Thursday, December 2, 2010

Village Vandi

Time is around 9am when I and my parents reached our local railway station, Vaniyambalam. Station is painted with a glowing yellow and green color. One luxury car and two or three autos are waiting in front of the station. A few people are standing in the queue infront of the ticket counter. We already got our tickets from the stationary shop nearby.

Here there is no announcements, no advertisements; everything is quiet except the murmuring of the crowd waiting. Six trains run through this track though the starting point is always Nilambur and finishing point is Shornur. It is a typical village station where you can see people talking to almost everyone they meet.

Oh! Train is coming. Roaring, waving apart all the branches of trees and bushes that stood in its way, the giant vehicle entered in a royal manner. We got seats and I could hear someone screaming at others, “Why do you’ve to simply rush like this? Just like a bus, driver of this train will make sure that no one is left in the platform before starting the train. He even gets down sometimes in some stations to have a stretch and relax”.

Ha-ha! That makes this train service unique.

Hmm… train is moving now! Another specialty of the route is there is no city coming in between. It flows through villages and woodlands. As the train reached next station, I found a single window seat empty. With my cell phone playing my favorite music collections, I settled there. The guy sitting next to me is busy sleeping. And the family sitting adjacent to my seat is busy discussing about their daughter’s marriage with a moulavi.

Paddy fields, teak forests, small houses, rivers… Train is moving as if it is bored of seeing same scenes again and again! Even for me, it’s nothing new… I’d traveled many times in this train in last two years.

Pardesi… pardesi… Jana nahi”, a lady holding her kid is seeking alms from the fellow travelers. Another person is selling local home-made snacks. “Randennam 10, moonennam 10…Aadayakaramaya vayanakku… (Two things for Rs.10, Three things for Rs.10! For a profit read)”, a guy moves through the compartment with a bundle of old magazines. Each train will have characters like these who make it alive. Kids waving hands at the train, villagers washing their buffalos, cattle grazing in the paddy fields and vehicles waiting impatiently near railway gates; all scenes passing like a flash…

Train stopped in Angadipuram station. This station was beautifully captured in the movie Krishnagudiyil oru Pranayakalath. It has a small break here until its counterpart reaches from Shornur. There is no level cross in this track and so the train that comes first has to wait for the other. And so my train slept until its friend vanished. When the other one left, my train woke up and started moving.

Train is heading towards Shornur station, the biggest of the state where you can see trains moving in all directions like worms. As usual, it ended its journey in the second platform. We rushed towards sixth platform and got into Parasuram Express.

“Train No. 2341, Shornur-Nilambur Road passenger is on platform no. 2”… I heard it several times. There are express trains like Sabari and Parasuram resting unnoticed. Remembering my TTR friend Sandeep’s words, “Whatever it is, the announcement is done the most for the Nilambur train”…

Parasuram got up from its catnap and slowly moved on. I could hear announcements in full swing along with ad jingles informing people about the train in second platform. The village passenger is getting ready for another ride with another set of rural folks….

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