Journey by train is now very popular in our country. Most of the people like to have a Railway-journey. I too had a chance to journey by train from Cuttack to Puri.
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My father had wished to see the Car Festival at Puri. So, he started for Puri to see the Car Festival. I went with him.
At the station:
We had to catch the Howrah Puri Express Train. It was due to reach the Cuttack Railway Station at 5-15 A.M. We reached the station. My father purchased two tickets at the Railway Booking Office. At the Railway Restaurant my father took a cup of tea and I too had some light refreshment. Then we went to the Railway book-stall. My father purchased an English Daily. I also bought an interesting travel-book against the possibility of a monotonous journey.
The Railway bells:
Suddenly, we heard the line-clear bell. A little after the second bell was rung. It meant that the train was out from the nearest station. By this time the platform was full of passengers-men, women, young and old. The platform got crowded. People were talking among themselves. The Railway coolies were moving here and there. When the third bell was rung the train rushed into station. Now, the noise increased. The hawkers shouted their articles. People pushed and elbowed to get in and down. We climbed into an sleeper bogie. It was clean and comfortable.
The train started:
After a quarter of an hour the guard blew the whistle and waved the blue kerchief. The signal was down then. The train started moving. It moved and glided. The passengers looked out at the platform. Now, the train speeded. Within a short while the beautiful station at Cuttack lay far behind.
On the way to the next station at Balikuda:
On the left we saw the big building of the Government press. Next the river Kathjodi, now came to our sight, we saw the bridge over the river. It was very nice to look at. The train passed on and reached the station at Balikuda. The Coromondal Express had to cross our train. So, we had to halt a while at Balikuda. Then the train started.
On the way to the next station of Barang:
On both of our sides the trees and the bushes seemed to be running fast. It is so felt, when one travels by a running carriage. On our way, the lines have bent forming a half circle. So, our train had to make along curve. Now the next station was visible. So, the train began to slow up and passed the Barang Railway Platform. The glass factory at Barang could be seen very near at hand. It blast furnace was blazing red hot. We saw at a distance the buildings of Nandan Kanan.
On the way to Khurda-Road:
The train started. It reached the station at Khurda-Road. Khurda-Road is a Railway Junction. Here the lines have branched off towards the extreme south. Passengers going to Madras get down here to catch the corresponding train. Here the train halted for half an hour. Then the sun was shining brightly. We spied at a distance the red and blue signal-posts. The whole station was a beautiful sight.
After the train left Khurda-road:
The train left the junction. I opened a window of our compartment and looked at the landscape. The sun was up in the sky and the distant hills were visible. The fresh wind amused me with it touching coolness. Suddenly a dark cloud filled the sky with its pathetic note. I tried to read some pages of the book that I had bought. But gradually I began to feel sleepy. My eye-lids got heavy with the cool breeze. It was a struggle on my part to keep my self erect. At last I yielded and lay down on the long cushion.
At Puri Station:
At about 9 A.M. my father waked me up. Soon I came to know that we had reached Puri, the destination of our journey. We got down from the train. A coolie carried our luggage out of the platform. My father delivered the tickets at the station gate and we came out. Outside the station the rickshaw pullers swarmed around us. We hired a rickshaw up to the Lion’s gate of Lord Jagannath.
This journey by train was very interesting for me. This gave me courage to make longer journeys in future.
Journey generally means travelling a long distance Yes; I had travelled last year with my parents to Bombay by Gitanjali Express in order to attend the marriage ceremony of my cousin who stays there.
It was the month of December. The weather was pleasant. We started for Bombay from Howrah railway station. We spent the night in the train. Outside it was dark, and nothing could be seen. My parents went to sleep in their berths, but I did not feel sleepy. For me, it was a thrilling journey.
I was being carried away far from Calcutta every minute and every hour. In the calmness of the night, the noise of the wheels created by the motion of the train seemed rhythmical. The dim light overhead added to a mystic atmosphere. It was perhaps only me, the lone traveller, who kept himself awake so late at night in the compartment. I do not remember when I fell asleep.
In the morning, I got up at about 7 A.M. I looked outside. The stations were passing fast before my eyes. The land, the towns, the mills, the villages-all of them composed a unique picturesque and pleased my eye. It was a new experience for me to see another state of India. The stations like Nagpur, Wardha, or Bhillai were so long known to me only through the pages of geography.
We reached Bombay in the afternoon. Our cousin came to receive us at the Victoria Station with his Fiat car. His residential flat was very nice. It was near the Marine Drive. This was first time that I visited Bombay.
The wedding ceremony was simple. A limited number of guests were invited. According to the Hindu rites, the ceremony was performed, although in presence of the Marriage Registrar and three independent witnesses the newly wedded couple signed the register. There was a grand feast. The food came from a renowned hotel. We really enjoyed the marriage party.
Next day, we were taken by a bus of the Govt. Tourism Department, and shown all the important sights in the city. After three days, we returned to Calcutta.
The memory of my Bombay visit remains as a living picture with me even today.