To Ooty and beyond.
After months and months of planning we were finally on the road, to our first site in Ooty.The mountain railway station was not that hard to spot,it was just next to the main bus stand in Ooty where we got down. Our train was scheduled at 2 and by the time we got there at 1.45 there was quite a crowd already waiting for the train.With the price being just Rs 23 for a trip to Mettupalyam, we werent actually surprised at the crowd that had gathered. Fortunately there where cops to manage the crowd and the ticket collector helped those who had reservations to find their respective coaches. When we got to our coach, it was actually filled to the brim.Ten people were supposed to fit into an ancient train cabin, along with their luggages! A lot of squeezing and shoving later, everyone managed to settle down. The Great Indian mantra of ‘thoda adjust karo’ worked its magic one more time.
As the train began to move we began to realise the enormity of the journey it was to undertake. The train was actually traversing through the Western Ghats to take all its passenger down to the plains of Tamil Nadu. We saw amazing scenes of nondescript hilly towns, thick mahagony forests criscrossed by meandering streams, and large fields where tea plantations and terrace farming was practised. That one train ride helps you understand the essence of living in the hills. Life moved around at a slow pace just like the train but one would never complain because there was so much to see and lots more to experience. Towards the end of the journey we did get a bit bored, so we started keeping a track of all the savouries our rather large co-passenger consumed, the honeymoon couple who couldn’t take their eyes of each other and the foreign tourist whose interesting hair cut ensured that she was the centre of attraction for the locals. The train finally came to a halt at Mettupalayam after a journey of almost four hours. Only when we reailsed that the mist was missing and the air had gotten a lot warmer did we comprehend the importance of this magnificent engineering marvel that has been transporting people from the hills to the plains and vice versa for more than a hundred years now. Don’t finish a trip to Ooty without getting on this train, you are going to experience a slice of history with the sweet toppings of beautiful mother nature.