We are delighted to announce Lakshmi Sharath as the second winner of our Holidays by Shatabdi contest. Here is her Shatabdi travel story:
Sitting in an air-conditioned coach of the Shatabdi Express and looking out through the window, I felt like I was living in an ivory tower watching the world go by. Yet the world outside seemed to be headed nowhere – two lone people bicycling their way in opposite directions in a vast open green field; a railway crossing where an assortment of vehicles are waiting for us to pass so that they can get on with their lives; two drongos surveying the scene.
After a montage of picket fences, vast open spaces, fields, dusty buildings, lakes and trees, the train pulled up at Jolarpettai for an unscheduled stop. The smell of cold vadai and upma wafted in as breakfast was served. The old and the young, the sleepy and the silent, the restless and the curious, the bored and the bores, all woke up suddenly to attack the cold food, not necessarily out of hunger, but just to fulfill the need to do something.
Somewhere nearby, a curious kid was belting out questions – idhu traina busa? namba eppo madras povam? Nee enna sapdre? (is this a train or a bus? when will we reach Madras? what are you eating?) I shut my mind and looked out, but the sun was shining right through. I drew the curtains, closed my eyes, put the phone on silent and tried to sleep or at least day dream. Another three hours to go to reach Madras.
Lakshmi Sharath is a columnist with The Metro Plus, The Hindu, and also an avid photographer. Her articles and photographs have been published in several popular publications and books, websites, newspapers, magazines and blogs. You can read her blog here.