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Memory Quirks--4!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sudhir and I both had our umbilical cords tied to Kolhapur--he through his mother and me through my father------the house at Kolhapur was our Family home.For me it was one of the most favourite places to visit during my Summer Vacations---during childhood and even after my marriage to Sudhir---it remained a priority Location and today a whole bunch of Memories beginning in childhood and going on till 6 months back are tied to my ancestral home.It was always our dearest spot to visit each year with the girls and though we stayed in our Uncle's Opal Hotel after I married Sudhir the house our Grandpa built and the days spent there during my School Vacations remained a part of my most cherished Memories. Today the house has been sold---but we and now just I still visit it and gaze at it from the outside----it has provided the basis for so many wonderful moments!!!
Those days our Uncle still lived in the tiny cobbled alley in the home my Grandfather had built at the turn of the Century.This house was built of solid Stone---the walls inside plastered with Clay in the traditional fashion.The Floors too were made of Clay---regularly plastered with a mixture of Cow Dung and Clay mixed with Water---this ensured that even while we went unshod in the house---our feet never got dirty or muddy---the Floors always were cool and soothing to our bare soles!!There were front and back Stairs of solid Teak Wood leading to the upper storey---and it had huge Attics on it's topmost levels--reached by a step ladder.It was a huge house---with large airy Rooms and high wooden raftered Ceilings---and a 6' by 3' wooden Swing hanging on solid Brass Rings from the wooden Rafters in the huge Hall on the Ground Floor-----fashioned out of smoothly polished and gleaming heavy Shisham Wood----my brother still has it in his Bungalow today!!!The old heavy main door always opened with a creepy creaking sound---a sound that used to send shivers down our spines at nights we spent there when we used to visit during our School Vacations!!!
For us however it was the Attics that held the greatest fascination---stuffed with old Furniture,huge Brass Cooking Pots and a lot of Junk--the Trunks up there held an allure that intrigued and interested us the most.My cousins and I have spent many hours up there---wading through old stuff--like my Grandpa's old Mahogany Pigeon holed desk which still held some letters written and signed by him in old Copperplate English----a few papers in Modi--the Court Script of Marathi which has since died away and many old Trunks filled with his stuff---Coats fashioned out of heavy Silk and Tweed as well as his Turbans----in rich Jewel bright colours with pure Gold Threads running through it or with ornate Gold and Silk Borders--- and his Papers.There were also trunks full of our fathers' childhoods---many Toys they'd owned as young boys were still in great repair---but we did not take these for fear of our stolen visits getting out.
The Attics also were the place where Straw would be laid down in one corner---and this was the bed on which green,ripening Mangoes were laid down in rows to ripen naturally----giving off an enticing,heady perfume----driving my cousins and me wild!!This was another reason for us to haunt the Attics---hunting out the ripening Mangoes during the afternoon Siesta and eating them with the bloom on them---for going down,washing and slicing these was too much bother!!We were forbidden the Attics mainly because in the shadowy corners the very real danger of Snakes---mainly Cobras---lurked and the cool Attics provided them welcome relief from the hot,dry Summer outside.Luckily despite our many furtive visits we were almost never caught---nor did we encounter any Cobras!!One day however my youngest Aunt caught us stealing down from the Attics---and she made all of us swear that we'd never go up again unsupervised---and that put paid to our foraging activity!!!
There was a spreading Java Plum (Jaamun) Tree in the Backyard heavily laden with Fruit----my favourite climbing partner---my favourite pastime was shinning up it and grabbing fistfulls of the succulent Fruit for all of us.My cousins lived in Bombay---so such activity was unknown to them---while my Vacations were practically spent perched on one tree or another in Chandigah so I was the safest bet to get access to the luscious Fruit!!Evenings would be spent on the River Banks----amidst the Temples dotting the Pier.The River was out of bounds for it had a whirlpool and a sharp current in it's depths---but since none of us could swim that was no hardship.I have watched so many spectacular Sunsets by the River----even today it is a must on my agenda each time I visit----for me the River is a reassurance,a comforting presence and it's swirling Waters form a continuity for me--linking my Past with my Present. There are rich fertile Fields on both sides of the River bank---for the flooding of the River each year ensures fresh deposits of rich,alluvial Soil---giving the land a rich dark look---called "Kaalee Maati" or Black Soil.These banks are always filled with lush Green Sugarcane----for this tiny Principality has the largest number of Millionaires---thanks to The Sugarcane Cash Crops!!The River,the Fields,the Temples gilded in the rays of the setting Sun hold a Timelessness----a serene sense of forever imprinted on it!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOVEY63 5/26/2012 9:02AM

    I was thinking about how much i would love going through the attics until you mentioned the snakes - even the small ones we have here freak me out, your would terrify me!

