Maddie, Aditya and Poornima (in no particular order) have covered most of what happened during our weekend getaway to Madurai and Kodaikanal. In the interest of redundancy (avoiding it in my post and eliminating it from my codebase), I shall be brief.
The only reason we did not travel to Madurai via train is because we couldn’t get tickets. Luckily, this wasn’t the case for the return leg. We had Tatkal tickets in sleeper class (i.e. no AC – not that we needed it on this trip) thanks to Poornima’s mother willingness to go to the railway station while we were speeding towards Kodaikanal on Saturday.
We arrived at Madurai Junction at 7:15 PM, about a half hour before the train was due to leave the station. Luckily for us, Poornima’s house was only a few minutes away from the station and getting there was no problem at all. The train, running on Indian Standard Time(!), was about an hour late. After a brief scramble, we located our train car, seats and settled down for the journey.
Sadly, due to the very nature of Tatkal tickets (emergency tickets that are released 2 days before the train’s departure date), we could not travel together. Avia, Maddie, Madeleine and I were at one end of the car and Aditya was at the other end of the car. However, after dinner, Madeleine and I chose to keep Aditya company on his side upper bunk while Avia and Maddie settled down for the night.
This was a questionable decision, given that a standard bunk is designed for one person, and here we were, three reasonably sized adults all on one bunk, perhaps about to give an impromptu demonstration in shear stress induced mechanical failure to the rest of the passengers, perhaps at the expense of the poor fellow sitting below us. Happily, this did not happen and we chatted well into the night and stopped only when we were asked to leave by somewhat disgruntled sleepy passengers.
travelersThe next morning we woke up around 6. The train was supposed to pull into Bangalore City Junction around 6:40am. However, it seemed that the train had lost even more time overnight and was now about 2 hours behind schedule. However, it did mean that we got to drink in more of the rolling landscapes, crisp morning air and piping hot chai standing by the car doors.
The journey made me reminisce about my childhood summers, several of which involved multi-day journeys up and down the length of the country on board the Kerala Express. Time permitting, the train will forever be my preferred means of long-distance transportation. I find myself able to busy myself for hours on end just by peering at the scenes flitting past my field of vision, making up stories in my head about the people and places I see.
Oh and before I forget, I want to publicly acknowledge Poornima and her parents’ hospitality and planning in hosting, feeding and carting around her teammates in Madurai and Kodaikanal. #bestestteamlead
Also, here’s a video I put together in my own time one evening. It’s not much but I think it captures some of the adventures the iSTEP team has had so far in and around Bangalore.