Saturday, April 20, 2013

Railway Stations – Where colors, cultures and flavors meet


To me, a railway station is everything that India signifies. It is a melting pot of the people from all over the country. An airport can never ever claim this spot. This shall always rest with a railway station. Simply because of sheer number it caters to everyday.

Cutting across religions, economic class, caste, age and every other thing, stations are the place where you will find a slice of India. 

Some ‘slices of life’ at a railway station:

  • Colors of different kinds. I remember seeing women dressed in traditional Rajasthani lehenga – choli at Udaipur station
  • Best regional flavors of food across the railway stations. So there is a quaint little stall that sells Litti Chokha at New Delhi station, you can have delicious aloo tikki at Tundla station, a yummy grub of Chole Bhature at Aligarh junction, humble Poha at Ratlam station (more on Ratlam later in the post!)..all this tried and tasted! I shall update my list as and when I travel and stop by at more junctions on the way to eat!
  • Wheelers! That was the world before the Flipkarts and Crosswords came in. I used to look forward to the station visit, even if to pick up someone, so I could browse through the comics or latest edition of Sports Star!
  • All those picturesque stations which pass by..with hardly anyone there on the platforms. They usually are two-platforms stations and look like straight out of the movies. I still wonder where does one go if we exit the station! There seem no road, no traffic and no soul around. Just a station master with red or green torch light or flag!!
  • Myriad of people waiting at the platform, speaking their languages, carrying their food.  Different trains, different journeys and different destinations!
  • People and their luggage. So from a hip swish trolley bag to an old style suitcase, some carry water campers and some prefer mineral water bottles, some are carrying bag full of home-cooked food and some carry a Mc Donald’s take-away..(I am a mix of both, I love the paratha-aloo jeera cooked by mom and then I like to explore station food too)
  • Many would say that the festivals or holidays time is the worst to step foot on the railway platform but there is such a happy feeling at that time if you by-pass the uncomfortable. Small kids going to grandparents place in UP during summer break or an executive working in a IT firm, going home on Diwali..you will find one of each kind during these times
  • Fruit carts, books and newspapers, food, soft drinks and shops selling local wares. You will find everything you may need to travel good
  • Of course, you must have watched Jab we met and seen the Ratlam station! And ever since that movie got released, whenever we took Rajdhani Express to Mumbai, and it stopped at Ratlam, my cousin used to text me jokingly to not get down at the platform because,’akeli ladki khuli tijori ki tarah hoti hai!’

And this picture I took last month. Jammu station. 

Like any other busy station platform, full of life, people and much more.



21 comments:

  1. It's lovely to read of different countries and cultures and places I know I will never visit.
    You make your post come alive and I feel I am there.

    Yvonne.

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  2. Such a lovely take on stations .. At the Ajmer station I saw women in full rajasthani dresses and then I also saw Muslim women fully covered who had come to visit the dargah :)
    And I agree about the wheelers ... I can never board a train without buying a book or magzine from them !

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  3. Naina, so true. No wonder many memorable film climaxes have culminated at Railway Stations and Airports. The bustling activity at all times is synonymous with Railway Stations. I just was at the Singapore Metro and it is the same. People come, people go, all at the same time. In different directions.....but moving always. Nice one.

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  4. Aww...brought back so many memories..I didn't travel much in trains in recent years, but the platforms are a world by themselves. Thanks for the nostalgic post:)

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  5. I used to travel a lot by trains...and am so familiar with the environment of a Railway station. It is a world in itself.

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  6. You made something mundane ever so exciting. The Rajdhani Express was a ride I took a few times in my youth!

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  7. Very unique and interesting post!

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  8. Nicely painted picture....having said that, I have never been a fan of railway stations....but that's just me :)

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  9. A fab take on R today! I love Railway Stations (including train journeys) and Bus Stands, as they have inspired me to write so many blog posts on my blog! These are great places to observe and reflect on :D

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  10. I have always loved travelling.. When I was younger it was railways, now it is driving. Yes its fun to meet and watch interesting people in a station

    PhenoMenon
    http://capturedalive.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/riding-high/

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  11. I've been fascinated by the different sights, sounds and smells of the railway stations. You have brought them out so vividly :)

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  12. nice post, like the way you have described, I too thought about a railway station from a different angle, thanks for sharing !

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  13. Oh. That brought back so many memories naina
    Beautiful !! All childhood and college days were spent frequently in railway stations
    I used to go monthly once to my home and it was 4 hrs journey
    One heck of a train Exp it used to be with all students and variety of ppl . Could just relate to every thing you wrote and ratlam wow :)
    Incidentally I also mentioned jab we met today for rohtang pass !
    Happy weekend

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  14. I used to look forward to browsing through the comics at the station, I traveled to Dehradun a few months back and bought a couple from New Delhi station :) Loved your description of the stations and their special foods.

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  15. Even I love traveling by train and fight with my kids for the window seat :)You have brought out the pulse of railway stations with this lovely post :)

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  16. For a guy who did updown for 3 years during college and spent countless nights on stations sipping chai when everything is closed there is the railway station that is always open ! :D

    My penchant for the stations has never ceased and I am sure will never wane either :)

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  17. Just yesterday my husband and I were recalling the lovely sights and sounds of long distance travel! Been a few years since we did that.

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  18. I loved that scene in Ratlam station in Jab we met. Lovely post! Hope you’ve enjoyed the challenge so far.

    Damyanti @Daily(w)rite Co-host, A to Z Challenge 2013

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge
    AZ blogs on Social Media

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  19. I have a picture of a railway station in India very much like that one. :)
    Happy A to Z-ing!

    Jemima at Jemima's blog

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  20. Hi Naina .. I love the picture you paint: the melting pot of the world in one place, particularly the Indian world ... the colours, flavours, aromas, peoples, baggage, different shops perhaps where we can linger, not normally looked at ... I love the feel and ambience you give us here ..

    Cheers Hilary

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