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MILLISMA 5/25/2012 7:15PM

    I sitting here smiling and can just picture these memories. How wonderful!!!

emoticonmy special friend

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JESSIG5 5/25/2012 5:36PM

    How interesting!

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Some Coincidence!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

There are some coincidences in Life which turn out to be pretty amazing--like this one.Both my Grandfathers---- Paternal and Maternal---- were christened "Ramchandra" and had "R" as their first initial.Both married thrice--- to women much younger than them the third time.My paternal Grandma Sita Bai was 15 years old to her Bridegroom's 40 years at the time of their marriage--a gap of 25 years between them.My maternal Grandma Kamala Bai was 25 years old to her Bridegroom's 40 years at the time of their marriage---there being a 15 year gap between them.Sita and Kamala are both Synonyms for the Goddess Laxmi---the Deity of Wealth!!It was these two women who provided a passel of children to both the men---for both earlier wives and their children on either side had passed away during childbirth!!However my paternal Grandpa died aged 60 years---and Akka---as we called my paternal Grandma became a widow at 35 years---with the two older daughters married but still having 5 children to raise--their ages ranging between 16 years and 6 years---a task she accomplished with grit and determination.My maternal Grandma whom I called Aaji was luckier---all her children were adults when she was widowed at the age of 60 years when my Grandpa died at the age of 75 years.My paternal Grandpa's initials were "R.A.P", my father's were "A.R.P." and my younger sister's--Ritu's---are "R.A.P.".All three of them share the same Alphabets in their Initials and all three lost their respective fathers at the age of 13 years old---a horrifying fact that sends shivers down my spine!!!
Both my Grandpas were at a very high Government posts and earned a lot of respect in their careers.Both belonged to an aristocratic background, owning extensive lands---hence in both houses their own fields provided the Rice,Lentils,Coconuts and such necessities that were needed for the household---for both households were large---with a minimum of 20-25 people being present at mealtimes.Those memories of my childhood---the huge sprawling flat in Bombay belonging to my maternal Grandpa--Aazobaa---was always overflowing with people as he was the head of an extended large family.Since as far back as I can remember my Aaji would begin cooking early in the morning on huge Coal fired Stoves---built into the ground in brick and covered with a layer of Clay.These Stoves had Iron boxes fitted under them and these served as primitive Ovens, the heat from the Coal burning on the top keeping the temprature constant.It was in these that my Aaji cooked delicacies like various Cakes,Pies,Patties and Biscuits but what I still drool over are her Fish Parcels---tiny Sardines were cleaned,washed and marinated in a spicy Green Coconut Chutney,wrapped in fresh Turmeric Leaves to make fist sized Parcels which were then tied with string and roasted in these Ovens to a smoky,crisp texture.These were served in the Leaves--to be unwrapped when one ate them---lip smackingly delicious with the steaming hot Rice and Dal in the rainy months of Monsoon!!!I can never forget how heavenly the Food cooked on Coal fires tasted---in fact that is what I miss the most today---the smoky flavour!!!In Kolhapur too my paternal Grandma Akka would sit by her Coal Stoves--spending a minimum of 4 uninterrupted hours by it----cooking our Breakfast and Lunch in the huge sprawling Kitchen of our ancestral home.She would wear only White--the traditional Widow's weeds---but despite cooking non-stop she'd emerge from the Kitchen fresh as a Daisy even in Summer--her nine yard sari spotless despite the liberal use of Indian Spices like Turmeric Powder----the bane of my Clothes and their existence till I discovered Aprons made from stiff Buckram cloth!!!Maybe in both homes it was the high wooden raftered Ceilings that trapped in the cool Air!!!Kerosene Stoves then were used only for making Beverages like Tea and Coffee--for these were faster.I still have three pot bellied Bronze Stoves----their bellies would be filled with Kerosene and that done we'd use the pump to add pressure to create a thin stream of Kerosene which would feed the funnel on the top---then be ignited with a Match-----a knob on the side helped to control the Flame by releasing pressure---effective and quick but highly unsafe---many accidents have happened because the pressure would build up really high due to excessive pumping----and then these would just explode like Kerosene Bombs !!
Today those tastes are gone--for the Rice that we ate is not grown any more---a finer quality Rice is grown instead---and this is no longer hand milled but cleaned and polished by machines---the flavour and the taste have both as a result suffered.Also the Food Grains no longer are organically grown---and that too has affected the taste of the staple products we had earlier. Today my youngest Aunt--Vasanti Maushi--lives alone in Aaji's sprawling 3500 sq.ft. Flat----rattling around in the space for she is a recluse--not given to entertaining family any more!!Our old ancestral home in Kolhapur too has been sold in 2010 by my Uncle before he died---thus now only memories of the large extended Families that lived there remain---and the warmth of those Memories still lingers!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RAIN454 5/25/2012 4:02PM

