Pongalo Pongal

Pongal-o Pongal

Happy Pongal, Makar Sankranthi, Lohri to everyone in India. It is the festive season now.

What I remember of Pongal as a kid is waking up early in the cold winter morning and walking towards the drawing room to catch a few more winks on the sofa half asleep waiting for Amma to call us to come to the kitchen. We would wait for the milk to boil and rise and shout ‘Pongalo Pongal- Pongalo Pongal’ and prostrate before the Pongal Panai (pot) .It was a time to feast on chakkarai (sweet) pongal and venn (salted) Pongal with some other delicacies that Amma would prepare .

Fast forward a few years.

I am the one who is buying the turmeric leaves, applying turmeric and kumkum to the pongal panai (pot), tying the leaves securely to the pot, cleaning the gas oven and kitchen counter top in the morning ,adding the required ingredients in the panai and simultaneously keep calling my kid an hubby reminding them that its time to wake up.  Now my son ambles half asleep towards the sofa and then to the kitchen when its time for the milk to boil and rise up.

I am more than happy and satisfied by the time I prepare both the varieties of the pongal dish and the “neivedhiyam ” is offered to the Sun God!  So the lunch and breakfast of the day is done minus any more delicacies that my Amma would prepare.

Pongal literally means “boiling over” as the milk is allowed to boil over, signifying abundance.

I look forward to this morning every year

Perhaps I manage to follow certain customs in ways convenient to me during the current times with some short cuts . Our beautiful traditions have evolved radically but the essence still remains the same  and they keep reminding us about the beautiful culture that we belong to.

Heart full of joy and House full of lights and diyas #happydiwali #newyear #festive #festivefun #deepavali #bloggers #lightdiya #dorangoli #begood #havefun

Deepawali  is just around the corner and there is a festive atmosphere around. I am reminded of how my parents would wake us up in the early hours on Naraka Chaturdashi day for the customary oil bath. We would be woken up around 4 am in the cold winter morning of October/November . Appa would have switched on the radio and would have tuned into Short Wave band for some south Indian music. The early morning celebrations would start on an auspicious note with Nadaswaram music.

Getting up in the wee hours of the morning was a big task. We are three siblings and we had a rule. As per the rule –“whoever gets up first will take bath first.” That way the other two could catch up with some extra sleep was the idea. But the question was – who would wake up first?? The solution was that whoever’s name is called out  first while waking us up would have to take oil bath first and then one of us would grumble to Amma – “Why did you have to call only my name first??”

On the previous night Appa would have applied a little haldi and kumkum to the corners of the new dresses which would have been piled up on a tray . All the new clothes, sweets,  savouries, crackers, homemade special herbal  medicine, a big vessel smeared with little rangoli pattern , gingelly (sesame) oil would be placed in front of the God.

After waking up Amma would make us sit on a low level wooden seat  and anoint our hair with warm gingelly oil. We would then go out and light a cracker/sparkler . The one whose name was called first would go for the oil bath while rest of the two would try to  catch some few more winks of sleep.

Post bath Appa would give us our new dress and Amma would give us the special homemade herbal medicine in the form of a small ball . I hated it. My sister used to find it tasty. Amma would ask me to eat it fast as it helps in the digestion of all the sweets and savouries that we would be consuming for the next few days. I would find it very difficult to push it down my throat. We would wear the new clothes and seek the blessings of the elders.

Gorging on the different sweets and savouries would be fun. Phone calls to greet relatives and friends would be with “ Ganga snanam accha?”. Evening time would be spent in lighting diyas, greeting  friends and exchanging sweets. Since my growing up years were in northern and western  India we would save the bursting of crackers for the next day when the whole neighbourhood would be bursting crackers.

In today’s age enthusiasm is the same for celebrating  and I do eagerly look forward to this festival of lights but some things have changed for me I realize.. Waking up at 4 am has shifted to a little later by 2 hours, gingelly oil has been replaced by parachute coconut oil for namesake,  shikakai  has been replaced with shampoo.

