13 September 2006

EIGHT RUPEE PLEASURE

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My jeans are tearing off, my shoes have holes in them. There are holes, please believe me, there is one hole, not in this one but in the other one which you don't see here. Jeans are dirty, wearing the same for the fifth day. Its very hard for me to throw the jeans away which fit me so well and traveled with me for so long. Same for the shoes. I can buy a new pair but it takes long to feel comfortable in them and I don't like wearing new jeans.

I am in a train and I am sitting by the door, the train was crowded and I wanted to take pictures of the breath taking journey.
Yes it costs eight rupees, less than 20 cents ?? three hours of sheer ecstasy and I love the company of villagers.


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I have posted the pictures of the most romantic railway stations in Blunt knife
The journey is from Punalur to Sencottai and back. It was raining when I left. I have already written about it some months ago in Blunt knife. I took an early morning train from Sencottai then and it was pretty dark. This is my second visit this year
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This picture could be misleading. The train goes pretty slow, not much speed, good for me. Here the train is entering a tunnel, only a few of them. It was pretty safe to sit by the door and lean out of the train and take pictures. I did not take any kind of risk. I just had to watch out for approaching rocks.


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Last thing I wanted was rain. And it rained, had to pack the camera back in to the bag. No space to move inside, the train was packed.

This is me. I asked one villager to take my picture who probably is touching a camera for the first time in his life. When I saw the picture I was very jealous. A man who doesn't know where to click can take such a clear and well composed picture. This is one of my best. I don't look this good in person. I showed him the picture, he was very happy.

I was listening to Simple Minds.
This a gift from my friend Krishna. Its a very good MP3 Player can store about 500 songs. 1GB.


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The train is coming out of a tunnel.

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This perhaps is one of the most beautiful bridges of south India. Shot the same bridge while coming back


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Sweet Smiles, Here a couple of old ladies came out of the house to watch the train just like children. I would do the same. I'll sit there for the whole day and count the trains passing by. It looks like the train is passing through their back yard. Lucky people.

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All the pictures are taken single handed as one hand was engaged in holding the bar.


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One chap was holding my collar the other one had his fingers through the belt loop of my jeans.
Don't worry sir we are holding you tight. But they were holding me a bit too tight, I was afraid all three of us could fall out of the train. Oh ! these villagers are so helpful. sweet gentle folk, who risk their life to make me secure.

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Last time I took an early morning train and it was pretty dark. I had to brighten the pictures and it was raining cats and dogs.


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Had a tough time selecting the pictures, I mean tough time rejecting the pictures.


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The sun was playing hide and seek. suddenly it turned very dark.


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I was slapped on my face by an approaching banana leaf. I turned my other cheek but the banana leaf was hundred feet away in a second.

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This is where I jumped to the other train. My destination was one station away but I had to wait for nearly 3 hours for the next train. I saw the station master waving the flag. The train was about to start. I rushed to him and asked for a return ticket. He dropped the flags came to the office and issued me a ticket. Eight rupees again. Usually it is a one man show. No other staff in the stations. I saved three hours of waiting. Sweet guy he was.


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Please don't be scared by this picture. This is not the usual situation here. Only Tirunelveli bound trains are crowded and it was a sunday. Trains that terminate in Sencottai usually run almost empty. Last time I was a lone passenger in my coach


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Please click here to see the most romantic railway stations on this route
BLUNT KNIFE
WILDPIC

62 comments:

ufukhati said...

Rauf,

A journey to remember.

wildpic said...

wow ... wow .. am barking, once in a while i get reminded that am a dog, what cool pics rauf ... the action pictures are so awesome, it simply draws one in. the first timers camera shot makes me jelous too, brilliant. beginnersluck !!!

so as usual you got you big buzz cheap, 8 rupees ... thats cool. so whendid u get back ? who all did u meet ? will chat up soon ... me been busy with work n stuff ...

take care rauf ...

ruth said...

