Sunday, 25 June 2017

The Rupin Pass Trek May-June 2017: The Window Seat (Day #2)

A train journey can be an ultimate joy even at the fag end of an Indian summer in a second class sleeper compartment. But only, and only if you happen to reserve the window seat. Many sibling wars have been fought over window seats. But you don't fight for it with people you have just met. It would have been devilishly awkward to do so.

Happily, the trek organizers had numerous reservations on the train. Window seats were thus readily available. With that 'main impediment' solved for me, the journey began.Though the train crawled to New Delhi station about half-an-hour behind schedule the next afternoon, it was mostly a joyful ride.

New friendships, card games, dumb charades and other frivolities were indulged in. There were nine of us were on the train to Delhi, the remaining 12 were to join us on the Delhi-Dehradun train.

Meanwhile, please join me in paying tribute to those simple, intelligent people who created three simple train travel joys - the barred window, the four compartment doors and that ultimate breezy bliss - the window seat... 

Friday, 16 June 2017

The Rupin Pass Trek May-June 2017: Pune (Day #1)

On that particular, clear-skied Sunday at the Pune Railway Station premises, this single pole of floodlights stood tall, hovering and unblinking in vision.

Way below, a collected sight of bulky backpacks, protruding water bottles, people dressed largely in track pants and t-shirts. The train to Delhi was running late by an hour. Early introductions, teeny weeny bits of wisdom and initial getting-to-know-each-other jokes are exchanged. A sample,"You can keep the backpack down now, the train is yet to arrive." That's right. Why am I bloody carrying it while we are just standing and conversing here? That's similar to a scene I often witness at my colony, men absent-mindedly step out of their homes wearing their helmets. I place my backpack among the heap of others. It is a sight. Like it was the first day at school for the backpacks or something, and they were getting to know each other, awkwardly, innocently.

Meanwhile, I take this picture. It is only after returning from the trip that I gauge its significance. An unwitting hint at elements we encounter the next fortnight. Heights, expanse, open skies, and mountains making midgets of us all...