When it comes to sweets and snacks –it’s the shortcut as I prepare just one sweet and one savoury item as I find the deep frying chores in the kitchen immensely boring . Rest are purchased from shop. Diwali herbal medicine too is purchased ( symbolically bought if available) and the packet remains unopened for days to come, and is finally discarded one fine day. Crackers too are brought on a minimum scale now  keeping in mind “green Diwali”.

Piling up new dresses on a tray with haldi and kumkum smeared in a corner and placing the sweets , savouries , Diwali herbal medicine and crackers along with the new set of clothes is something I look forward to. Its also time to bond with neighbours and friends by exchanging sweets.

What has also got added is looking forward to make a colourful  rangoli apart from the traditional rangoli with rice flour and decoration with lots of marigold flowers and lamps , diyas, serial bulbs.

With my generation some things have changed, and with the next generation some more things will change. We do try to hold on to some rituals ,customs, traditions as per our convenience and the love, laughter and bonding continues to keep everyone together.

May the beauty of Deepawali season fill your home with happiness

Wishing everyone a very Happy and Joyous Deepawali

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOND MEMORIES OF CHILDHOOD TRAVEL

How rightfully it is said that childhood memories remain with us for a lifetime .It becomes a part of us and we hold on to the good memories with great fondness.

I have always associated the word journey with a “Train journey” since for me as a kid holidays meant visiting our native place and the journey to the native place down south meant travelling by train for two days.

Today as I am keying in , once again my mind is flooded with the beautiful memories of travelling by the great Indian Railways. I loved to watch the changing landscape as the train chugged from one state to another. The dry arid regions, the lush green forests, the changing terrain, rivers flowing with current,the dry river beds, farms with crops swaying in the breeze , the night sky with millions of twinkling lights from the houses all visible in a single journey of 2 days!!.Isn’t this someway similar to the changes that occur in this “journey of life”?

As a young girl I would love to watch from the window the view after the sun went down and the night set in . As the train would speed ahead , no change in terrain would be visible except for the tiny innumerable lights that dotted the land ( light bulbs from houses) with cool air touching my cheeks. I would wish for the view to continue without a change. But that is not possible. Similarly only the good times cannot continue in life too I guess.

I spent my early growing up years in Allahabad and Delhi. Those were the days when vacations were meant to be enjoyed, play outside with friends instead of attending summer camps. We were actually like donkeys set free without any burden of studies during the entire summer holidays.

I have very fond memories of my summer vacations when we would visit our relatives house and Thatha, Patti & attai’s ( Dada, Dadi & Buaji) home in South India. Travelling by train all the way from Allahabad or Delhi to Trichy involved changing trains at Madras , ( I would not prefer to write Chennai but would instead write Madras as that is what it was called then!) and taking another train for the onward journey to Trichy. It used to take three days to reach our grandparents home.

As kids the “chook chook gadi ” travel excitement would commence the day the tickets were booked. We are three siblings and we would immediately announce as to “I will sleep on the upper berth” . The one who announced first would always want the upper berth . There would also be announcement of ”  window seat for me ” !.

The ticket used to be of thick cardboard and small in size , ( like the one that pops out in a coin operated weighing machine in a railway station ). It was also a time to look forward to weighing oneself in the coin operated machine at the station and read the forecast with an actor/ actress pic on one side. That card that would come out of the machine mentioning the weight will be preserved by us!!

A surai ( earthen pot) too would be a part of our luggage . Travel was by normal non ac coach and we never ever felt of cribbing or grumbling about the heat.. Amma would carry idlis with molaga podi smeared on it, lemon rice,tamarind rice, curd rice, vadams ( homemade fryums) and pickles in a stainless steel carrier. The food used to be consumed in the order of their shelf life . From the second day it was food available in the different stations that were bought. Water was refilled in the surai in a station. When we drank water Amma would say” please do not sip the glass”

We never bothered about using a hand sanitizer, dettol soap or mineral water. Life still went on without any illness.We would play a game of cards, ludo, snakes and ladders . The co- passengers too would become our friends and play with us. A bonding happened during the course of the journey.

