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…