Train Journeys from the Past

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As a child, I always looked forward to train journeys. I would be more excited about the journey than the destination! So, I decided to pen down a few things I miss from my childhood rail travels.

The Thrill of Boarding the Train

I always felt an adrenaline rush while boarding the train because I didn’t want to miss it. Even if it was going to halt for an ample amount of time, I would hurry in as if it would leave right away. Reaching our seats with every family member and the entire luggage felt like a victory back then!

The Monkey Act on the Seats

If you haven’t done this as a child, you’ve not really enjoyed your train journeys! Climbing from one birth to another was an unexplainable kind of joy!

Also, the middle birth that miraculously appeared at night was an unresolved mystery for me for long!

The Running Trees

Back then, when we traveled in sleeper coaches, the windows didn’t have glasses or grills. Staring out the window and being awed by the trees running in the opposite direction was a favorite pass time. Also, spotting a few deer and peacock wasn’t less than an achievement!

The Food Bag for Train

I used to start preparing a bag of goodies a day or two ahead of the journey. These could only be eaten inside the train and included packets of chips, biscuits, cold drinks, and chocolates! The moment the train started, the treasure of snacks had to come open without any further delay. (PS: I still continue to carry my bag of goodies)

Also, the delicious homemade aloo ki sabzi, pacchkuta, and pudi with some bhujia were religiously looked forward to during the train journeys.

The Train Vendors and Station Food

No matter how many packets of chips or biscuits I carried, I still made a puppy face to convince my parents when the bhel wala, or the samosa wala came shouting in their melodious voices! I particularly remember every time we traveled from Ahmedabad to our home town Jodhpur, the train used to halt at a station named Abu Road somewhere around midnight, and my dad used to get down to get Rabdi(an Indian dessert) for us! Each bite was cherished back then, and those memories are a treasure now.

Playing Cards and Reading Comic Books

Another thing we did religiously was play cards at least once during each journey and we still do! Reading comic books like Champak, Pinki, Lotpot, Diamond Comics and many more was one of the best parts. Today’s kids with tabs and mobile phones will never understand the restlessness before buying a new comic book and finishing it within hours!

Reaching the destination within two hours by flight isn’t as much fun as enjoying and spending time with family during an eight-hour journey by rail. I still prefer traveling by train, especially when I’m not traveling alone.

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Never be Judgemental

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Judging people comes naturally to us. The moment we meet someone, we start pointing out things in our head that we wouldn’t approve of in them. Sometimes we go a step ahead and even judge strangers! It is okay to make an image of someone in our head, but it’s really not okay for us to decide if their actions are wrong or right. It’s very easy to judge people, but it’s very difficult to understand them. Everyone can do the easy bit, are you strong enough to try the difficult part?

I have had my share with people who judge almost everyone. Unfortunately, I had started to become one as I was spending a lot of time with them. I started judging people for not dressing appropriately, or the way they spoke, for their choice of food, or for the kind of presents they got, or simply the way they were! This made me a real pessimist and I had literally stopped seeing the good in anything or anyone.

However, when I met an old friend after a long time, she pointed out how cynical I had become. Although I ignored her at first, I later did realize the way I had changed. The habit of judging made me doubt everyone. I had become so negative that I looked for opportunities to criticize someone or something. I decided I had to put an end to this routine and work towards becoming a better person.

A group of toxic people will never let you improve. So, I got rid of the judgemental clan first and started to look for positivity in life. Sadly bad habits are much more difficult to abandon than the good ones. It is tough to understand people and accept them the way they are. I started to consciously search for the good in people and appreciate little acts of kindness. Furthermore, whenever I came across someone whose acts or philosophies didn’t match mine, I started to agree to disagree. Accepting people the way they are has now started to come naturally to me. Although there are still times when the judgemental aunt rises from within me, thankfully I now have the power to argue with her and make her understand that the world doesn’t go around her approval.

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Going from Strangers to Soulmates

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I remember the first time my husband, Neelesh and I met in Mumbai on 30th December 2015. Ours was an arranged marriage and we were meeting along with our respective families. On my way to the restaurant, my mind was blank. I had no clue what to talk about, how to start, what to tell, how much to tell, and above all how am I supposed to judge someone in just one meeting and be sure whether we’ll be perfect for each other or not! I was also a little mad on the guy(my now husband) because he had been postponing the meeting date for a while now as he had his MBA placements going on. Although this did not affect me at all, my parents couldn’t stop worrying and overthinking about the reason(s) for which they’ve been postponing (as they thought the family might not be interested in meeting us and are hence postponing the dates). Seeing my parents lose sleep over this got me a little furious.