    That IS something...all those coincidences...so interesting! thanks for sharing.
Yes, and I agree...now Im hungry too! (As always after reading your blogs!) hehe :)
Much love-

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RIDMYCOCOON 5/25/2012 4:05AM

    And what wonderful memories indeed.

It is odd how much life has changed from when we were girls. I remember long tables sprawled with family and food too. My Grandpa cooked outside in a brick oven. I would sit on the wall, talk and watch him as he cooked this and simmered that. There was a pomegranate tree above us that kept me quite busy too. Big, loud, and wonderful were these gatherings. We didn't have them every day but very other month or so. I miss those times of feeling surrounded. I miss getting my cheek pinched and wet (icky) kisses from my aunts.

What amazing and mirroring similarities with your grandfathers! Thank you for sharing Bombay. Rice, lentils and coconut...sounds like heaven :)

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BOVEY63 5/24/2012 6:02PM

    I love reading these memories. I can't imagine 20-25 people at meals everyday - WOW!

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MILLISMA 5/24/2012 3:54PM

    What wonderful memories. Sometimes when I read your blogs, it brings up things from my "days gone by". Thank you for sharing so much with us. It's always a treat to stop by your page.

emoticonmy dear friend

Mary Anne

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SAASHA17 5/24/2012 3:30PM

    hmm..all i could read in that whole blog was smoked fish:d can u tell i am hungry

