Journey? Journey.

Joruney? J-O-U-R-N-E-Y.

Yes, I lied. I lied when I was 5, I lied when I was 7 and I lied when I was 10. I lied about

being in love with the 60-hour train journey, I lied about my cravings for the gloppy

glumps of the not so hot tomato sou p served with burnt flaky breadsticks, and I lied about 1

knowing which place I considered home; the North or the South. I lied because I despised

being considered indifferent or an outlier. As a child, my naïve mind believed that my fibs

were my ticket to take part during our long sessions of hide and seek in the train bogeys.

Yes, hide and seek was just a game, but for me it was an escape from my “stupid childish”

fears as my sister referred to them. Childish? Maybe. Stupid? Not so much. Despite the fact

that I coated my surface with fabrication, the reality was that I had already ingrained

feelings of hatred and fear for long train rides. I was not scared of the 90 Km per hour


speed of the train or some bloodsucking ghost, but I feared what the train symbolised-

change. For most middle class Indian families residing in the North but originating from


the South, the three-day train journeys represented a change from one destination to

another, or a change from office work to reuniting with family, but to me the train rides

symbolised change at a much deeper level.

The commencement of the change in my nature, my life, happened when my mother and I

were departing from Kerala, as she was stationed to work in the Ministry of External

Affairs in New Delhi. This was the first time my father was not able to give us company to

Delhi. As I waved outside to my father through the train window I started to tremble with

anxiety. An unexpected sensation of fear rushed through me. Not only was I going to miss

my father, but this was the change I was highly distressed about. Leaving memories behind

was one thing, but, leaving my father at the train station was the pinnacle of my fears. My

unpretentious mind believed that values, and people can change due to absence. That

very first train ride I went on, was the toughest train ride for me. All types of unwelcomed

thoughts rushed through my mind in the five minutes I sat in my seat waving good-bye to

my father. That particular time when I left my father behind for the very first time, was

also my first time fighting a mental battle, subconsciously. That first mental struggle laid

the foundation for the mental stability, and the presence of mind that I possess today. A

few weeks later my father took a leave from his work in Kerala, and came to live with us

for a while. His presence made me realise that even when someone is absent in person,

the value and the admiration for that person doesn’t alter at all. I comprehended that life

is about exploring, and taking risks. Yes, I did depart from Kerala without my father, but

that didn’t drift us apart. It only enriched our bond. Now, the love I have for my parents is

still the same. When I look back I notice that after every train-ride I gain more mental

strength than before, I grow and change internally through strength and confidence. Now

it is not a lie. The truth is, I am still constantly on that train and I crave for the

opportunities to take risks, explore, and expand my knowledge.

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