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The Train Chronicles

krishnaveni | 5 September 2009, 9:57pm

                There are a lot of movies which emphasize on the importance of making new acquaintances in life. The Indian film industry thrives on the relationships made or broken during these journeys. The ones I am more familiar to, are the people I meet in the train. I have been traveling a lot by the railways ever since I ended up in Bangalore. Lovely city. But that’s not the point of my discussion here. Being a true taurean to the core, I always tend to observe people. And hence, my train journeys always leave me with a lesson or two. If not a lesson, at least a memory which will always find a place in my heart. Ani always tells me that we always meet people for some reason in life. Reasons which might be outright obvious, or sometimes which unfold after that person moves away from you.

I have met countless number of people in all these journeys that I have made over the past 9 months. And these blogs would be my best attempt at describing everything that has caught my attention or made a difference to my life in some way.




                As always mom was worried about me travelling alone. Even after countless assurances that I am not her little girl anymore, she had to go to the other passengers in the compartment ; an old couple, and asked them to look after me. My brother just stood next to her and enjoyed all this. Every time that I looked at him, pleading for help, to control mom’s anxiety, he shot me this look which personified “She won’t listen to you. How, in the world, do you think she would listen to me!!!”. Though I was mighty mad at her, I couldn’t help but smile because I know she wouldn’t be at ease unless she does something like that. I guess even though you grow taller than your parents, they will still see you as a toddler looking for a hand to hold J After assuring her that I am all set to travel alone, and that I would answer every single call of hers, she smiled and waved goodbye. Oh! What a relief that she smiled. Smiling to myself, I turned my attention to the people with whom I would be travelling. There was one very old couple as I already mentioned. I learnt later that they were married for 40 glorious years. There was another family, mom, dad and two kids. The kids kept studying for most of the time. Apparently they had some exams the next day and they were seriously preparing. And there was another man, I presumed him to be a Physical Ed teacher or a coach somewhere, because he was very particular about what he ate throughout the journey and kept reading fitness magazines. I am sure he read about half a dozen different magazines, all revolving around fitness; either fitness through exercise or fitness through sports!!!


                For a while I was lost in my own world, with my iPod plugged in and playing at the max volume J I tend to do that a lot, especially when I feel the need to cut myself off from the world I am in. And the loud music ensures that my thoughts are always under control. After a while, Grandma and Grandpa (the old couple; I will refer to them as grandma and grandpa because that is what they wanted me to call them ) called me to know if I wanted to have dinner with them. I smiled and told them that my mom had packed a heavy meal from home. Grandpa then asked me to go and wash my hands and come so that we could all have dinner together. This he said to everyone sitting around, including the family and the Physical Ed/coach. Everyone agreed, more so because we tend to respect elders even though they are strangers. By the time I readied myself for dinner and got back to my seat, grandma had already set the table ready. She had laid out paper plates and plastic cups for everyone. I sat with the kids for dinner and all the elders sat together. And then the general discussion started as to who was doing what and who stayed where. The kids were calm and seemed more tensed regarding the exam next day. But they did talk to me a little, asking me what I was doing and what cartoons I like (J this is the best part about hanging out with kids, the important discussions always revolve around cartoons. The uncomplicated phase of life!! ). The rest of the elders refused to acknowledge me an adult. I didn’t mind it much because I enjoyed hanging out with the kids and they seemed to like me too. After a really long dinner, we disposed off our plates and just sat chatting. Grandma then asked me what was it that I did and was pretty surprised when I told her that I work. The surprise element was because all of my mom’s concern about me travelling alone made her believe that I was studying away from home. Grandpa too had come back and joined the conversation and grandma quickly told me that I was working and he started the economic discussion. (With all the recession hype, I have always been asked how safe my job was especially when I tell people I am working). I was too glad that they were treating me like an adult now (J I Guess I am one of those faces which will never show any maturity to be treated like an adult. I always look like a kid.)


Soon it was bedtime, and the whole compartment was noisy with people trying to make their beds.  Every single time I travel by train, I eagerly wait for the hour when everyone gets ready for bed. This is when everyone is extra helpful to everyone around. It always makes me feel like I am travelling with a huge extended family. Everyone is someone’s uncle or aunty. And everyone is someone’s beta or beti J. I always find it awesome that we Indian’s can make relations at the oddest of places. I could hear all the younger crowd offering their lower berths to the older or the people who wanted them and casually shifting to the upper ones. I too offered my lower berth to grandpa and moved to the upper one. And as I watched, grandpa started to make the bed for grandma on the middle birth. The coach offered his lower birth, but grandma insisted that she wanted the middle one J She said “I can still climb. I am not as old as he is.” (pointing to Grandpa). I couldn’t help but smile. The whole scenario reminded me of this character in a movie called “Guarding Tess” , where the central character is a woman of high accomplishments who always says “I will run when I can walk and walk when I still can sit!! “ J After everyone was ready for bed, grandpa and grandma just sat together and talked for a while. I was on my berth and I could hear them chat for a long time about everything. Initially I thought it would be something personal, regarding them or their kids and their families, but a little while later I heard them sit and talk about the world politics, sports and each other’s preferences. I was quite amazed at length of the discussion. About an hour later or so, grandpa slept. The kids too were fast asleep. The coach was snoring, but it didn’t seem too much of a disturbance. Grandma was still awake and kept humming a few old telugu songs. When I moved on my berth, she called out to me and asked if I was still up. I told her that I was. Just like a concerned mother, she asked me if I had trouble sleeping because she was singing. I told her that these days I do have a lot of trouble sleeping and it had nothing to with the train or the journey. And again just like my mom always does, she told me that I should relax once in a while, stop worrying too much like all the young adults my age do. And somehow I realized then that I do actually worry a lot. And most of my worries are always baseless. I worry about things that are of very less importance and tend to entangle myself in all those things that might end up unimportant in the near future. We talked for a few more minutes and then grandma too slept. I stayed awake all through the journey, more so because I still couldn’t get my head free from all the thoughts that I have.


