The Indian Railways is so fascinating. Mesmerising legacy, mindboggling scale, unbelievable efficiency and of course, the romance of a train journey. My earliest memories of train fascination is that of Gopi: a very close friend from high school days. He used to rattle the starting and ending stations of _all_ train names from the Railway Timetable. Believe me, I used to actually quiz him with that book.
There is this very cooL urban legend about Gopi that made its rounds in our high school corridors (I think its due to Dhruva, but he might claim innocence, like always ;-> ). Legend has it that when some friends had been to Gopi’s place to call him for a customary game of cricket. Gopi and his brother were all dressed up and ready to go somewhere. They were pestering their father about how they would be late for some train and would miss it and all. The unsuspecting friends assumed that their pal was going out of station or something, and decided not to include him in the next day’s game. But it so turned out later (much to their amazement) that the party was going to the Bangalore City Railway Station not to travel soemwhere, but to check out some train that would halt there for some half an hour, and had some “cool” technical specification!!!. Whoa, now, that is a true enthusiast, considering that we were around 12 that time, and his brother was barely 10. Imagine being 10 and being interested in Railway Gauges. Anwyays, thats just the legend. I wonder if Gopi still has his passion for Indian Rail.
Of all the longest-fastest-oldest of the Indian Railways, I find Bangalore only once; The Bangalore Mail has supposedly been running since 1864! If you did visit that page, do check out the listing of speciality food items in specific stations. I am pleased to see the very delicious Maddur Vade listed (and not pathetically called “vada”, but sticking to the Kannada “vade”). I also feel quite sad that I missed out on all the Lonavala and Khandala station goodies during my train rides between Mumbai and Bangalore on the very normal and quait and non-famous Lokamanya Tilak Express. Will make it a point to eat the Chikis and the Burfis the next time around. Gosh, in retrospect, flights are somewhat boring.
As for the title of this posting, its worth checking out the Jackfruit Letter. Quite funny.