I loved to watch the changing landscape as the train chugged from one state to another. Somewhere without our realizing it a learning process was happening simultaneously. We were actually visualizing the physical features of the land , be it plains,rocks., rivers, plateaus, valleys,vegetation and like a sponge every detail would be getting lodged in our memory.

Even we learnt about food, snacks, fruits that were special to a particular place when the vendors would hop in to sell their items at different places. It was also a learning about the different outfits worn by different people in India during our journey from north to south or even vice versa.

Getting to learn how to use the Railway timetable book was fun. We would keep asking Amma and Appa as to ” Which is the next station ?  We learnt about big stations being called as ” junctions”.We would pass by tunnels,rivers, thick vegetation. , bridges.Throwing coins into the river was another fun activity that we looked forward to.  The innumerable trips up and down the ladder would be so thrilling when trying to reach from one level of berth to another.! Amma would say ” Be careful, lest you break your bones at the begining of the journey!!. “

It was a time to bond, learn, spend more time together , play, watch the world outside.The ” Jayanti Janata express” ( Allahabad to south) and ” The Grand Trunk Express” ( Delhi to Madras) have left their imprint in my mind.On nearing Madras , we would sing the song ” Madras nalla Madras” & would keep asking Appa as to how much more time was left for Madras central station to come.

Our relatives would be waiting at the station to receive us and would give home food packed for our onward journey to Trichy. Sometimes it even meant changing station in Madras.We would bid goodbye to the surai in the train itself which had helped us in giving chill water to quench our thirst in the summer heat. From Trichy it would be a bus or bullock cart to the village where my grandparents stayed.

“Tea” sounded  this way ” chaaya , chaaya ” & also for some soft drinks it would be “coool drinks , coool drinks ” with a tring tring sound made by the bottle opener on the glass bottles.! There is lot to write if one starts remembering the travel experiences by good old Indian Railways !! A Coolie also was an integral part of our journey as we would always lot of luggage . Having graduated from trunks & holdalls to suitcases & now with further graduation to strolleys , a coolie’s assistance in carrying luggage is not availed by everyone anymore. He would walk fast with luggage on his head and someone was required to match his steps to trail behind him.:-)).Amma would say “Keep an eye on him as he will walk fast” . Searching for our name in the chart stuck near the door of the coach was another thing to look forward to! During teenage years apart from our names one would also try to look at the chart to check if someone of our age group or a youngster was a copassenger!!

We never felt the journey tiring or boring. These are memories that are etched in my mind and I cherish them.

At the same time it sometimes makes me wonder if the current generation is missing something like this? Because for them vacations and travel both have taken a new different meaning!!

Travelling as a family was so much fun.Not that travelling now is not fun with my family, kid . But there is a difference- I am a parent now with a kid. The role reversal is definitely very different I believe.In this journey of life I do intend to undertake more fun filled journeys with my loved ones .I can definitely be a kid at heart if not by age to relive those moments of childhood once again!!

BONDINGS START FROM HOME AND FESTIVALS ARE ONE AMONG THEM #happyganeshchaturthi #festive #festivefun #bloggers #begood #havefun

Memories are what we hold onto with fondness. Ganesh Chaturthi puja celebration is something very close to my heart . As per our Hindu tradition I pray to all the Gods and Goddesses, but Lord Ganesha holds a special place in my heart. The festival of “ Vinayakar Chaturthi “is one which I enjoy the most. The elephant headed God is widely worshipped as the supreme God of wisdom, prosperity & good fortune. My first shloka that I learnt was also on Lord Gajanana. “Gajananam bhoota ganadi sevitham…..”

My parents  have left me with memories of this festival for a life time . Appa would take clay from our garden and make the idol of Ganesha .We would be excited to watch Appa make the idol, then sticking our sticker bindis for eyes, rice grains as tusk, a sacred thread too would be placed on the idol !!  As a kid we would be given the job of rolling out the tiny balls for “ammini kozhakattais” (Kozhukattai are rice flour dumplings that are steamed, cooked and tossed in a tempering to make this Ganesh chaturthi snack).