Sometimes I got queasy leaning out over a gorge or bridge -- or rock walls. Scary! I envy you your carefree life to pick up and take a journey like this, and so cheaply. I love the photo of you -- so perfect. Now that chap is thinking of a new career. Glad you're back safe and sound.

Rauf said...

Yes breath taking it is, Ufukhati
Second time in a year, been there before, some 20 years ago.

Rauf said...

The guy was a Tamilian Suresh going to Tenkasi, in his 50's perhaps. Took the camera from me, and said is this the button I have to press ? I said yes. I think he was watching me taking pictures. I was really surprised when I saw the picture. Well composed, no confusion. Lot od ticketless travelers there.

Sencotta to quilon is 19 rupees, I took the early morning 5.30 train last time. This time i stayed in punalur and thought i could go to sencotta and get back. 8 rupees one way. but the auto guy fleeced me as it was raining, took 20 rupees from the station to the hotel hardly one kilometer.

Rauf said...

I did not take any risk Ruth, it is a meter guage mountain railway line and the trains don't go fast. Downhill journey is much slower. There are some deep gorges, I was holding on to the bar very tight not giving any chance for any drunk to fall on me the way it happened at the Alleppy boat race where I had no option but to jump into water. My MP3 player was going on rounds as they wanted to know what it is. they thaought it is a cell phone. they did no like the music, one chap said it is intolerable noise. So I got back the mp3 player pretty fast. They became friendly.

ari4u said...

Excellent pictures Rauf. I loved them all. I can already imagine myself there. The picture over the bridge overlooking the valley felt so real that it gave me acrophobia. Also love the picture of the bridge. Im so envy you and your spur of the moment adventures. Here, one simply cannot travel in a train or a bus with an open door.

I thought you would never post your picture on your blog, so i was planning to post it on mine, but you did anyway :). Very nice picture. You look like you have lost some weight, but you do look fresh and healthy.

Take care of yourself.

ari4u said...

Oh and the picture in the header is awesome. Good job tweaking your template.

sandy said...

I feel like I just took a trip on that train with you. Your pictures and words bring it to life.

sandy said...

can I link to your blog?

Rauf said...

This is the right time to go there Aamir. The place looks completely different from Feb to May. I was very disappointed once when I took my friends by the same train. Not a trace of green. People are very nice and helping. I stayed at Tenmalai once and wrote about my experience there, funny story, its in Blunt knife, posted Railway station pictures yesterday

http://5roblane.blogspot.com/2005_11_01_5roblane_archive.html

Rauf said...

Thank you Sandy, yes I'd be too glad, I'll add your link as well in both my blogs. Always happy to meet people who love and care for animals Sandy

Chinna said...

i noticed the little ledge built into the bridges. i think they are for people to take refuge when
the train catches up with them as they are walking on the line.
i think the guy shot a good pic of you because you put him at ease.

Ezee123 said...

This is a journey to heaven and back.
Very beautifully documented.
For me the photogrpahs of the

---"travelling jeans"( Photo 1 )

--- "Miss Shy Smiles " ( Photo 8)

--- "Humanity between two trains " ( [photo 25)

-- " India's Green movement" ( Photo 31 )

stand out as different and spectacular for their simplicity and breathtaking ability to convey the story.

Great job done. And the narrator has a solo appearance as well. ;-)

Lovely. Simply beautiful.

Rauf said...

Chinna, In his younger days my father was crossing a railway bridge over a river near Cananoor, saw a train coming, he jumped into the river.

Gangadhar said...

Oh my what a pleasant feast to my eyes..loved all the pics,Rauf..
And it just terrified me by seeing the valley from the bridge..
It's great to see your pic for the first time,Rauf..Thnks for sharing it..Thanks to the villager!!

Rauf said...

