Ooty, Toy Train, Rajesh Khanna and Girlish Dreams
I have always been fascinated by toy trains. I think the fascination has got a lot to do with Rajesh Khanna! I still remember him donning a black topi, a mustard blazer and singing Mere Sapno ki Rani and wooing Sharmila Tagore who sat by the window of a toy train acting all demure. Since then I have always wanted to take a toy train ride and sit in the window seat. Yeah…sitting by the window, holding a book and pretending to read it, a wisp of hair blowing across my eyes and I would brush it away with the same gesture Ms Tagore had used when she rode the toy train (Really!!) When you are about fifteenish you are free to dream incorrigibly unrealistic things, isn’t it? You know, things like wanting to go to moon for a weekend, bumping into Tom Cruise in street etc etc.
Anyways I am very much out of my teen years now. I don’t dream about going to moon to spend the weekend. But bumping into Mr Cruise in the street – I think I haven’t yet crossed this one off my list. A couple of months back one of my dreams turned into reality and that too in an unexpected way. All of a sudden my husband and his friends planned a trip to Ooty and I was to accompany them. Well, a trip to Ooty is never complete without taking the toy train ride, is it?
So one fine morning in August we were standing in the queue after booking our tickets (we did second class) waiting to board the toy train from Coonoor station. As the train chugged into the station the feeling of excitement fluttered through my stomach. We boarded the train without any fuss and once we left the Coonoor station I felt my heart doing zoobi doobi with the onrush of scenery—the fresh air, mountains, eucalyptus trees standing out sharply against the skyline, tea gardens and over all a sense of happiness swept over me.
So, here I was taking my dream ride with my hair severely tied in a band praying the wind does not blow my hair…huh! Fifteen years back it wasn’t what I dreamt of – remember the wind blowing the wisps of my hair and all!…donning an old jeans, a yellow cotton top and my favorite sneakers, sitting by a window seat holding my camera and enjoying the chatter around me. It was an amazing feeling to realize that yes, one of my travel dreams have come true and I was happy amidst my family and friends who were equally enthusiastic as I was. We were moving from one window to other to click the best possible shots, laughing out loud and occasionally taking break from snapping to enjoy the ride and munch chikkis and fruit halwa . And after the photography break all the cameras would again Click. Click. Click!
- When asking the locals about the toy train timings, simply drop the word ‘Toy’. For them it’s train, just train. Locals use it for their daily commute. So, ask “When does the train to Ooty leave from Coonoor station?” instead of asking “Toy train kab nikalti hay?