It used to be a super fun activity , the more we roll, the more we get to eat!!

The jaggery & coconut modakams were something we would gobble up so fast .The entire process would be a real bonding time for the family. Amma would make so many yummy items for the Lord. During Puja time Amma would say to us kids, “ Pray for good health, wisdom to the Lord!”

We would be waiting for the aarti , so that post offerings we could feast on the yummy modakams, salted kozhakattais, vadais, appams, ammini kozhakattais, payasam (kheer). In the evenings when we would go out to see the different pandals, our eyes would want to catch a glimpse of the moon. As per the story Amma had narrated she had told us not to look at the moon on that day!!

The clay ganesha would finally find its way back to the garden.

Apart from that visiting the various sarvajanik pandals of Ganesha always added to the charm. Visiting friends houses who bring in Lord Ganesha is also something to look forward to .During school days I used to have a pact with Ganesha too especially whenever I wanted some favour!!. Super brain yoga posture was always for this Lord whenever I wanted good marks in my exams. The numbers would vary from 12 to 108 !!

There used to be a Ganesha temple close to my college and I would often visit the temple and maybe that is how my fondness for Siddhi Vinayaka grew. I moved to Mumbai soon after college when I got a job and again there was a tiny Ganesha temple near my house. I bumped into one of my friends ( who is now my husband) in a Ganesha temple on a Ganesha Chaturthi day !!!

The making of different Kozhakattais , modakams etc is something I look forward to even today as an adult. My husband & son are entrusted with rolling ammini kozhakattais. My little one will compete with his Appa to do a better job in rolling the tiny balls. These days we hardly sit cross legged on the floor & this is one task for which they sit in the kitchen cross legged & my son will say “ Amma , my legs are aching”, to which I will reply –“Bear the pain for Ganesha  &  he will surely be happy with you & shower you with blessings!!”. Its real family fun time.

Vinayaka Chaturthi celebrations has its own charm. Lord Vakrathundaya’s arrival is special as its after the onset of rains. There is greenery all round. The entire place is clean & free of  dust. Vinayaka seems to be saying, “I will arrive once the entire city & vegetation has been cleaned up after receiving the heavenly showers !! ”

It feels nice to participate in the building Ganapati puja celebrations. It is a very nice feeling as if Ganesha is amidst us. There is an air of festivity all around. I look forward to the morning & evening aarti time. It is also the time to wear saris, to have a look at all the lovely colourful saris & other outfits clad by others. The Mahaganapati Homam is a time when the chanting of holy mantras seem to bring positive vibrations around. I feel lucky to have learnt sanskrit while at school. I never liked the studying of third language while in school. But since I can understand, make out a little meaning when the shlokas, mantras are being chanted, I find it enjoyable. I thank my school for having introduced sanskrit.

The prasadams that we get after the evening puja are something I love. The quantity served is quite sufficient & filling as there is no need to prepare dinner. And, yes if someone in my family does not relish all that then it is time for DIY in the kitchen for them.!!!

On the Ganapati visarjan day a part of my mind would want time to tick slowly so that Ganesha could stay a little longer. As we bid goodbye to the Vignahartha  I know I would be missing him all the more when I would see the place where he was sitting blessing one & all.

“Ganapati Bappa Morya , pudachi varsha laukarya”.