We reached the restaurant 20 minutes prior to the decided meeting time. As the time came closer, I felt butterflies in my stomach! Neelesh and his family finally arrived. I gave a quick glance past him and both of us nodded our heads as if saying a silent “Hi”(which when I now think about, feels cute!). We had a casual conversation with each other’s families first and then were escorted to another café in the vicinity by Neelesh’s cousins to talk and get to know each other better. With each step towards the café, the butterflies only seemed to increase!
Once we arrived at the café and walked to a table, Neelesh pulled out a chair for me and I found myself ticking an imaginary checklist in my mind! Chivalrous, check!

As soon as we started talking, he apologized for postponing the dates and all of my anger vanished and I was relieved that he wasn’t those typical ladkewala who never agree to their mistakes. Humble, check!

Soon the awkwardness vanished and we talked for almost an hour as if two long lost friends had finally met. He managed to crack a joke here and there which made me laugh of course! Sense of humour, check!

I gradually lost track of the checklist and got engrossed in the conversation. If it wasn’t for the call from our parents after an hour to check upon us, our conversation might have lasted for another hour or two.

It was the best conversation I have ever had with a complete stranger, and that first meeting turned out to be enough for the both of us. We got engaged the following day. This three year journey (2 years of marriage and 1 year of courtship) has brought us from strangers to friends to soulmates, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

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Brothers

A little something dedicated to all the brothers who cannot live without annoying their siblings but wouldn’t hesitate to risk all for them…

They don’t easily express
But we know they secretly care

You may not even realize
But he’s got on you his watchful eyes

The only ones who will never praise us up right
But when we’re about to fall, they’ll be found right behind

They berate us like parents when we mess up
They are the best friends who then pull us up

The elder ones are the bullies
The younger ones are a pain in the neck
But lucky are those who have such tyrants as bliss

I am blessed with the best lot
On earth and in heaven too
To all of you, I only have
A word of Thank You

#BrothersAreTheBest #SiblingBond #AtoZChallenge

Delhi vs Mumbai

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Delhi vs Mumbai has always been a debatable topic and there is never a winner. I’ve spent the best 5 years of my life in Mumbai and have recently shifted to Delhi, and I just cannot stop comparing anything and everything this city has, with Mumbai. The thing I miss most about Mumbai is the nightlife! A sudden 1 AM trip to Marine Drive in Mumbai used to be a breath of fresh air. Whereas in Delhi, all I’ve been hearing is “DON’T STEP OUTSIDE THE HOUSE AFTER 10 PM!”.

So, here are a few other things I couldn’t stop thinking about while comparing the two cities.

Driving Sense:

Rash driving is normal driving for Delhiites. No kidding. In case of unfortunate vehicle ramming, people seem to forget their father’s identities.

While in Mumbai, people don’t rash drive because there is literally no space on the roads to do so!

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Must haves in a Women’s Purse:

Delhi’s scorching heat doesn’t allow you to leave the house without sun glasses, and increasing number of dogs don’t allow women to travel without a pepper spray, a pocket knife and a baton!

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While in Mumbai, girls just need to beat the heat with a sunscreen, a pair of sunglasses and an umbrella (because you never know when it would start pouring cats and dogs).

Food:

The most impressive thing about Delhi is the quality and quantity of food that the restaurants or the street vendors serve! I mean I ordered a plate of Chole Kulcha with dessert worth Rs. 100 and ate it for lunch plus dinner!

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In Mumbai, 4 Vada Pavs for lunch alone cost 100 bucks!!

Fights:

Brawls in Delhi be like:

Neighbour 1: Could you please turn down the volume a bit? My granddaughter has her board exam tomorrow.

Next day’s newspaper headline: “Old neighbour shot dead by youth upon asking to turn the music down”

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Brawls in Mumbai be like:

Colleague 1: How dare you say that to me.  Dekhlunga tujhe.

Colleague 2: Tu mil office ke bahar, batata hu tujhe.

*Nothing happens*

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Obsession:

People in Delhi are obsessed with Sarojini, momos and Metro! It’s as if these are the main ingredients of a pure Delhiite.

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While people in Mumbai, can’t stop feeling proud of their local trains, vada pav and marine drive.

Transportation:

I was happily surprised to see the variety of modes of transports in Delhi! Delhi has cycle rickshaws(which are super cheap), auto rickshaws, E-rickshaws, plenty of cabs and Metro!

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In Mumbai, there are auto rickshaws but the drivers are never ready to go where you want to go, local trains have no space to stand or breath and cabs charge you 3-4 times the base fair (only if you are lucky enough to find any cabs available near you).

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