This evening...

The blogger's block had struck me for the last couple of days. Today in particular, I was in a surly mood. To top it all, it was bright and sunny... rainy days atleast let you savour a bad mood :| Stuck with nothing to do in a city with absolutely nothing to be done, life wasn't quite fun and excitement.

I had only my three loves to turn to... who nowadays work in shifts ;) One of them at night, one of them for most part of the day, and the third comes to me now and then. I mean, music at night, computers (and linux) during the day. The third beckoned - the rails. I decided to take a walk to do a bit of railfanning, and in the process, think of a topic to blog about. Thus began the evening... and you'll either love this post, or feel bored(which is the case if you 'skim' over the post) and think I'm a nut. Either way, I don't give a damn :)

A quick evening bath and a shave were refreshing. Putting on my favourite jeans and a tee (that hadn't seen daylight for a long time), I set out. All I had was a ball-point refill in my pocket. Time was 1740 hrs...er okay, 5:40 pm :D I rounded the curve from my house to the mainroad and started walking, towards Eastfort. Road-widening works on one side of the road meant that one side of the road resembled a desert (with particular reference to sand-dunes), and that the snarling traffic always chooses to take this particular road. Implying --> continuous risk to life :\ Hardly had I walked a few steps when I was greeted with a hiss of airbrakes and a loud honking, putting me wise that it was just a few inches that had saved one Mr. Sriram from having become the late Mr. Sriram. I continued walking...

South Fort... with its numerous little houses. A small girl trying to master her bicycle. At the end of a particularly daunting turn, she falls. Her friends, ahead of her, turn at the noise, giggle and go back to help. A couple of old women sitting on their perches - stone steps that go up to their houses - chat idly. 'Rajdhani buildings'... a long line of jewellery shops greets me as I turn left. I have always wondered why the people construct their shops right next to another one which deals in the same articles. Altogether, there are some twenty jewellery shops in some hundred metres. The very refreshing breeze on this stretch is a plus point to the pedestrian movement on this road, apart from the shops.

East Fort... The bus stand. I have been through this thing almost every alternate day one year ago. Long line of passengers waiting for their buses amidst a continuously moving stream of would-be passengers walking to their respective buses, while hawkers peddle a variety of items like magazines, peanuts, mobile-phone covers, and the poor owner of the makeshift umbrella-repair facility or the watch-service one goes about his livelihood. The whole affair takes place in a concrete shelter perpetually reeking of foul bus-exhaust and occasionally, of pee.

I walked up the perpetually busy road leading to the bridge which passes over the north-bound railway tracks from Trivandrum Central, and is obviously named "Overbridge". A huge stream of humanity was trickling in and out of Big Bazaar, one of the few shopping malls (if it can be called so) in the city. The road climbed up and up, till it levelled out over the tracks. I paused and had a good look at the station. Electrification had taken its toll and there were only a couple of diesels to be seen. A right turn takes me along the road to Thampanoor, parallel to the tracks at the station. Under the shade of huge, leafy trees sits an occasional beggar, who manages to earn out some coins from the many pedestrains who walk along the footpath. Casting a few glances at the movie posters that adorned the wall (which hid my view of the station yard) and a couple of furtive glances at a few sleazy ones, while the electric locos hum inside the tiny tripshed, the occasional "phisssshhhh" of air-brakes sounding, walking down the gradient to the main entrance of the station is literally a breeze.

The only diesels visible at the northbound end were WDM2A #18332 from ERS and TNP's WDM7 #11001(which is now the regular shunter). Erode's 22558 was moving to the trip shed while 22670 waited at the helm of the Malabar Express. The surprise visitor was a blue-liveried WAG7 #27355 from Tughlaqabad!

Moving down the road, a guy was painting a picture of Ganapati and the Shiva-Parvathi duo, maybe in view of the coming festival concerning the former. A good amount of the junta were trickling out the station exits, carrying bags, looking worried for apparently no reason at all, talking into their phones and waiting to hail an auto. An army truck was waiting with a few civilians (or people clothed like civilians) inside it. The road, now having passed in front of the station, climbs up again to pass over the southbound track in the form of another bridge near the place called Chenthittai. The evening breeze feels awesome here, and this flyover is not as congested as Overbridge. A few people from the nearby houses were standing in the evening light and watching the activity below. The regular shunter WDS6 #36011 (from GOC shed) was smoking up and shunting three coaches. WAP4 #22357 was lurking behind some rake at platform 1.

After some time I went back the way I came, back to Overbridge and arrived just in time to see the MAQ express go thundering under the bridge. Another train (this time of the evening sees pretty heavy traffic in and out of TVC) was waiting at the outer signal, so I went down the road, this time towards Vanchiyoor. A man and his little boy were also looking down, watching the train come in. Erode WAP4 #22527 brought in the Sabari Exp. from HYB.

It was dark already and I took the long road that stretches right alongside the track before it crosses over it in yet another bridge. The sun was down and the sky looked beautiful. The breeze hadn't ceased and birds were making their way back to their nests. Crickets began their high-pitched din from the tracks nearby. Sparrows chirped from the trees in the houses along the road. It was another one of those beautiful moments when one feels that the world isn't so bad after all and that the best things in life are indeed free. In the fading light, the mullah's call from some mosque far away and some song from the nearby temple floated about in the breeze.

I had made up my mind.

An hour out in the evening.. some five or six kilometres... and still no blog-topic? I couldn't be more mistaken.


Maverick! said...

heeh. . appo angane enjoyed 2day evening alle?:D
and well by around 5 40 or so njanum aa area ill okke thanne ondayirunnu. . inside ayappas!:D
avide kore "colors" ondayirunnu, i mean inside ayappas!;)
anyways good work dude(as usual)!