Thanks so much for the patience to wait till the page loaded EZEE123.
Some times I regret posting too many pictures. Went to Aranmula last week, with the idea of going to Punalur I took a room in Pattinamthitta. Good room near the bus stand for 130 rupees. I'll post Aranmula pictures next. I did not wait for the whole procession to finish as I was afraid I may not be ably to get into a bus. reached Pattinamthitta, checked out of the room and went to Punalur, 150 rupees for room clean and comfortable. Next day took this journey. Half an hour of heavy rain then bright sunshine. It rained again on my way back.
Hope things are going well in Ernakulam, my return ticket was from Ernakulam had just enough time to hop into the train.

Rauf said...

EZEE123 This is how I went
Madras-Alleppy, took a boat to Chenganacherry took a bus to Kozhencherry-Pattinamthitta.

Rauf said...

Thank you Gangadhar. I have sent my picture to most of my blog friends. I have never asked any one to take my picture. I have removed the webcam as it tells a horror story. This time felt like having my picture taken. Did the same 28 years ago, while listening to newly introduced walkman sitting by the door of coromandel express. That was some speed. Now they have reduced the speed. I asked a co passenger to take my picture. I had a Pentax. He asked too many questions, perhaps a scientist. The picture was completely out of focus and my head was cut off. It was a slide film.

ari4u said...

Ahh.. so this is the trick. Music + sittng at the door of a moving train = you having your picture taken :-)

Rauf said...

oh yea You got it Aamir !

Cindy said...

you make it feel like we are right there on the trip with you but I wanted off that train when I saw that high bridge on the edge of the hill.
I like that you included a picture of yourself, too.

Rauf said...

Thank you Cindy, Those are plain words, There are many more such romantic journeys in India. Hope to take you and my blog friends along, most of them are chaotic but filled with fun. Depends on the attitude. I can make the same journey into a nightmare as I had no place sit. But that was not a problem for me. Lot of activity in an Indian Railway coach, you'll hate it or love it. India is a land of extremes Cindy

Gangadhar said...

lolz @ your experiences with the scientist aka copassenger..I don't know why a villager excells better than this so callled scientist! Perhaps we can tell better to a person with no-knowledge rather than to one with half-knowledge..

Rauf said...

Gangadhar, the guy was looking like a scientist. I focused his distance made all the settings and told him that he just has to click. He started asking questions, when I answered them he kept saying I know I know that

theoldfart said...

what beautiful pictures. I miss being able to travel by train. Also here in this country, people are not allowed to stand in the doorway to take pictures or view the scenery. What rail travel that is available here in Canada is so expensive, the ordinary folks cannot afford it. The Government has made it only available for the people with lots of money. The tourists from away are more important than the local folks.

Thanks for sharing the pictures

Bill

Imemine said...

I can see you are not a vain person. And you look older than I thought. Maybe it's the white hair. Usually I imagine you looking like my brother, who looks a bit Indian. I have a collegue who has completely white hair and is only 53; he looks good with it.
Beautiful places and pictures! This is what I really expected. Thank you so much for sharing your pictures to all of us.
Indeed the station is the most romantic in the world.

Rauf said...

I can understand TOF judging by your passion for trains. Fortunately a comfortable train travel of 1000 kilometers costs less than 10 dollars here in India.
I am crazy about train too. I don't miss any movie featuring trains, your trans canadian railway is most breathtaking. I have seen it in movies like 'Narrow Margin' Gene Hackman. Silver streak was my favourite. I know the ticket costs more than air travel. Indian railways is the largest railway network in the world, but not very efficient. Only a few prestigeous trains run on time. Great deal of misuse by people and lot of ticketless travel makes it difficult to run. Thoughtless People pull the chain and stop the trains at their villages, causing long delays. Very funny situations. Depends on your attitude how you take it. It can be fun or a nightmare. You have to be very careful with your baggage. It can be easily stolen. To counter that, small chains with lock and key are available at the staions or in the trains. Loops are provided under the seats to chain your baggage and lock it.
India is a chaotic and a funny country TOF. It is difficult to maintain good humour all the time while traveling.

Rauf said...