Journey 

images (3)I have always associated the word journey with a “Train journey” since for me as a kid holidays meant visiting our native place and the journey to the native place down south meant travelling by train for 2 days.
Today as I am keying in , once again my mind is flooded with the beautiful memories of travelling by the great Indian Railways. I loved to watch the changing landscape as the train chugged from one state to another. The dry arid regions, the lush green forests, the changing terrain, rivers flowing with current,the dry river beds, farms with crops swaying in the breeze , the night sky with millions of twinkling lights from the houses all visible in a single journey of 2 days!!.Isn’t this someway similar to the changes that occur in this “journey of life”?
As a young girl I would love to watch from the window the view after the sun went down and the night set in . As the train would speed ahead , no change in terrain would be visible except for the tiny innumerable lights that dotted the land ( light bulbs from houses) with cool air touching my cheeks. I would wish for the view to continue without a change. But that is not possible. Similarly only the good times cannot continue in life too I guess.
I cherish my journeys that I had with my parents when I was a young school going girl as life was carefree, studies and board exams were yet to show their face. Travelling as a family was so much fun.
Not that travelling now is not fun with my family, kid . But there is a difference- I am a parent now with a kid. The role reversal is definitely very different I believe.
In this journey of life I do intend to undertake more fun filled journeys with my loved ones .I can definitely be a kid at heart if not by age to relive those moments of childhood once again!!

Our House

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Our House.

 

The term ” Our House”  brings memories of our Ancestral house in our native place and also all the houses where I have grown up since we moved to  many cities during my growing up years.

We used to visit our grandparents during the summer vacations. My grandparents used to live in our  Ancestral house  in our native place in a village . It was a huge house . The place where the  houses were located in that village was called an “Agraharam”.  It had a huge portico in the front, huge two halls where everyone would spend time together, have meals, sleep . There were four smaller rooms adjoining the big halls.

At the backyard was a well, a makeshift bathroom. There was a separate room near the kitchen where firewood would be stocked for lighting the fire for the hot water . The staircase to the terrace was very narrow. On the terrace floor at a place above the hall was an opening. The idea was after the grains were kept in the sun for some time, instead of carrying the grains down, it was pushed through the hole on the ceiling of the hall ( floor of terrace) to avoid carrying the sacks down. At the backyard some vegetables were grown.

There was greenery all around. A canal used to flow close by to the house. Evening time there would be lots of mosquitoes. A plastic sheet smeared with oil would be hung  ( just in case the mosquitoes sat on the sheet, they would get stuck). We used to have food on banana leaves. There was no ceiling fan, Only one table fan used to be there and we would as kids take turns to be near it . The table fan would always be placed near to Grandpa.

There was a temple close by and we would sometimes go there. Going out meant travelling either in a bullock cart or bus. Since we would be there only for a few days, we would be pampered so much by all the neighbours and by my grandparents.

Looking back staying in a village had its charm. Life there for us as kids was carefree, so different from the life in the city where we were staying with our parents. Maybe  as kids it was fun time for us. And the generation of my mother would be always busy at the kitchen . Grinding the batter for some food varieties, pounding grains etc was done by the ladies manually. I realize it would have been tough for them. Today I am in that age bracket where I am supposed to be in the cooking department and I would certainly not enjoy being in a village ( if it was a time without gadgets like those days)

Now , that house has been sold. No one from the family stays in that village. My desire is that someday I would like to go  and visit the place during this lifetime.

My other houses have been in cities in northern  and western India. Normally we would move to the new city after the academic session came to an end , and my daddy would have already joined work and would have fixed a suitable house. He would draw the layout (plan) of the house in an Inland letter for us and post it .

All the houses were good and I have beautiful memories of them but what was best is when in college I had to make a layout of a residential/ public building in exam or had to submit an assignment the layout of the various houses, schools, market eIMG_3019tc then the places that I got to see in the different cities helped me in my thinking process!

Mine your own material

This is in response to Day 17 on writing 101:

Tell us about a time you’ve left an object, place, person, or even an idea behind — and had to move on.

Bombay is a city of dreams. For me too it was, it is.

I spent nearly two decades in this city. I came to this city as a young girl in my early twenties when I got a job. This Metro city has a magnetic effect. Whoever comes here  gradually falls in love with the city inspite of it being called fast paced. She takes into her arms every one who comes to her , and gives an experience of  warmth, struggle, love, independence, exposure and the various other ingredients that are required to experience life.

