Good Reads: Chandausi Junction-Yatra

Good Reads: Chandausi Junction-Yatra




Moradabad, 1953

The excitement in the home was palpable and understandably so. Both the sons had planned to take their parents and the entire family on a Yatra of Chaardhaam. Ashwini, the younger one, had come from Delhi with his wife and four children, and Prabhakar, the elder one, who lived with his parents in the ancestral house, was ready with his better half and their five kids. In all, a team of fifteen members was all set to leave the town for this Yatra.

They had planned to reach Delhi from where they would be going to Badrinath, Kedarnath, and then proceed to Puri, Rameshwaram, and finally Dwarka and then return to the town via Delhi again. All the kids were running around while the ladies were busy preparing food and packing luggage for the one-month journey.

As the D-day arrived, everything was ready- the holdalls (sleeping bags), the tokris (baskets), the suraahis, and what not. Ras Bihari, the domestic help was sent to fetch the rikshaws. As the luggage was loaded and the members were adjusted, all of them were super excited to take on their first extended family vacation.

The journey from Moradabad to Delhi was fun-filled with samosas, jalebis flowing in at Gajraula, Garh Mukteshwar, and in between the aloo ki sabzi with homemade poori and achaar. At Delhi, the family waited at the station and then boarded the train. It was here that the first tiff took place. It seems that the so-called sophisticated people of Delhi were not used to tolerating a contingent with so much luggage and so many family members.

As the family train rolled inside the train’s three-tier coach, people felt uncomfortable but were silent. It might have been their stiff upper lip attitude or maybe a tinge of jealousy, that while they were traveling for work or some official purpose, the others had come to enjoy the journey. However, one of the passengers commented to the other fellow traveler “In a poor country like India, how can people travel with so much material. It’s the height of capitalism. People should be banned from traveling with so much luggage and everyone should be made to travel light.”

The comment was just within the earshot of Prabhakar and Ashwini, …

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