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A Bygone Era!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A comment on my Blog about Bed Tea jogged my memory and a few moments about Bed Tea surfaced!!!Indian homes have always run on well trained domestic help----specially in the past.Employing a retinue of domestic staff was a feather in one's cap during my childhood---for the greater the Staff the higher the Employer's status!!!Both my parents belonged to homes that employed a large number of people as domestic staff---but that did not mean that both my Grandmas were idle or lazy.On the contrary they woke at Dawn,bathed and began supervising the Staff as early as 4 a.m. in the morning!!!Not just that both were the Chefs who cooked huge amounts of Food personally and trained the Cooks they hired---using these to help chopping and cleaning the Vegetables or shredding and grinding the large number of Fresh Coconuts needed to make the Curries each day.These were mainly used as underlings---and no actually responsible work was allotted to them!!-The Staff was mainly employed for other jobs like washing the clothes,utensils and sweeping and swabbing the large areas that made up our homes.In my paternal Grandma's case we needed people to look after the Cow and the Buffalo she kept as well.
My father was first sent to Bombay to his Uncle's place to study---and from there to Oxford--Christ Church College for his Architectural degree.His sojourn in England completely Anglocised him---and he returned to Independent India very much a "Brown" Sahib!!!My mother was a graduate and his older sister's niece besides being extremely beautiful---it was my MIL who arranged the match.Mummy was petite and slender---providing a perfect foil to Daddy's broad muscled physique and together they made a striking couple.They married on 12th. May 1952 and Daddy brought her with him to Shimla.Shimla had been British India's Summer Capital---with the British Government Offices working from here from beginning of March to the end of August each year to avoid the sapping, dusty,dry heat of the Indian Plains and the Winter Session would take place in New Delhi for it snowed pretty badly in the Mountains disrupting smooth operations.As a result Shimla was a very sophisticated place with the huge Widflower Hall---as the Viceregal Palace was called and other elegant Town Houses dotting The Mall----as well as the huge Mansions of Indian Royalty.
This atmosphere with it's pseudo Club culture and sophistication was something new to Mummy----for though my maternal Grandpa was the Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax in his office---at home the atmosphere was 100% Indian!!Mummy being Mummy adapted to wearing make-up,speaking only in English during the Parties,dancing the Waltz etc.(which she hated to do---the close physical proximity with anyone else but Daddy was uncomfortable to her)---acquiring all the Social Etiquettes necessary to survive in that environment.Along with this she also had to learn the correct way to deal with her domestic Staff--a Cook,a Bearer and Peon.The only thing that really appealed to her was the Bed Tea----for she said that it was simply heavenly to be woken up in the mornings with a cup of steaming hot Bed Tea----brought to the Bedroom on tiny wooden Tray tables----but the fact that it was served by a male member of the Staff while she was in her Nightclothes made her uncomfortable!!!As a result she took to sleeping in Salwar Kurtas instead of Saries---keeping the Dupatta or Veil at hand----hence preserving her decorum!!!
After my birth Amma as I called my Nanny, was added on to the Staff and it was Amma who taught Mummy how to rear me---weaning me to Farex and the rest---and though by now Mummy was used to living the life of a "Memsahib" she never really left the Kitchen completely to the Cook---there were plenty of territorial skirmishes over the Kitchen and it's proprietorial rights!!Mummy loved to cook and was an excellent Baker----given the primitive Ovens that she had access to her airy,feather light Cakes , Pastries and Biscuits were a labour of Love as well as works of Art---leading to a healthy competition between her and Narayan Das---a fabulous Cook himself---with both of them turning out excellent fare---no wonder we were spoilt for choice---and I turned Foodie at a tender age!!!For me today those wonderful Afternoon Teas with different varieties of Cakes,Biscuits and Sandwiches today seem like a dream as is being gently woken up to a steaming Cup of Tea set on a tiny Bed Tray with a single gently unfurling perfect Rosebud alongside!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOVEY63 5/23/2012 7:44PM

    You have such awesome memories and a talent to share them in a beautiful way.

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Meha's Prom

Monday, May 21, 2012

This last Weekend was one busy one---it was Meha's Prom weekend!!Thanks to me being sick and then Meha being pre occupied with her Homework we left the Prom shopping pretty late----and finally on Friday evening set out to buy the Dress.Making our way into a shop in the Mall called Windsor----our first stop---the 3 of us pulled up short as we walked in--for on the Mannequin--very eye catchingly placed was "The Dress"!!!It was the colour of Royal Blue Ink in a fitted floor length Grecian style-----beautifully draped to fall softly but with gently curving lines.On asking to try it on we were told that it was the last piece left and since it needed a Step Ladder to bring it down they could give it to us only the next morning!!!So we requested that it be put on hold for us---and we'd be back the next day.
By now Mehul too had joined us---and on his suggestion we began sorting through the other styles on the Racks---and finding a pretty Black Gown that fit really well, bought that as an exigency measure---just in case the Royal Blue Dress turned out to be the wrong size!!!Appointments for the Hair and Nails had been made pretty much in advance and the waxing and threading was done at a nearby Salon on Friday.That night both Meha and I just couldn't sleep----me because I was aginizing about the size---she because of the excitement!!In the morning we were all outside the Shop almost 20 minutes before they opened their doors---and finally Meha tried on the Dress---which fit like a dream!!!The classical Grecian cut clung to her slender curves like a glove----and for all of us our day was made!!!
Our grand nephew Aseem---Milind's daughter Shilpa's son--- was to come over later to spend the day---so we hurried home to cook the Lunch.He studies at the Occidental College in Eagle Rock and is leaving to go home to Singapore today.Since he'll be going to a different Room next year he wanted to store all the stuff he couldn't carry home in Lotta's Garage----and this way he could enjoy some home cooking too----specially the simple Food that all Students living away from home crave!!!I spent the afternoon and evening listening to him play his Guitar---playing Chet Atkins and the Shadows for him on You Tube.All this while Madame Meha was busy with her Hair and Nail appointments.She'd decided to have her hair softly curled and pinned back from her face to fall in soft curls on her left shoulder.Finally she was back home and we were stunned!!!She looked really different--very beautiful and very striking---and after she'd done with her make-up and The Dress was on-----the effect was totally stunning!!!I'll never forget the way Aseem said with brotherly candour"Wow Meha---you clean up really NICE!!"
That was one BIG moment for me----and a mixed one.How her Aabu would have loved to see her looking so lovely and grown up---he like me would've been teary eyed--the entire effect was simply mind blowing!!The elegant simplicity of the Dress coupled with the flowing semi Grecian hairstyle and touches of long dangling Ear rings, a Silver Swarovsky Bracelet and Pendant hanging on a Silver chain completed the Picture-----and my chubby little Cherub disappeared forever---leaving in her place a poised,elegant and self confident young lady---who carried her slender form of 5'9" with infinte grace and sophistication---ready for her special night at the Queen Mary!!!

