Stranded

There are many quotes that describe home. “There is no place like home”and “Home is where the heart lives” are the best, but there are many more.

Being a blogger, I love to travel, and that is a common trait that most of us possess. I completed my engineering degree in 2013 (Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering), which does no good to me now, but my college life gave me lots of memories. Though based in Chennai, I studied in Ooty for 4 years (2009 – 2013), and it is really an adventurous place to be in. I lived in a small house in Ooty, and it did not cost me much, but there were many things that I learnt; most of them being life lessons.

Though I loved staying away from home and being independent (not with money, of course), there was always a slight excitement in getting home. There were many incidents that happened during each travel, and I remember the best, including my last travel home, when my college days were over. But, one of the most memorable incidents happened even before my college days started.
It was the first time I went to Ooty (also known as Ootacamund, or Udhagamadalam). I had already sought admission in an engineering college there, and I went with my dad to pay the admission fees. My college was located in a small town on the way to Ooty, and once we were done with paying the fees, it was time to get back home. There was a railway station near my college, and The Nilgiris is home to a famous mountain railway, which is also called the ‘Toy Train’ because it is small.
My dad suggested taking this train down the mountain, to reach Mettupalayam, from where we would take our train to Chennai. I agreed, and since he was a railway employee, we travelled in first class (which was pretty vacant). This Nilgiris Mountain Train used a diesel engine up to Coonoor (30% of the distance) after which it would be shifted to the old classic steam engine. The journey was fine, and I was clicking photos as we travelled down the mountain. Beautiful scenery along with the train’s chugging sound and the rack and pinion rocking motion synced perfectly for the situation. It was a 3 hour journey, but for us, it was destined to be longer.
While we reached almost 60 % of the distance, the steam engine stopped running. There was a crew aboard which tried to fix it, but after almost an hour, they gave up. The train had to be shunted to the workstation with a diesel engine. We were pretty much stranded in the middle of the forest, but luckily, the winding road route was quite parallel to the rail route, and it met at some points. The railway officials said that we had to walk through the jungle to take a bus, which would lead us to our destination. Some of them helped us with our luggage.
We began our walk along with the rest of the passengers, and my dad was already tensed. I blamed his ‘railways’ for this, and he supported them, as usual. But as we were walking, we came across a huge rail bridge. It was at least 30 metres in length, and we had to cross it to get through the road. There were many foreign tourists who came on the train, and our Indian passengers backed up and trembled, when they saw the bridge. Of course, it was scary. There was more than  a foot gap between the sleepers on the rails, and there were no railings on the sides. The bridge was in between a huge gorge that was at least 200 meters deep, and if someone falls, they would never survive.
But a bunch of foreigners happily walked over that bridge, and soon, others followed suit. A few railway workers also accompanied us, and they strictly warned us not to look deep down, but just concentrate on the sleepers. It took some 10 to 15 minutes to cross that bridge, and thankfully, every one of us reached the other end. My dad heaved a huge sigh of relief and we boarded the bus to reach the Mettupalayam station, just a few minutes ahead of the train’s departure.
But almost every time I travelled down the mountain, I used to take this train. I have never had an experience like this again, but there are many more, which I can write a book about. I have had many adventures, and needless to say, I love every bit of them. But, yes, we need a home that we all have to return to.


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About Kemmy Jose

Blogger who loves to write, eat, and sleep. This is my personal blog, but I also run a couple of websites.
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