Train Journeys 15 – Delhi to Calicut and return
After the Bhopal All India Conference of AITEU Class III in October 1991 and my election as President, I had been staying at Delhi to look after union matters along with General Secretary Com. Moni Bose. My family was at Calicut, including my wife and two children. I had to come to Calicut now and then to attend family matters, at least once in a month. I adjusted the same with tours in A.P., T.Nadu, Karnataka etc. Sometimes directly to Kerala. The union had meager funds, and naturally train journey was the only option.
The journeys took about two days. First it was KK Express, then Kerala Express. Since the journeys can be utilised for supply of publications, journals, letters etc. it was usual to inform the union leaders of the cities, where the train will stop. It was a time for meeting the leaders. No cellular phones have been introduced and the information will be given from Delhi itself. The number of the railway compartment also will be informed.
The first stop is usually Agra. Com. R.S.Fauzdar, Circle Secretary, UP(W) with his comrades will be ready at the place in the platform where my compartment will stop. I will be standing at the door, with the journals etc in my hand. The moment the train stops, I will get down. With shouting of slogans and garlanding they will receive me. I will hand over the journals etc., discuss urgent matters with them, collect union quota if brought and get introduced to the new comrades. The stop will be for about two minutes, but usually the train will stop a little more than that. By that time one comrade might have brought tea for me. Signal and I board the train. At that time they will hand over me the food they have brought. It will usually be home made chappati, subji, sweets etc. Sweets always a must for them. Train moves. Again slogans and waving of hands.
This will repeat in Jhansi, Gwalior, Bhopal and other stations. The food brought at each station will be sufficient for two or more persons. I will share the same with my co-passengers, mostly Kerala bounded.
Once Com. J.Sampath Rao brought me lunch at Warangal Station in a big tiffin carrier. It was a feast. Handed over the tiffin carrier to Com.P.Asokababu, who came at Vijayawada.
What about the return journey from Calicut to Delhi? For some time, I took the food from the train canteen. Then there was a change for the better. I had chickenpox after I reached Delhi. My wife Pankajam came to Delhi, accompanied by co-worker Com. P.U.George, to be at my side when I was ill. After I was well, we went to visit Com.K.K.N.Kutty, then Secretary General ITEF at his residence. His wife Smt. Sreedevi told my wife about how to arrange food for train journey. Separate packets of iddli, dosa, curd rice, lemon rice etc. for at least one and half day, mark it on the packet and consume at the appropriate time. My wife was enthused. So my food in the return journey was ensured without depending much on the canteen. Of course, I did not reduce the number of my coffee and tea.
The train journey was the time to read. Purchase some good books from the Higginbothams book stall, complete reading by the time you reach the destination.