In Swarna Shatabdi
All ready for Amritsar! I love this train – this one and the Rajdhanis. One almost feels that like royalty in these trains. They are not only clean they also provide good food – at least according to me. Thankfully they could get me non-veg breakfast.
I am writing this life after having my breakfast. It is only 8:56(the train started at 7:20 and I am already stuffed.) First there were Marie biscuits with tea. Then there was an omlette with peas and French fries, and bread butter. I am happy as a clam.
The one beautiful thing about going by train is the beautiful scenery. Man, India is so gorgeous. Within the city limits you do have the morning squatters but once you are in the countryside it is paradise. The only jarring point in this train is the controlled a/c environment due to which one cannot smell the country air.
Time for a snooze.
Funny thing about the Indian rail (and maybe of all rail journeys)- you always feel that the seats are uncomfortable and that you are never going to be able to sleep, especially with kids shouting nearby. However a full tummy and the narcotic rocking of the train always lulls one to dreamless stupour.
I had a good nap. Caught a glimpse of some of the places that I have heard of all through my life, like Karnal and Kurukshetra. Another place we stopped at was Amballa cantonment. Woke up at Ludhiana. Weather outside is fine. The sun is shining brightly but it is more pleasant than hot. The countryside in this part of the world is just breathtaking. Makes me wonder about many things about which I will speak later (eg. about the rural world versus the urban world).
As I was writing the last lines there is an announcement that we will shortly be reaching Phagwara.
Ludhiana and Beas gone and I am at the holy land of Amritsar(literally lake of nectar). Amritsar also seems to be expanding – I could see lots of construction while pulling into the city.
The whole possé is waiting for me. Masadji and mama and Simpoo. After landing it is a short ‘tempo’ ride to tayaji’s place and very soon I am lapping up a delicious mutton curry made by tayaji. An absolutely mouth-smacking dish with succulent pieces of meat so soft that it melts in ones mouth. Beautiful!!!
The day is full of fun, meeting all the saalas and saalis I had not met before, meeting relatives in general from Amritsar and partaking of all the fun and goodies that go along with the overall atmosphere of an Amritsari Punjabi wedding. I am at Masadji’s place and having fun just conversing, debating, drinking tea and eating all the time. The grand finale was a tumbler of hot milk – by tumbler I mean a real Amritsari tumbler, huge is an understatement for it.
We all know that we have to sleep early as we have to go to Kangra (Himachal Pradesh) in the morning. Still with the whole family around one cannot just go off and sleep. All of us are on the mattresses (no there was no Mafia war going on) on the floor, debating, arguing having a gala time and as people reach their limit they fall off to sleep. Typical timepass as at any Indian family gathering.
Love it !!!
I was going to post this pic later – but I could not resist 🙂 Click on the thumbnail to see one of the phtos that i am really proud of. I am also putting up the pic of Harmandar Saheb as it was in the older days.