Its a city for everyone- for the rich as well as the poor. I have always felt that she has a beat, a rhythm, a pulse to her. She is a city who never sleeps.

She gave me – my first job, my first house, my first love, my bundle of joy , friends, an experience and exposure which taught me so many things in my life.  As I started loving the city immensely there came circumstances because of which I had to relocate to another city. I think relocation is not the word- uprooted would be an appropriate word.

My heart was torn. I felt very sad too . Although I moved to another city which is equally very developed but my heart does not belong here.

This was the time I came across the book ” who moved my cheese”?  by Dr Spencer Johnson and it helped me to deal with change in life, It taught me how to adapt to change, how to look at life beyond the comfort zone.

Well, after moving to another city, I try to look at the positive side that the city has to offer me. I did learn couple of things here . I just hope change leads to something better and I manage to fall in love to the new place too.

Although Politically its called Mumbai now, for me it will always be Bombay- as that was how it was called when I moved to this city to build my dreams.

For my blogger friends who understand hindi- this is the song which is very apt for me when I started my life after marriage in Bombay

” do  diwaane  shahar  mein,  raat  mein  yaa  dopahar  mein
aabodaanaa  dhoondhte  hai,  ek  aashiyaanaa  dhoondhate  hain”

The Gulmohar Tree

GULMOHAR  TREE

The monsoon is yet to arrive . There is a rain deficit in this region. Some days there is a light drizzle & the place cools up like any other place. It feels so good then and then I don’t bother to think of the drought like situation that the newspapers talk about or the more severe water shortage & power cuts.

There are many Gulmohar trees all around. Summer time they are in full bloom with the red and orange flowers. Its a beaut….i….ful sight. All the more beautiful with the red & orange carpet of flowers on the ground. In fact I have started admiring nature all the more since I moved here . I realize that how studies & work front kept me so busy all these years that time just slipped by..
My twenties & thirties ………..time just flew…… I might talk about it some other time.

when I was in 1st to 3rd grade my childhood was spent in Allahabad, nd I clearly remember there were Gulmohar trees on the road in front of our building . We as kids would play under its shade. Then we moved places and the word Gulmohar took the form of the English text book ” Gulmohar Reader” while in school.

Now, coming back to the Gulmohar trees during my walks I have started noticing the different coloured flowers on the different trees, stopping to admire them, trying to take in as much as I can with my eyes. I have started paying attention to the little details of nature with more interest , like there are different times in a year when different flowers appear on the various trees & I realize how I have missed so much in all these years when I look around . I have started appreciating the different hues of the colour green too with more enthusiasm.

Of all the trees Gulmohar flowers attracts me so much. I am totally in awe of the Gulmohar flowers red, fiery orange & sometimes yellow too. They bring a smile , a feeling of joy and they are a feast to my eyes since a few months.
But,
Slowly the carpet of flowers is disappearing & I in my heart of hearts say a small bye to them every day as I see the flowers receeding in number.
Wishing that I will meet you again next summer

Over a Cup of Coffee

This is in response to Day 10 on Writing 101:  Today, write an update post in the form of a virtual coffee date.
use a coffee shop as your inspiration.

  • Set your poem or short story in a cafe.
  • Go to your neighborhood spot with your laptop or notebook and free-write for 20 minutes, prompted by what you observe.
  • Love or hate coffee? Tell us why.

I take the liberty to change it to

“Over a Cup of Tea” as I am a tea lover and find coffee, chocolate -anything to do with cocoa bitter!

Over a Cup of Tea

Finally the Rain Gods decided to bring some respite to the region.We were reeling under a deficit monsoon this year. I love the rains. It washes the entire city and in one heavy shower cleans the entire city. I was watching the rain and sipping piping hot tea when my  twin sister  called me up to discuss her vacation plans. After I finished talking with her about the forthcoming holidays I was immediately transported back to my childhood since she mentioned about some places that we had visited as kids with our parents. I felt so good  sipping tea and watching the rain as I was carried into flashback mode.