Oh I forgot TOF ! Here also foreign travelers with dollars are given priorities. Good for you if you come to India. You can very easily get reservations in the busiest and superfast trains if you pay in dollars travelers cheques or with credit cards, you don't have to wait. We have to stand in long queues. Now you can book your ticket on the net. I belong to a low income group I can tell you TOF, still I find it very cheap.

Rauf said...

Imemine, I have been sending my pictures to those blog friends who wanted to see what I look like.
While traveling I read faces too.
We all make judgements Imemine, and I don't think there's anything wrong with it. Faces look different under different lighting conditions. I love taking portraits. I look pretty serious in the picture. I am not serious at all. I keep talking nonsense and keep pulling legs all the time.
Happiest in the company of children.

QuillDancer said...

Rauf, your pictures are beautiful and so is your country. Following your blog has done wonders for my geography education.

Rauf said...

Hi QD I voted for you at the Brawl caption contest, Owee there is one more system at home I'll vote from that too. completely forgot. So much fun in your page QD. I'll try to post different cultures of India, next I am posting Aranmula traditional and ritualistic boat race something very different from Alleppy boat race I posted last month.

Lord Boo said...

such lovely pics, Poms ! made me miss home so much :( want to travel in those trains again. Here, trains are sealed- doors and windows. No monkey business here ! loved the template. the silhouette of the tree, and also the "seventh soujourn" color shades. so gorgeous ! *hugs*

Don Iannone said...

Rauf...lovely photos and story. You have such a wonderful way of capturing life in image and word. Thank you ever so much. Blessings to you. Don

theoldfart said...

Hi Rauf

Thanks for stopping by my other blogs. I totally enjoy the Carry On Films. I prefer the Early films. Carry On Cabby being my all time favorite. Glad you stopped by my blog for my Dad and his Train Pictures. Now that I am home from my holidays I can make some more posts for his trains. I have so many pictures that he took.

Talk to you soon.

Bill

Rauf said...

Aree piyaari ghodee boo ! we can't seal the windows here, people would keep spitting on the glass. All the glass windows would have red tint with paan spitting. years ago a friend of mine asked me to show him a pole on the road without choona, I found choona even on the traffic signal post opposite spencers in the middle of the road. The traffic cop was spitting there.
ummmmmmmmmmmmmma and hugs reee meri piyaari boo, take care of yourself.

Rauf said...

Thank you Don, I enjoy living in a less developed countryside

Rauf said...

Bill, I have not missed any of the carry ons, yes some later ones were not so good done with bad taste. All the black and whites were terrific. Do you remember Norman Wisdom ?

It would be great to see post on your Dad's trains Bill, I'll keep checking. Thank you so much. I am crazy about trains. Hope one day you have a chaotic experience of Indian trains, lot of fun here.

samuru999 said...

How very beautiful!
Thank you so very much for it!
all of it... your words,and the pics made my heart glad!

Joy and blessings to you always!

-Margie

Rauf said...

Thank you Margie, there are a few more of such journeys I have to cover. Not much strngth left, your words give me the strength to go there again.

Suji said...

Wow Rauf. Wonderful pics. These pics mean a lot to me. Many nostalic memories. My mom's place is along the Quilon-Sencottai line. When I was a kid I used to sit on a swing and wave at all the trains that went by. Though, our house was some distance away from the railway line as there were some paddy fields between our house and the railway line. Thanx a lot for sharing them.

Rauf said...

Suji, I've gone beyond Punalur last time I visited, This time I took a bus to Kollam as I was in a rush. I have posted Punalur -Quilon pictures somewhere I couldn't find the post, I'll post them again in Blunt Knife, when I locate the pictures, I did not post most of them as it was raining and there were rain drops on the lens. I am very allergic to wisdom and intelligence, I take pictures in pouring rain. I love rains in Kerala, rains started early this year when I went to Gurvayur for my friends Nirmal and Sindu's wedding. visited 5 times after that. Just love the place, I try to give an honest account of my visits, at times it may be a bit unpleasant. Sorry for that.
You've got a very sweet blog yourself Suji. thank you so much.

Suji said...

