Diversity Magnified

Posted on June 26, 2010 in Specials

Tanaya Singh:

17th May, 6 AM: New Delhi Railway station.

The early morning aroma of air in Delhi is always transcendental for someone who is in love with this city. I came in here at around 4:00am, and an auto ride from the bus stop to the station was a superb little trip. Without any traffic or the blazing sun, the city looked amazing. But because of the inevitable heat that would trammel the capital just a few hours after sunrise, I had decided to compromise my day out and spend it in the waiting room instead.

Now wee hours of the day are undoubtedly the cleanest hours given as a privilege to Delhi station. I was needlessly proud of my luck when I entered the upper class waiting room and found it barely occupied and exceptionally clean with lots of breathable air. I took a corner seat and spent the next two hours engrossed in my book while my earphones helped me cut out the sound of unceasing announcements. But the gift of oblivion is surely a fool’s desire in a waiting room. Soon after seven, the room had an endless swarm of passengers moving in and out. In less than half an hour we had each and every chair occupied and the only specks of visible floor left was acting as a gorge for people to move. Rest all had men, women, luggage, kids and food.

It was at this point when I realized the fact that I was sitting in a room which when observed intensely, was an encapsulation of the entire country. Sitting right in front of me was a huge family from Bengal with all its generations right from the grandmother to the toddler. At the right hand corner of the room I could see two girls from south engrossed in deep conversation in facile Tamil, while they combed their hair. Two dapper looking army men were standing beside the door, now and then helping people with their luggage. One of them was a Surdar ji from Punjab, and the other looked like he was from Assam. I had a kurta clad corpulent nawaab snoring beside me. Right at the centre of the room, a group of college students had turned this crowded place into a picnic spot for themselves, all of them sitting comfortably on their luggage captivated by their own stories, not even a bit concerned about the rest. This much and a lot more. A sweltering room on earth, which at this moment had 200 people huddled up together (it’s capacity being half of that), magnified the diversity of the country more than any other place could do. This was so much like a tour, a trip to all the places you hear about, a journey with talks, words and stories. This was a holiday. And when you are on a tour, you have got to have a mnemonic for recollections in the future. So I took out my diary and started building memories.

Here are the scraps from some ongoing discussions

Mr. Balagopal Rao (employee; IBM Bangalore):

“….yes, I think I have visited each and every tourist spot in south India. For the past two months I have been exploring the traveler within me. But if you talk of the place that has left an ageless image in my head, it will have to be Kovalam. This is one of the best places to go to when you are trying to escape the honks, the smoke, the clutter and the confusions. Situated 16kms from Trivandrum, the Kovalam beach is referred to as “the paradise of south’’.  Picturesque and alive, this place is the adobe of a multi million dollar tourism business.  The perfect white sand, warm breeze, coconut trees, excellent cuisine and divine beauty are all complemented by innumerable accommodation facilities here. It’s just the beach and the resorts that make this place more than complete in itself. The crescent shaped beach is divided into three parts: the southern most beach (lighthouse beach), the northern Samudra and the central beach; Hawah.  Snorkeling, surfing, swimming and fishing are some of the most famous activities here. It is more than heaven if you want to surrender yourself to nature.……..”

Tamanna Seth (student; Delhi): “……..it was the end of our exams and all we finally wanted to do was NOTHING. So we ended up going for a road trip to Kasauli. A look at that town makes you revert back to the eighteenth century. Kasauli has been able to keep the natural beauty of the place safe, hence making it one of the sought out destinations for peace lovers around the globe. It is a small cantonment town in the Solan district of Himachal Pradesh. Once we reached their, the car was dumped in a hotel, and we went out to explore the lovely chestnut laden tree trail. Our purpose was just one, to walk all the way through to serenity.  A walk to the Monkey point which is the highest point of Kasauli with a spectacular view of Chandigarh was truly memorable. With small halts, chats and tea, we trekked our way past the chestnut blossoms to Sanawar hill, past the Gilbert’s trial and down to Dharampur. We were guests to some humming birds, flycatchers and hyenas too. The town is a ‘must’ visit place if you are in Himachal…..”

Somnath De (Kolkata):

“…..and we are going to visit some relatives in Patna. After spending the past week in Darjeeling, the heat here is absolutely unbearable. Darjeeling is called the “queen of hill stations”. Ambiance of the world’s finest tea fields makes the hill appealing forever. The time we spent on the toy train was marveled by both my mother as well as my daughter.  Beauty of the exotic view from Tiger hill was something that could not be captured in   my camera. It is the highest point in the region and gives an amazing view of the Kanchenjunga peaks. We were lucky to have a clear day and the sight of the Mt. Everest was captivating. My brother went trekking to Sandakphu. It provides a view of four out of the five highest mountain peaks in the world – Everest, Makalu, Lhotse and Kanchenjunga. The Lloyd’s botanical garden was also a great experience…….”

Gayatri (Jaipur):

“……… {I’ve still got sand in my shoes…}….our train is five hours late. Phewwww….by the way, we are going to Goa; the smallest but surely coolest state of the country…..”


Announcement: “train no. _____ will shortly arrive on platform no.____”

And then it was time. I had to leave. For the first time I came out of the waiting room with the feeling of achievement. I had earned a holiday here, so this was surely a memorable jaunt.

image: http://www.indiamike.com/photopost/showphoto.php/photo/18593/size/big/cat//ppuser/19750