Gazing out of a window…

… while travelling has to be one of my very favourite things to do.

I’ve enjoyed it as long back as I can remember. Growing up, our biggest journey used to be the journey from Jamshedpur to Kerala, every summer. It used to take 3+ days, and just gazing out as the train sped by, was just amazing.

The change in landscapes, as we traveled across states. Dry, arid land in some, gorgeous greenery in some, waiting for the river crossings with bated breadth. For some reason, we all used to love it. The largest bridge over a river, in India, it was a treat for us. We used to wait up for it, in case the crossing happened at night. And the disappoinment, in case we dozed off, despite our best efforts, was just massive. How little it took, to make us happy in those days.

River crossings apart, the other thing I used to love was watching the changing scenery, the houses that we whizzed past. Some opulent houses, some tiny huts, some buzzing with activity, some abandoned…

I would weave stories in my mind about the people who lived there, and their lives. I would imagine a farmer’s family, eating their dinner, as we rode by, just as dusk fell, to the sound of our train rushing past. I would imagine that the train would serve as their clock, timing their lunches or dinners, or maybe bedtimes.. or just a nuisance that would spoil their afternoon naps, until they just got so used to it that they no longer even noticed it..

Seeing ladies chatting with their neighbours, would make me wonder what they were discussing.. gossip? Or perhaps, the rising costs, or their children or maybe stuff that I could not even imagine in my wildest dreams. .. I would assign lives for them. That smartly dressed lady setting off on her scooter, would be a bank employee, the man waiting impatiently, at the railway crossing for our train to pass, was late for work, and was anticipating his boss’s disapproval. I could spend the whole day, looking out, with no-one for company, the stories in my head was enough to keep me busy.

What brought it all back? Yesterday, while we drove across Goa, I saw, what looked like an abandoned house. It was palatial, completely built(from the outside) but not painted, and looked completely abandoned. Weeds grew around it, and there was a sad haunted feel about it. Now, abandoned houses are the best for imagining and weaving a story around them. They would most definitely have a story of their own. A rich merchant, perhaps, who started building his dream home. A mini palace, everything was almost done, when he suffered such losses thathe had to just abandon the house. Bankruptcy threatened him but try as he might nobody was ready to buy it. People in the village were terrified that the land or house brought bad luck. What could explain such a sudden reversal of fortune?

Or maybe, the merchant refused to sell it. He hung on to it because it had a special place it his heart.. He knew that one day, he would be able to redo his house and live there.. Until then, it stayed there, neglected, uncared for, but thought of, fondly, with dreams still woven about it…

I suddenly realize that its been so long since I’ve been on a train journey, through lush fields, dry lands, and past little hamlets.. So long since I’ve done this, let my imagination run riot…

18 thoughts on “Gazing out of a window…

  1. you sound exactly like my brother…going from baroda to calcutta was nearly 3 days he would just stare out of the window..forever..and those days there was no AC..we used to travel sleeper class…it was a different world eh?

    • Oh yes, the sleeper class it was for us too. AC was not half as much fun. The closed windows would spoil everything. Plus the wind blowing through our hair as the train rushed through… What a fun time it all was.

      • That’s so true! Ac coaches are roomier and cleaner but the closed windows spoil everything by blocking out the sounds and smells, if not the sights. And yes, it was so lovely to have the wind blowing through your hair!

  2. We are alike….Like you I too gaze out and make millions of stories in my head, I especially remember our journey through the Jungles Chambal & how I was carrying a diary…I wrote a little but I was also scared….looking at the terrain I imagined blood and all hehehehe..I know it was too much but then I was a kid back then πŸ˜‰

  3. reminded me of the punjab to kolkata travel , summer vacations on howrah mail πŸ™‚ 3 days it took .. spent mostly at the door of the compartment viewing everything the rivers, the bridges field roads everything ..

  4. Let your imagination run riot and give us some beautiful fictional tales, no? πŸ™‚

    LOVED the post. You sound so much like me. THis is pretty much what I used to do when we used to travel from Ahmedabad to Chennai in sleeper class, long long long ago. It seems ages ago now. πŸ™‚ The journey takes about 2.5 days, and most long journeys these days are undertaken by flight. So miss all that imagining and looking around. πŸ™‚

  5. Hahah you do this too?? I do this all the time!! πŸ˜€ Weaving stories in my mind about people, places and sights that I see. It’s so much fun. And also humbling in a way… because you are reminded of the vastness of the universe… and how there is so much more to it than your little world and your petty problems…. πŸ™‚

  6. Lovely post Smitha, agree with Bindu’s comment which made me feel as if I was there seeing it as you are narrating. Brings back a lot of memories of fun-filled journeys. And looking out of the window was one of my fav. pastimes too.

    • I think most of us from our generation would have experienced and loved train travel. For daughter, its a more sterilized version, and not as much fun, I think.

  7. What a beautiful post!!!

    1. You grew up in Jamshedpur? I have relatives there and have heard its a lovely place!

    2. Same pinch! I love train journeys and the different landscapes, houses and people make my imagination run riot too! Loved the stories you weaved around whatever caught your sight.

  8. You won’t believe how obsessed I am even today about windows…I always book a window seat… and trust me 2nd class in trains is much better than ac’s ! be it a car or a bus or a train… I must have a window seat… my son even is appalled at times why I am behaving like a kid for the window ! but well…

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