I love Kerala too. Though I have never travelled much. Hope I will some day. Please keep giving ur honest accounts...you don't ve to be sorry for that.
Thanx for dropping by my blog and for your sweet comments. I am adding you to my links. I am sure you don't mind. :) And ofcourse you can add me.

Rauf said...

Too glad Suji, I'll add yours today, I'll inform you when I post Punalur Quilon pictures, I have located them.

e2d said...

All this for eight rupees!!Amazing!
Loved yr jeans Rauf...I have a similar pair.Old and comfortable.
The bridge is awesome!

Patty said...

wonderfully brilliant photos, Rauf!!! Loved this post! Great portrait of yourself! Have you ever seen anyone fall off the trains or known of anyone who has fallen off the bridges into the street or valley below? Even though it's going slow, accidents happen, don't they?

Suji said...

Thank your Rauf. Waiting eagerly for them. Take care.

Rauf said...

Jeans are good for one more travel e2dees, I am too old to wear torn jeans, I used to wear them at madras but definitely not in kerala
From Sencotta the bridge comes just before Tenmala station.

Rauf said...

Patty, In Bombay suburban train there have been lmany deaths, there is some accident every day due to over crowding, people hang out of the trains. On this route I have not heard of any deaths. There are quite a few train journeys like this in India, Hope to travel there soon.
Lots of love and Hugs Patty.

Rauf said...

I'll post them today Suji, its 12.30 midnight already, The whole day my system refused to boot, I kept telling the technicians that the problem lies in restart button but they did not pay attention, everything else was checked and replaced. finally they located the problem with restart circuit.

intelligentwins said...

raufji i had already seen these excelent pictures of urs..to be frank they were the inspiration 4 me to shoot shengottai..
keep taking scintiallting pictures like this..ill post soemmore pics after visiting some nearby places here..err do u know that im put up in chengottai these days?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the awesome trip Rauf! May you have many more! Thanks for sharing!

Rauf said...

Neeru Sorry, I did not notice your comment, You must be enjoying living in the same area, plenty places to be explored. I have seen very little of the area. When I go next time I'll stay in sencottai for a few days.

Rauf said...

Thank you so much Magiceye, the train ride is magical. Best time is during and after the monsoon. Now, January to June will be very dry. This is a metre guage line. There is broad guage till Tenkasi.
Chennai - Tenkasi - Sencottai (next station)- Punalur - Quilon.

Anonymous said...

rauf...may i add your link to my blog?

Anonymous said...

so i am glad i saw this post today. quite an enjoyable write up!

loved reading it.

Rauf said...

Thank you magicEYE I have already added yours on both my pages

Rauf said...

thanks Mystic Rose, please take your family on this train when you come to india next.

emptyquarter said...

Rauf.. Great Pics. Bring in more of them. I still remember the trip I made long ago to Tenkasi from Punalur. The gigantic rocks and hills among the forest were a great visual feast. I am sure you would have pictures of them. When I made my trip it was jack fruit season in Kerala. The women who were going to Tenkasi to smuggle rice to Kerala were taking jack fruits to trade in Tenkasi. There were some towers constructed in rocks by the British at the Punalur railway station. They had the emblem of the empire engraved on them. Interestingly even after the independence they were left untouched. I do not know if they are still there. Did you take a walk on the hanging bridge of Punalur ? Good luck with your travels.

Rauf said...

Your quarter doesn't look empty at all.

I was disappointed once traveling in the same sector in the month of March. Its always a great pleasure to be there during or right after the monsoon. I have written a story about Thenmala in my other blog 'Blunt Knife' Been going to Punalur of and on, I think I have been to the hanging bridge but not recently. Yes I remember those days when rice was being smuggled into kerala and cops used to walk in to the compartments and check all the bags. Very strange if you think of it now.
Thank you so much for your visit EQ

easwara chander said...

Love your pics...I really like your eye for detail and your portrayala of the less known yet beautiful. I am saving your blog and would keep checking on it.

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