I’d mentioned earlier that my next post will be “Train to Calcutta”, will write soon on that topic, but writing another short related one before that.
Back then, Bangalore was a much smaller city compared to Madras and not as well connected, so we almost always had to first take a train to Madras and then board another train from there to get to Calcutta or Vijayawada. So, I was very familiar with the Bangalore – Madras train route and knew all the stations in between. Though it’s ages since I’ve travelled on that route, I still remember “Katpadi” junction very vividly. There had been a very bad train accident near Katpadi that was much talked about, so I used to be very nervous when we reached it and very anxious to quickly get out of there asap 🙁
Once we reached Madras Railway station, my aunt Lakshmi Pinni (in Telugu, pinni means mother’s younger sister) always turned up there to hand us over some food, water and snacks to eat there and for the next journey. She lived in Madras and my mother would write to her in advance and inform her about our train timings. I still remember that she would bring some very tasty tamarind rice and some curd rice with whole black pepper in it.
Would like to write a few words about her because she’s one of the most amazing people I’ve ever encountered in my life. I haven’t really spent a lot of time with her, but whatever time I’ve managed has been simply wonderful. She’s one of those people who’s very perceptive and sensitive and has the ability to immediately put you at ease. She always says and does the kindest things, most naturally! She remembers the favorite foods of most people and unfailingly prepares them when they visit her. For example, when I visited her once long back in Madras, she made some stuffed fried brinjals that I love. I never remembered having told her, but she somehow knew! It happens every time I visit her.
Not only that, she’s been a great person to discuss problems with because she genuinely cares and feels for you. One of those rare people who can see only good in others and always wishes well for others. It’s a blessing to have people like her in this world 🙂 🙂
Another thing we always did without fail in Madras railway station was drink a lot of “Aavin flavored milk”. Aavin was the name of the Tamil Nadu government dairy, and for some reason my mom believed that their milk tasted much better than the “Nandini” dairy milk available in Karnataka. However, I never could tell the difference between the two.