lulled into sleep
By the gentle swaying motion
The rhythmic clickety clack
And, occasionally
The melodious chugging
Or the mesmerising humming
Of the roaring diesel
Hauling our train
Accompanied by its horn
Which itself, was music to the ears!

I deeply miss those days
When I used to sit on my Side Lower Berth
And watch scenery fly past me
As we traversed the countryside
The villages and the small towns
The cattle, goats and sheep
The farms and paddy fields
The bushes, shrubs and trees
The ponds, lakes and rivers

I deeply miss those days
When I used to travel the Konkan route
Through a plethora of bridges and tunnels
Lakes, rivers and mountains
And a plethora of greenery
Accompanied by the fierce chugging
Of the ALCO engine hauling us
Or the rhythmic humming
Of the EMD engine hauling us
Of course, it was a diesel heaven!

I deeply miss those days
When I used to travel by "toy trains"
Whether it be the Neral-Matheran train
Or the Kalka-Shimla train
Or the Siliguri-Darjeeling train
It was so romantic
The way we crawled
Right through the heart of the mountains
With a plethora of tunnels
Bridges, viaducts and loops
After all the high speed drama earlier
It was a surreal change
Enjoying the scenery at our own pace
While getting overtaken by joggers
And sometimes, even animals!

I deeply miss those days
When I used to get down
As we stopped at a station
One of so many in our journey
And take a walk on the platform
To check out our loco
And sip from a piping hot cup of coffee!

I deeply miss those days
When we travelled in single-line sections
And our train came to a halt
At a nondescript wayside station
With a platform on only one side
And total darkness on the other side!
I waited for the signal on that line
To turn green, after a while
And heard, from a great distance
The horn of an approaching train
Followed by the lamps of its engine
As it proceeded to burn the tracks
And raise a great heap of dust
Thus shattering the calm of the night

I deeply miss even those days
When I used to go to office daily
Commuting by the famous Mumbai locals
As the train pulled into Vikhroli
I staggered into the First class compartment
Packed to the hilt
With pretentious male executives
Filling the air with testosterone
Such that it was quite a challenge
To even inhale the air properly
It was quite a relief
When Dadar arrived
But then came another challenge
The famous changeover
From Central to Western Railway
Across a sea of commuters
Followed by a brief ride
In another train, to Lower Parel
By the time I reached office
I was drenched in sweat
From head to toe
Not to mention, thoroughly fatigued
What to do?
After all, this is what life is
For the average Mumbaikar

I deeply miss those days
When train travel was the norm
Rather than the exception
However, as far as I am concerned
COVID19 may have taken me out of the train
But it certainly can't take the train out of me!
My longest poem, on deeply missing trail travel since the pandemic struck.
Ashwin Kumar
Written by
Ashwin Kumar  32/M/Mumbai
(32/M/Mumbai)   
238
   Bogdan Dragos
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