Train travel Mumbai to Baroda …down the years.

Off to Baroda or Vadodara as it is called now. By train. Alone. Remembering the umpteen times I have made the trip in my life. Such awesome memories. Earliest that I can remember is going in a day train with mom n my older brother, regular sleeper class with all our possessions around us, above and under the seat. Mom all prepared with meals and snacks and water so we don’t have to spend on extras. But I remember still making her buy random things! Quarreling with my brother to sit near the window, the cool breeze blowing my hair all over the place, making a vagabond of me as the train rattled along, singing it’s clackety clack song. So utterly romatic. We did not mind the heat or sweat or dust or that the seats were wooden and hard. It was just exciting to be on the train on our way for our annual summer getaway to Baroda. Dream of all the fun things we would do with our cousins, the games we’d play, the different things we would eat, no school, no studies, no timetable, a month away from our lives in Mumbai. Wow. As I write this, the memories come flooding back. Did not remember just how wonderful those days were. Then as we grew older , we went with all our books and stuff prepared to study. The train journey now moved to night time travel. We could not see or appreciate the scenery or beauty of the ccountryside, were caught up in our lives. Got to the train at night, the important part was getting the top berth in an AC compartment, curling up with a good book and dropping off to sleep with the clackity clack of the train. That sound was the connecting thread always. With circumstances improving, moved to first class compartments. So even more insulated. Earlier there was some connection with other passengers, listening to mon chatting with other travellers so easily about where from, where to and whatever else. Now it was just us, the constant being the bickering about who gets the top bunk. The trips were now more functional, to atttend weddings, funerals and the like. The childhood excitement had disappeared. Later still was the trip when I was to be married. Though both of us were Mumbai people, aa the extended families lived in Baroda, we had to go there along with all the paraphernalia for an elaborate & glorious wedding.
It was a train journey fraught with tension and excitement, again a trip at night in a first class compartment so that we had the space to ourselves with all our precious baggage .
The trips to Baroda became more infrequent, sometimes a year would go by without visiting. When we did it was by flight as that was quicker. Life was busy, could not waste precious time travelling by train!
One episode I remember very clearly. I decided to take my 3 children by day train to experience the magic of train travel. 3 kids age 11 ,4 & 3. We were going for a wedding so had a bunch of bags. Also had not given much thought to the logistics, it was a day train which paused at Baroda briefly. We had to get off within 5 minutes. It was a chair car, there would be others also waiting to get off. The trip was beautiful. However, as the time towards disembarking ticked closed, my heartbeat quickened. I hustled the young ones near the door. The station arrived. Tumbled out with everything. Then looked around. Why was the station so dark and empty? No one else appeared to be getting off. I turned towards the carriage, a man appeared. I asked why is it so dark in Baroda? He replied quite matter-of-factly…this is not Baroda, it is Viswamitri! Oh my goodness! What a scramble to get back on the train! We made it in the nick of time, though I have a feeling the guard was watching and waited for us! In the process, my daughter lost her slipper which fell under the tracks. Thank heavens that was the only price we paid for this crazy episode . After that, I decided that the kids had enough of exciting train travel. We went back to traveling by night train or flights as and when we went to Baroda
With Covid and the restrictions that it imposed on travel, it is easier to travel on a train . So here I am on a train again! It is so wonderful. An evening train, so comfortable, travelling in a chair car, alone. Reminiscing about earlier times. Met a couple of delightful children. So happy. Can just talk to them for a bit and that’s it . They are not my responsibility! Signed up with a young helper on thr train to take my bag off the train. And I am sorted!
Age does have its advantages. I am so glad to be doing this trip, truly, deeply grateful to the Almighty for this time. Enjoying writing this. If you have accompanied me along this journey so far, I appreciate the company. Do leave a comment. Maybe some episode it has reminded you of.


As I settle down
View over a bridge
One more

8 thoughts on “Train travel Mumbai to Baroda …down the years.

  1. Ismat what a nostalgic read,it reminds me of the times we kids were taken by my mum to Junagad for our summer vacations.The goodies mum would buy in Mumbai(we had to come from Poona to catch our train)for our cousins & aunt’s,the warm welcome in Junagad,the Barafgolawala & sleeping under the stars,all those memories came flooding back.What a broad smile this blog has brought on my face 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Travelling down memory lanes in a train. I remember doing a ‘Lala’ tour to Kashmir by train in school days with my school friends. And ‘Lala’ was so ‘enterprising’ that they had made sleepers of planks to be hooked in the middle to sleep two extra people. One on the lower row and one in the middle. And everybody had carry their own bedding. Do you remember the canvas bags for the small mattress?

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    1. Absolutely…I remember….! It was awesome.. I was in class 6 ..we had gone with Lala tours to Delhi for the 26th January parade. Stayed for a week on the train..just like you said . Middle plank. I was one of the middle plank kids! It was awesome. We had to bring our own plates n spoons etc , stand in a queue to get the steaming hot yummy delicious meals and wash up after ourselves. OMG…what a lovely memory! Thanks Shabnam for reviving that one!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sunday morning with such brilliant and picturesque description is just the perfect start to the day. I could relate and rekindle my train journey from Vadodara to Mumbai as a kid and not just that but so many other beautiful memories revived from the archives of my childhood. Thank you for a wonderful write up that has fed my soul 💖

    Like

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