Railway sunrise and a ‘kulhad’ of tea

sunriseTrust me, I really miss those long train journeys I did in my younger days. Bokaro to Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi. All up and down, and countless shorter ones. I loved each and every hour on the train. There was so much to see, hear, conclude and enjoy.

Sometimes I think of how much I have changed. Toilets of AC 3 tier coaches must be cleaner than the ones I saw in regular 3 tier dabbas back in late 80s and early 90s. But now I frown before I get into one. Hanging on the doors of coaches was a pastime, now I think of safety and stuff like that. Gulping samosas, pooris and vadas used to be an instant reaction to the train halting at a station, now I think twice.

But I know the part of me that loved trains is very much alive. Because, when someone asks me – hey tell me the best meal you ever had, my instant reply is Rourkela station, platform no 3, Poori Sabjee. My best tea? A “kulhad” (earthen cup) of tea I had at Mokama, station of course! Most memorable drive? It was Akola to Wardha, when I spent the entire time inside an electric engine chatting with the driver and learning how to handle that beast. Sitting in the cockpit, you get this unforgettable kick from seeing the engine eat those tracks.

Anyways. Before my emotions get the better of me, here are some pics from a recent train trip.

Nothing like a railway sunrise.

Sunrise over Subarnarekha, near Muri

And a kulhad of hot tea to go with it!

ek kulhad chai

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14 Responses

  1. My train rides are mostly in the night (10:30 -5)and hardly any stops for foodf and last station reached before sunrise. None of these joys – i want to go on one of those long trips now just to enjoy all these pleasures!
    Nice pics too.

  2. Very nice photograph. Kulhad reminds of lalloo. Train journeys are always interesting.

  3. Why does Kulhad tea taste so good !! :) Those plastic cups spoil the taste.

  4. i am here for my obligatory plug for irfca :-) what can i say? i luuuuvvvvv trains!

    – s.b.

  5. Usha True, 10pm to 5 AM wont be as much fun. May want to take the day train on the same route once. You will get so much material for your blog!

    Hiren, AKD – Kulhad tea tastes better because you get that mitti smell as you sip tea. No such thing with plastic!

    Somebody, You didn’t have to plug. I know irfca, often visit the fan sites.

  6. The only time I get to enjoy the food on trains is when I have to travel long distances which take more than 24 hours. And I got to do that only twice and those journeys are unforgettable.
    And regarding irfca, although I am not a member, I am a pretty regular visitor especially during the time I spent in US as it used to bring back fond memories of India.

  7. I remember those long journeys. I used to travel from college to my hometown at least 4 times a year and it used to be about 30 hours of train ride. I still remember all those little things that I used to enjoy. Like the ouri sabjee in Jhansi. The morning tea in Manmad.
    Even on my first trip back from the US the best part of the journey was the train ride from Delhi to home. Very relaxing… especially after an 18 hour flight.

  8. I meant Puri Sabjee and not ouri subjee :)

  9. Now that’s some really beautiful scenery! I can count the number of times I’ve gone on long train journeys… three :-). The one I enjoyed the most was travelling from Pune to Chennai, I think it was the Raichur Express, it was part of a class tour that had been organised for my boarding school. Almost 9 years ago. I remember all the beautiful scenery, just sitting and watching the world outside go by… Well, I’m not really good at describing nature, so I don’t usually try, but the reason I mentioned all this is because it seems to be one of those memories that stick in your head, even though they happened long ago.

  10. Neel, quick count I have is at least 30 rail trips that involved two nights. And a similar number of shorter ones. The most memorable one was from Agra to Barauni when I sat on the door of a bogey for all of 24 hours because I couldn’t get a seat!

    It isn’t just the scenery. In between the green farms and hills and rivers, you see trash filled ponds, stinking cities, and all that bad stuff too. Plus, you meet these people on the train (Shyam Benegal’s “yatra” types) and hear so many opinions. A long rail journey is a truly truly Indian experience.

    PI, I usually waited for Bhusaval, skipped Manmad for tea and snacks!

    Christopher, I wanted to do a train trip in US, just to compare the experience. Could never manage that. Someday.

  11. Ever tried the Bread Omlette at Mirage Junction…
    Or the Chicken Biryani at Dhond….
    And Agra ka petha…
    Hmmm.. gng through this post really brings back old memories… :)

  12. And the huge guavas at Allahabad station. Orange cases at Nagpur. Idli Vada Sambar breakfast at Raygada (Orissa, near Sambalpur). Srikhand at Jabalpur. Chhole at Gomoh (Jharkhand, near Dhanbad). Jhaal-moodhi (does anyone know what this is?) around Asansol.

    Don’t get us started Meghna. Depending on the routes we frequented, we all have our huge lists of items like those !

  13. For all you rail fans – here is an interesting link http://www.irfca.org/ if you already don’t know about it – check out the videos there.

    SB – Jhaal-moodhi translated reads “hot puffed rice” and is a Bengali creation – puffed rice, onions, chillies, sprouted beans and mustard oil basically shaken together and served in a paper cone.

    Christopher – Train rides in the US of A are quite different from those in India, not as romantic for many – the seats in the night trains have a foot rest and you can sort of curl up in a foetal position and try to sleep, while the night station halts are long and seem to more accommodate smokers who scurry out to smoke.

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