Sriram said...

@maverick: yeah man... korey karangi nadannu.. saw some colours too!

Maverick! said...

@sriram - dae visit my blog too. . vallom comentuUU. . hehe!

n i t i n said...

dey....Go to school....sit in front of our good old canteen for five minutes. I guarantee you a hit inspiration.

oho..nowadays you DO get out of your HOUSE!! wo! kaakaes thalathirinju paranno???

Sriram said...

@maverick: done :|

@nitin: really man.. I miss school soooo much that 70% of my dreams happen there :(

.nowadays you DO get out of your HOUSE!! yeah man.. I was f!ckin surprised at myself! Ah.. sadly the kakaes chose to fly the usual way :(

Blogger Bug said...

"it was another one of those beautiful moments when one feels that the world isn't so bad after all and that the best things in life are indeed free..."

have i read this anywhere else :D
but it was refreshing...by the way how do you know so much about trains..?

Blogger Bug said...

and i have blog rolled you :)

Sidhusaaheb said...

Thanks for virtually taking me and all your other readers along on a walk!


BTW, does a fort still stand there, actually?

ray said...

Hi ,

I was reading ur blog posts and found some of them to be very good.. u write well.. Why don't you popularize it more.. ur posts on ur blog ‘Something to chew on...’ took my particular attention as some of them are interesting topics of mine too;

BTW I help out some ex-IIMA guys who with another batch mate run www.rambhai.com where you can post links to your most loved blog-posts. Rambhai was the chaiwala at IIMA and it is a site where users can themselves share links to blog posts etc and other can find and vote on them. The best make it to the homepage!

This way you can reach out to rambhai readers some of whom could become your ardent fans.. who knows.. :)


Sriram said...

@Bbug: have i read this anywhere else :D I don't think so.. if you should see, please tell me!

If you wanna know more about trains(and stuff like what WAP4, WDG3A etc mean), head to www.irfca.org. Check out the FAQ there.

@sidhusaaheb: Yeah, forts(not as big as the ones in other parts of the country) do stand there, in fully restored condition. But they aren't battlements, merely ornamental arches which serve as gateways to the hour entrances of the Padmanabhaswami temple here.

@ray: Thanks.. will check it out

Hari said...

Awesome narrative! Till date, I'd considered your posts on the 'international' trip as your best ones till date... But this one... it's goanna be a serious contender now!

(Apart from the rant on the trains and all, of course. :D)

And man, you should've opted for Mechanical Engineering! Seriously dude... with all your passion for trains, I seriously think you should, instead of all the crap Electronics you're goanna follow!

Btw, the next time you go for a walk, tug your camera along and put up some pics here! Do a photoessay. Well-framed pics coupled with a taut narrative/description might turn out magnificent!

To cut a long story short...

Sriram said...

@hari: I LOVED THIS POST! :-) Thank you so much :) Feedback keeps the spark sparking!

Merlz said...

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!

You are narration is improving with every post yaar. Good show. :)
I could just picture you taking that walk.

P.S. I ignored para 7. :D

Sriram said...

@merlz: Thanks... and it's good that you chose to skip para 7. Those not acquainted can do without it, ye know!

Macabreday said...

the "overbridge" - u remember the time when it was narrow? when i was in school. i remember there wa sno bus stop there and so i used to wait until the bus neared the bridge and slowed down, and then i used to jump inside. quite risky, but the other option was walking down to east fort or maybe up to ayurveda college.
i do miss TVM... sometimes

silverine said...

Whatay beautiful post! You have the habit of wandering like me. And I envy you, the privilege of watching those engines being shunted around!! This was good! :)

p.s got your message :) Will be more regular Sir!!

Vrij said...

Good post boss.. good to see a p4 on the Sabari and sorry for not being regular these days.. been a bit busy of late..

btw.. how about a post that wud give info to ppl who want to migrate to linux.. like the linux equivalents of the common softwares that are used on windows, both basic and advanced sw. That wud help me too ;)

Sriram said...

@silverine: thanks a lot for dropping back in :)

@vrij: like the linux equivalents of the common softwares that are used on windows --> Well, I'm sure I've seen something like that on the web, and I'll give you the link. If I can't find it, I'll do a post on it. :)

Sriram said...

@mac: hm.. yeah I remember the time it was being rebuilt. Even now there isn't an official stop, but the hop-on, hop-off still exists at the risk of passenger-safety.

Sriram said...

@ vrij: Here are some links to pages which list Windows programs and linux alternatives. (Keep in mind that many of the alternatives are cross-platform, so they can also be used in Windows)

1. http://linuxappfinder.com/alternatives A HUGE list of equivalents.
2. http://proc.linux.cz/ekvivalenty.html This one is in Czech, but you can easily figure out what application groups these are by looking at second (windows) columns.
3. http://www.linuxalt.com/ A few main programs listed here.

Hope this kinda caters to your query.

Rahul said...

hehe....good but vaayichu theerkan oru aayussu edukkum!!!

Sriram said...

@rahul: Maybe.. but I really cant force myself to use the delete button :D
Mottham vayichillannu parayunnillengilum I can understand!

Vrij said...

Thanx for the links buddy.. u've taken me another step closer to ubuntu!

Sriram said...

@vrij: YOu're welcome, doc!

Niranjani said...

that snap of the twilight was truly amazing..can find a professional touch in it.

Sriram said...

@niranjani: Thanks dear sis... I always knew you liked nature photography. By the way, this was shot on the eve of my Singapore trip :)