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.