How rightfully it is said that childhood memories  remain with us for a lifetime .It becomes a part of us and we hold on to the good memories with great fondness.

I spent my early growing up years in Allahabad and Delhi. Those were the days when vacations  were meant to be enjoyed, play outside with friends instead of attending summer camps

I have very fond memories of my summer vacations when we would visit our grandparents home in south India. Travelling by train all the way from Allahabad or Delhi to Trichy involved changing trains at Madras ,  ( I would not prefer to write Chennai but would instead write Madras as that is what it was called then!) and taking another train for the onward journey to Trichy. It used to take 3 days to reach our grandparents home.

As kids the train travel excitement would commence the day the tickets were booked. We are three siblings and we would immediately announce as to who would sleep on which berth. The one who announced first would always want the upper berth . There would also be announcement of who would sit on the window seat first!. Traveling by train used to be fun.

The ticket used to be of thick cardboard and small in size , ( like the one that pops out in a  coin operated weighing machine in a railway station ). It was also a time to look forward to weighing oneself in the coin operated  machine at the station and read the forecast with an actor/ actress pic on one side. That card  that would come out of the machine mentioning the weight will be preserved by us!!

A Surai ( earthen pot) too would be a part of our luggage . Travel was by normal non ac coach and we never ever felt of cribbing or grumbling about the heat.. Amma would carry idlis , lemon rice,tamarind rice,curd rice,vadams and pickle in a stainless steel carrier. The food used to be consumed in the order of their shelf life on the first day . From the second day it was food available in the different stations that were bought. Water was refilled in the surai in a station.

Nobody bothered about using a hand sanitizer, dettol soap or mineral water. Life still went on without any illness.

We would play a game of cards, ludo, snakes and ladders . The co passengers too would become our friends and play with us. A bonding happened during the course of the journey.

I loved to watch the changing landscape as the train chugged from one state to another. Somewhere without our realizing it a learning process was happening simultaneously. We were actually visualizing the  physical features of the land , be it plains,rocks., rivers, plateaus, valleys,vegetation and like a sponge every detail would be getting lodged in our memory.

Even we learnt about food,snacks,fruits that were special to a particular place when the vendors would hop in to sell their items at different places. It was also a learning about the different outfits worn by different people  in India during our journey from north to south or even vice versa.

Getting to learn how to use the Railway timetable book was fun. We would keep asking Amma and Appa as to which station was approaching. We learnt about big stations being called as ” junctions”.

We would pass by tunnels,rivers, thick vegetation. , bridges.

Throwing coins into the river was another fun activity that we looked forward to. Since a river is considered to be a Goddess, the significance of throwing a coin into a river is like an offering to the Goddess.

The innumerable trips up and down the ladder would be so thrilling when trying to reach from one level of berth to another.!

My parents have given me a beautiful childhood . There are memories of different kinds. But the journey by train is something I cherish a lot. It was a time to bond, learn, spend more time together , play, watch the world outside.

The ” Jayanti Janata express” ( Allahabad to south) and ” The Grand Trunk Express” ( Delhi to Madras) have left their imprint in my mind.

On nearing Madras , we would sing the song ” Madras nalla Madras”.

Our relatives would be waiting at the station to receive us  and would give home  food packed for our onward  journey to Trichy. Sometimes it even meant changing station in Madras.

We would bid goodbye to the surai in the train itself which had helped us in giving cold water to quench our thirst in the summer heat

From Trichy it would be a bus or bullock cart to the village where my grandparents stayed.

We never felt the journey tiring or boring. These are memories that are etched in my mind and I cherish them.

At the same time it sometimes makes me wonder  if the current generation is missing something like this? Because for them vacations and travel both have taken a new different meaning!!

download (1) download

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The rain was still pouring as I mentally drifted back from flashback mode . But it was a beautiful feeling as the visual images of my train journey with my family kept coming in front of my mind’s eye for quite some time !! So it was a fantastic evening over a cup of tea that I spent with myself!