Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Going Loco

From Ruskin Bond to Paul Theroux, Wes Anderson to Danny Boyle, the railways have inspired authors and filmmakers across the world, drawing both the nostalgic and the curious. For generations of Indians too, nothing came close to the joy of watching the countryside thundering past. Besides, a train ticket was permission to intrude into other people’s lives, a favourite national pastime. The communal affair has now become a cramped, clinical one as Indians now prefer to jet across the country on discounted flights. Train travel has lost its charm, with toilets dirtier than ever, the food going from distinct to foil-wrapped and boring and booking tickets becoming an online hurdle. Can we not try and reconcile the old-time romance of the railways with a modernised, more efficient system? As parliament gets ready for the annual rail budget exercise, TOI-Crest takes a nostalgia trip.

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