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    I can see it with my mind's eye but hope for a picture!

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NITAINMN 5/23/2012 12:06PM

    Sounds like Meha the Ravana is a beautiful lady indeed....5'9" is a figure to be proud of in the USA for a girl of Indian heritage! You sound like a very proud grandma!! Happy for you, Komal. The best time of the year and high school is prom and graduation for these youngsters. emoticon emoticon

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RAIN454 5/22/2012 5:59PM

    Of course, in Komal-Style...the description was so beautifully detailed that I don't even need to ask to see a picture. I can imagine how gorgeous she looked. Must run in the family ;)

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RIDMYCOCOON 5/22/2012 3:50PM

    How lovely! What a precious moment :) I am so happy for you both

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XXMILAXX 5/22/2012 1:40AM

    Very sweet.

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SAASHA17 5/21/2012 5:26PM

    that must have been so much fun sharing in the prom day dress shopping and all....


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BOVEY63 5/21/2012 5:15PM

    How wonderful that you were able to share in this moment of her life. I am sure it meant a lot to her too.

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Memory Quirks--3!!

Friday, May 18, 2012

I have always loved Trains---and have been travelling since babyhood in them----and believe me for me that is pure Magic!!!Sudhir too loved Train travel and together it became a large part of our life together-----for we always chose the Train over Air Travel----Trains mesmerised us!!Our first trip alone together was in December 1970---we'd been married for almost 3 months and I'd just discovered that I was pregnant with Lotta.My parents had suffered an Accident in which my father suffered Concussion and Bruising and my mother fractured her leg.This gave me the ideal excuse to go to Chandigarh---for I could hear the Siren call of my beloved Mountains in my heart----and both of us loved the Winter weather in the Plains.
Since this was decided on the spur of the moment Reservation was a bit dicey---but Sudhir with his ready smile and easy camaraderie wheedled out a reserved First Class Coupe for us from the Booking Clerk----and I packed our Bags and we set forth.As the Train drew out of the Bombay Central Station I began dancing to the rhythm that began building up as the Train gathered speed---and then evicted Sudhir from the Window seat----not willing to miss even an iota of the World sliding by!!Poor fellow---he too crowded me---equally eager to see the sights outside!!!Stations passed and the scenes outside changed---the Salty Marshes gave way to the Salt Pans---their sparkling White piles of Sea Salt catching the Sun like glittering Diamonds----the Lotus Ponds filled with Lotuses--Pink ,White,Blue----floating on the placid surfaces and most of all the tall Palm Trees---waving Coconut (Maad) and Ice Apple (Taad)Trees stretching endlessly along the route----with tiny earthenware pots slung high up in their Treetops--to catch the sap for producing Toddy and Arrack---the favourite hooch of the labourers!!There were many Orchards of Chickoo (Sapota)Trees as well as shady Mango Groves the branches of the Trees spreading into each other to form an almost impenetrable canopy overhead.It was a beautiful tranquil sight----the entire countryside seemed to be at peace with itself and the World!!!
As the Train crossed Maharashtra into Gujarat the landscape began changing.Vegetable Farms dotted with Fruit Trees began to emerge and large Mango Groves became more prevalent as we progressed further.We also crossed two of India's really massive Rivers Tapi and Narmada flowing into the Arabian Sea.I still love the loud clatter the Train makes as it passes over these two Bridges spanning their Deltas----what maybe a cacophony to others is Music to my ears!!Evening brought with it beautiful Sunset---the Sky on the Horizon was emblazoned with banners of hot Oranges and Reds that gradually gentled into Crimson and Deep Pink and softly turning into pastel Mauves and Violets blended into the growing Indigo darkness.As the Day began fading into Twilight the scene outside the window too changed.Tiny Hamlets turned into twinkling and sparkling bunches of Light--their tiny lamps flickering and dancing in the Darkness outside.Then tiny Stations consisting of a single small deserted Platform lit by a weak little Light bulb would slide past like shadows adding to the mystique.
