Valsa George

A Night Journey By Train - Poem by Valsa George

After a hazardous trip from a far off district
With drooping spirits and waning energy
I alighted at the station to catch the night train
My heart besieged by memories of a home, left behind

Like a drop in the ocean
I quickly merged with the buzzing crowd
In the blinking light of platform lamps
I saw a huge crowd- the young and the old
With baggage heaped on baggage
Patiently waiting for the arrival of the train

Soon came the grating voice of the loud speaker
“The Rajadhani Express from Delhi to Trivandrum
Scheduled to leave the station by 9pm
Would be late by one hour’!

I went cold at the thought of another long wait.
In the sweltering heat of a summer night,
Amid an undulating mass and deafening holler and roar
It would be hell tied there for one more hour.

The cry of babies fell in my ears like the squeal of piglets
Some old women sat on haunches on the floor,
Before some homemade food and snacks
Spread out on old newspapers and began munching
Youngsters busied themselves on their cell phones
Sending missives to their loved ones
Or chatting with their pals

I sat away secluded, inhaling the soot and dust
And looking vacantly at the curl of smoke
From the grumpy looking man’s cigar
Sitting opposite to me lazily
When his red falcon eyes fell on me,
I withdrew more into cover,
Regretting once more, being a woman!

The thought of the risks of travelling alone
Made my guts contract

I saw behind the thick columns of concrete
A young pair who had sneaked away from the crowd
A newly wedded Rajasthani couple, the girl in shining livery
With a red patch of ‘kumkum’ on her forehead!
She wore glittering bangles on her hands
Covering the entire forearms
They were in a world of their own
Enjoying the first days of heated romance
She laid her head upon his chest
And her arms, twisted around him as a creeper on a tree
In her ear, as the boy was reciting the litany of love
The girl was giggling as if greatly tickled

Time slouched on at snail’s pace….
At last hearing a long drawn whistle from far
I looked out and saw the train coming, snorting noisily
And halting with a screeching sound

The real ordeal begins as one lifts his suitcase
And pushes his way along with all strength,
Between bags and boxes and people,
And the porters running after to carry the cargo
At the doorway, the swarming crowd
Locks one altogether, pushing and jostling.

Elbowing my way through the mass of men
I got into the compartment somehow
And found myself among total strangers
Shoving my suit case between legs of people
And pushing it under the seat, I sat near the window.
All my former fears resurfaced with ugly pincers
Being late, all readied themselves to sleep
Though I lay down with my eyes closed
I couldn’t wink an eye,
I knew the train gaining momentum
And heading forward leaving behind
The dark silhouette of buildings and trees
As it hurtled through tunnels,
The air grew thick and humid.
I felt cramped and confined like a piece of freight
Transported in a narrow box with the lid shut

I don’t know when I fell into deep slumber
It was with the sound of ‘chai…. chai’ that I woke up
The glittering sun rays peeped through the window
I felt the pat of cool morning breeze on my cheeks
The inviting aroma of brewed tea entered my nostrils
At last I have reached my native soil!
I am heading home, every step and every inch
Drawing me closer and closer to my sweet haven
My heart began to pump quicker
I felt like a marooned mariner
Suddenly cast ashore by a rescue boat!

Topic(s) of this poem: train

Form: Prose Poem

Poet's Notes about The Poem

This can hardly be called a poem! But hope you'll enjoy!

Comments about A Night Journey By Train by Valsa George

  • Stephen Katona (4/27/2015 1:55:00 AM)

    Thank you for transporting me thousands of miles to your Indian train. Your vivid description allowed me to share your experience and was a delight to read. (Report) Reply

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  • Paul Sebastian (4/10/2015 8:24:00 AM)

    A picturesque description of lady traveling alone in an Indian train. You created beautiful scenes for a nice Indian movie. I hope some movie director would pick up these well narrated scenes. Very exciting. I enjoyed it very much.
    Thanks Valsa.
    (Report) Reply

  • (4/5/2015 9:40:00 AM)

    A vivid description of a train journey by night took us all with you from travel to your home..Enjoyed! (Report) Reply

  • Yasmin Khan (4/4/2015 3:47:00 AM)

    It's a vivid and realistic description of a train journey.It reminds me of my childhood days when we used to to travel back to our home town. You have used metaphors and similes to draw a memorable picture of a journey. It's a travelogue in verse. (Report) Reply

  • (4/3/2015 10:26:00 PM)

