We are delighted to announce Padmapriya Baskaran as the fourth winner of our Holidays by Shatabdi contest. Here is her Shatabdi travel story:
Chennai Central, 5.30 am. It always amazed me how life turned to fast forward mode in a railway station no matter what the time. I moved through the crowds, asking my sleepy kids to hurry up as we went to board the Shatabdi Express to Bangalore. We were off to visit my husband who was working in Bangalore at the time.
Soon we were at our compartment. We patiently waited outside while an elderly gentleman tried to check the charts by sticking out his torso from within the train, oblivious to the fact that he was blocking the way. Convinced that he had the right seats, he went in to share the good news with his wife. We got in and found our seats. The children wriggled to find a comfortable position and went straight to sleep. They probably would not stir until breakfast time. I sat back and took a deep breath. It was always interesting to watch people from different walks of life when you have nothing else to do. The old man waking up his son to check if he had closed the valve of the gas cylinder; the young man with ruffled hair and crumpled T-shirt who looked as if he had just got out of bed; the couple with a small child and loads of luggage; a group of people discussing a wedding loudly.
Soon the train started moving. The familiar sights were whizzing past my window, trees and electric poles running backwards in a mindless marathon, people at level crossings, trying to maneuver their vehicles under the barrier, construction workers working on track widening. Journeys and destinations change, but the sights remain the same. Looking forward to the weekend ahead, I sank back into my seat, and started reading my book.
Padmapriya works for a diplomatic organization in Chennai. She loves to travel and has a two-and-a-half-year old blog Aalayam Kanden, which takes us on a journey through the ancient, lesser-known heritage sites in India.