The journey continued through the Dacoit infested States of Madhya Pradesh and Rajsthan during the night---always a tension ridden time!!!I was prepared for any untoward incident---carrying packets of Red Chilli Powder and Black Pepper Powder to ward off Intruders if needed----not to forget a sharp large Knife in my Hand Luggage----one never opened the Coupe/Compartment Door unprepared!!!Early morning brought with it Dawn in all it's Glory---ribbons of Gold and Rose drifted across the Sky as the Darkness faded from Indigo to a soft Mauve,then Violet.The Rosy glow kept brightening as suddenly the Golden Orb of the sun burst over the Horizon in all it's magnificent splendour---sprinkling the Day with it's warmth and SUnshine!!!The journey now was equally visually perfect----as we crossed into Uttar Pradesh early in the morning, stretching fields of Mustard made their appearance---the cheerful sight of those dancing Yellow Flowers is a sight to behold----stretching out as far as the eye can see---way into the Horizon!!!Throughout the route across Haryana and Punjab these Fields stayed with us----and the fact that my Mountains were coming closer had my heart dancing in joyous anticipation!!!!This Journey was perfect for us and remained a cherished Memory down all the years-----because it was the first time we just took the initiative to do something on our own!!!The only drawback of that Trip was that I forgot to pack the Toothpaste---we had to clean our teeth with a mixture of Salt and Pepper instead!!
Many a time Sudhir and I have fantasised about just stepping off the Train at a tiny little Station and just landing up at the local Inn or "Saraaye" if there is no Hotel there.We wanted to savour the flavour of India--the REAL one---eat it's Cuisine and revel in it's mystique---but somehow never got around to doing it.Another scheme was to travel the length and breadth of India on the Jammu Taawi Express---travel from the crown of India in the North to it's toes in the South---a journey that takes 8 days!!The plan was to catch the Train at Mumbai, travel to Jammu, carry on till Kanyakumari and then travel back up to Mumbai.One did not to step off the Train at any place---just take the round trip and travel up and down enjoying the numerous flavours of Incredible India!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    We share many interests, my friend.
My DH and I travel the US East coast by train. I love the stops in the small and big cities, much of our travel goes through New York City or Washington DC. The coastline in Rhode Island is so pretty. Such a way to get intimate with the area. You make me think about checking the schedule for an adventure!

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NITAINMN 5/18/2012 9:25PM

    Wow! My dream is to take a train ride past the black hills of S.D into California, one of these days! Sounds so beautiful. I too love train rides. I took them in India as a teenager on college trip and later once at night with my friends. The best part was when the train wen tover the sea when we could all see the bridge that Rama built! Your summary sounds so beautiful bringing the scenery to my mind's eyes.

emoticon emoticon

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PRACHI17 5/18/2012 2:00PM

    Did i tell you already that I love your blogs :), You have a knack for writing .. I tell my mom about you all the time , esp when she says she cannot start the computer .. at 45 she should be able to come online and interact with others to pass time :) [Not trying to age you at all with this statement by the way]

I love traveling , in any means or form but yes trains are the best .. i think the most trips have taken have been b/ w Kota and jaipur .. we use to wait for the sawai madhopur station and eat the famus dal ki badi :)

Thank you for bringingback all those memories :)

Comment edited on: 5/18/2012 2:00:50 PM

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BOVEY63 5/18/2012 1:59PM

    It sounds so beautiful. I have only taken one trip on a train and as we went through Glacier Park in Montana I was awestruck by its beauty.

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SAASHA17 5/18/2012 1:32PM

    Oh man...u just wrote what I feel everytime I go in the train:)

Nowadays I am so crunched for time when i go to India, I just fly...lol...
but remember doing a 12hr train journey every summer to go to Hyderabad from Vizag. the bridge over Godavari bridge, fresh fruit juice in Vijayawada station and Bread omelet in Rajahmundry station. if it was summer, fresh coconut water...oh man..I want to go back...hahaha..
thanks for reminding me of those journeys:)
take care

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