    Wow a journey thru the night so vividly written the reader can see it all in the mind seems so over crowded but very interesting story poem of characters..thanks for sharing...regards (Report) Reply

  • Diane Hine (4/2/2015 6:04:00 AM)

    A fascinating account. I'm amazed you were able to sleep. (Report) Reply

  • Amitava Sur (4/1/2015 11:44:00 PM)

    Enjoyed your detailed description of the horrifying Indian railway's night journey ending with touching the soil of own sweet village at last with a feeling of winning a war. (Report) Reply

  • Hazel Durham (4/1/2015 10:22:00 AM)

    I can imagine the atmosphere of the railway station with your wonderful insight into your fellow passengers you have captured the heat of the night and the weariness of the travellers as they have to wait a hour for their train!
    You long for your home soil that eases your mind and the great love you have for your home!
    Great write!
    (Report) Reply

  • Dinesh Nair (4/1/2015 8:05:00 AM)

    The world of travels and meeting people has no comparisons and your first hand description of seeing hearing and feeling the plight and emotions of these train passengers is a vivid one. If Nirad C Chaudhuri`s 'Passage to England' highlights the unique British silence, your poem throws light on the fuss and noise you felt with your reaching home as the culminating great experience of a lone lady traveller. A good write, Valsa Madam. (Report) Reply

  • Bharati Nayak (4/1/2015 3:32:00 AM)

    Your poem gives a vivid description of a crowded railway station in India and perfectly reflects the emotion of lady passenger while she travels alone at night without any male escort.The end is sunlight, hot tea, and the great relief when one is reaching home.A wonderful presentation.Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • (3/31/2015 7:34:00 AM)

    Marvelous, beautiful and so real.This poem touched my poem. (Report) Reply

  • Daniel Brick (3/30/2015 10:42:00 AM)

    You sustain your key emotion of apprehension throughout the long narrative, it's only relieved with the cry CHAI (I'll have some, please!) , but still you'ere able to give vivid slices of Indian life, crowded, dense, along the way, like the discourteous man and his cigar, and my favorite the young married couple in the flush of romance. It may not be a poem in the technical sense, but it's a poem in the experiential sense. And I shared your feeling through the long night into the rescuing morning! (Report) Reply

  • Kavya . (3/30/2015 1:34:00 AM)

    al the scenes in a long journey train has been described pretty well Mam....and yes the happiness that we get wen we near our soil is incomparable.... (Report) Reply

  • Rajesh Thankappan (3/29/2015 2:33:00 AM)

    This poem brings out the whole gamut of a train journey, and also a woman's perspective when travelling alone. A brilliant write. (Report) Reply

  • (3/28/2015 12:28:00 PM)

    Nice descriptive poem of a journey by train scripted with wonderful words of romance, hope, memories, backdrop
    ........all in one.....Valsa.........amazing piece......great write as always.....10
    (Report) Reply

  • Madathil Rajendran Nair (3/27/2015 11:28:00 PM)

    A very detailed yet beautiful narrative of a train journey in the middle of the night from the usually insecure feminine angle. Enjoyed it. But the time-frame of your theme seems too far in the past as we can't spot a smoker, a fast vanishing unfortunate fraternity, on the platform these days. And there is much less soot now due to dieselization and electrification. Top marks(10) . (Report) Reply

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (3/27/2015 2:57:00 PM)

    Very beautiful narration about a journey on train of a poet. Very nicely and aptly envisioned. Best word choice. Many thanks respected madam.......10 (Report) Reply

  • Jaishree Nair (3/27/2015 6:26:00 AM)

    A typical train journey in detail.. Enjoyed reading .what a flow of emotions. I could feel myself on that journey. My humble compliment. You are blessed with style unique. Thanks (Report) Reply

  • Akhtar Jawad (3/27/2015 5:47:00 AM)

    A beautiful narration of a journey by train. I noticed mixed feelings, joys of travelling to the native place polluted by pains of cigar and ugly sights. But, all is well that ends well. Liked and enjoyed this truthful description. You should be careful not to travel alone in the night. (Report) Reply

  • Tirupathi Chandrupatla (3/27/2015 4:50:00 AM)

    Journey by train starts at the busy station and continues. People of all ages and people from various parts of the country and people from all walks of life are seen at the station in action. Poem describes these vividly for the reader. The poem made me feel as if I made the travel myself. Beautiful poem. Thank you. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Friday, March 27, 2015

Poem Edited: Thursday, August 6, 2015

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