I arrived at the station at Wankaner Junction early in the morning to find the booking hall filled with sleeping people but I don’t know if they were planning to travel, or if they were homeless.
At the ticket office I was invited in, but when I asked to book a return ticket to the town of Morbi which is about 16 miles distant, they looked astonished. “You should travel by bus,” they said, “its much quicker!”
“But I’ve come to travel by steam train,” I pleaded, so they sold me a single ticket…..”Just in case you decide to come back by bus!”
Whenever you travel by train in India you invariably meet some interesting people and this time I chatted to a man who was responsible for the distribution of fruit and vegetables. He spent a long time explaining why there were no apples in the local market, and then proceeded to write his name in my diary, in English, Gujarati and in Hindi.
I can remember noting that while we travelled the sound of music came drifting down the coach. It’s amazing how small things like that add flavour to your appreciation of a strange world. There were peacocks too. Rajasthani peacocks are renowned, but I hadn’t expected to see so many in the fields as we passed.
Standing, or sitting in the open doorway of a railway train is another experience not to be missed, and while doing this I was fortunate to see this train approaching on the other line and managed to snap it successfully. Seeing two steam trains passing one another on service trains is now only a memory.
When I came to purchase my return ticket at Morbi station it cost me half the fare that I paid on the outward leg.