Morning came and I walked to the door, opened it and stood there for a while. The sun was just about to rise and there was little light around. I felt a tap on my shoulder and I turned around. Grandma was already up. She smiled at me and said “You should stop worrying at least when you are about to see the Sun rise for a new day”. I just smiled back and said nothing. And as we both just stood there waiting for the Sun to rise, Grandma asked me another question. “What comes to your mind when you see a beautiful sun rise or a sunset? “. And suddenly I remembered Sandy. I went back in time to this conversation with Sandy a few months ago. We were all discussing the exact same thing. Sandy had mentioned that Sunrise made him realize that it was a new day and a new start to life, and that all of yesterday’s worries were to be forgotten. And I remember telling him that every time I was up at Sunrise, I always thought “Another bloody day starts!! It’s the same miserable life continuing into another 24 hours”. (Now, don’t go assuming that I am always this depressed. Sandy asked me that question when I was depressed. I ain’t anymore J ). Remembering all this I just smiled at grandma again. And I guess she understood that I was more of a cynic. She just said this to me. And this changed my view about life that day. She said “Every time I look at the Sun rise, I see that I have another day to live. That God has credited another day to my account, leaving me with the power to make what I want of it. I can chose to sulk about all the pains and troubles that come as a package with the onset of age, but I instead chose to be happy that I have another day with a loving husband and a lovely family”. I have had people tell me that for the past 8 months. But I have to admit that I have been adamant to accept that I had the choice to make my life better. I chose to suffer for a lot of things about which I can do nothing. And somehow, maybe it was more of an impact of the situation I was in, I chose to listen to a complete stranger who had become my grandma overnight. I smiled at her and said that I would try to look at life like her. I don’t know why I let her words make an impact on me that day, but I know that I have enjoyed all the mornings since then. I don’t sulk anymore, I love the Sunrise and Sunset.


 And as we all reached our destinations, we said goodbye’s to each other and parted. The kids promised to write to me (as in e-mail me J), the coach lent me his fitness magazine which I misplaced later and grandma and grandpa wished me good luck for my future. Strangers who became family over the course of a journey and then parted again as strangers J. This is the beauty of a journey, you can meet unknown people, become friends and then leave again as unknowns- no pretentions or expectations to meet again.



A stranger did walk in and change the course of my life last year. It just took another stranger, this train grandmother of mine, to teach me that life still does go on. And dear grandma, I still am trying, I haven’t given up yet and yes I am worrying a little less each day!! J


Current Mood: thoughtful
Current Music: Show me how to live - Audioslave
Currently Reading: The Rule of Four

Posted in Friends | Next | Previous | Comments (14) | Trackbacks (0)


  1. 1. Re: The Train Chronicles
    By rakshit..  |  6 Sep 2009, 12:47am

    in most of ur sentences u have used the word "j"... what does it mean .....

  2. 2. @rakshit
    By devilsownbeauty  |  6 Sep 2009, 12:35pm

    J is a smiley like :)

  3. 3. Re: The Train Chronicles
    By Anonymous  |  6 Sep 2009, 4:26pm

    Beautifully written anecdote..
    Its true that sometimes a stranger can make such an impact on your life which even ur close ones cant do.. I dont knw Y this happens but yes it does :)
    God Bless..

  4. 4. @anonymous
    By devilsownbeauty  |  6 Sep 2009, 8:33pm

    thank u

  5. 5. Hehe
    By mimosa  |  15 Sep 2009, 4:31am


  6. 6. huuuuuu
    By chakri  |  1 Nov 2009, 9:27pm

    finally something refreshing on your blog .

  7. 7. Good One !!!
    By Mark  |  2 Nov 2009, 5:29pm

    We should expereince each and every moment of you mentioned that we in life meet each other for some reason...a great thought...I too do the same during my journeys but will be good freinds before we leave each other at the destination....thanks for the good reasons to live.

  8. 8. Gud one !!!!
    By Karthik  |  2 Dec 2009, 1:24am

    The illustration is too good :). Liked it. Nice quotes!!! Now i guess i m boarding the same train :P.

  9. 9. Like!
    By Sriram  |  21 Mar 2010, 4:59pm

    Liked it a lot... feels good when reading it.:)

  10. 10. Great Experience
    By Prabhakar Kalasani  |  23 Apr 2010, 12:01pm

    It really touched me , this kind of experience sometime make the life to apex.

    Thanks for sharing.

  11. 11. Interesting read
    By amit  |  20 Jul 2010, 11:38am

    Wonderfully written prose. It made a refreshing read, and threw a lot of train memories from past. Liked the realistic way, in which, you captured the essence of Indian society and its philosophy. The characters were reminiscent. :)

    BTW sandy = BS ?

  12. 12. @amit
    By V  |  25 Jul 2010, 6:14pm

    Sandy's another friend. BS is still BS for me :)

  13. 13. Train Chronicles
    By New stalker on this blog!  |  30 Nov 2010, 10:51pm

    Refreshing writing..! Had this page passed on to me by friend. Will certainly read all your posts...

  14. 14. @stalker
    By V  |  29 Jan 2011, 8:08pm


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