X for saraighat (e)Xpress

The Saraighat Express is a daily superfast train which runs between Howrah (Kolkata) and Guwahati (Assam). The train is named after the famous Battle of Saraighat fought between Mughals and Ahom rulers of Assam (Ahom Kingdom) in which Mughals were defeated by the Ahoms under the great leadership of Mahavir Lachit Borphukan Commander-in-Chief. The train belongs to Eastern Railways zone of Indian Railway headquartered at Howrah.

Now you must be wondering why I jumped to a train when I have been writing for this challenge on places. Well, this is a place for me because I have spent innumerable hours on this train. After I went to Kolkata for studies in the year 2003 and stayed there till 2007, I had taken this train at least twice a year (sometimes thrice) to visit home, i.e. Assam. And each time includes to and fro journeys. It is overnight journey and it takes nineteen hours to reach Guwahati from Kolkata and vice-versa.

Except a couple of times, I have always traveled in a group by Saraighat Express. All of us students of the same institute from the northeast region of India. And as students, we could not afford the flight tickets. And we had always traveled by sleeper class. The AC coach did not fit  into our pocket money either. And no, our parents did not indulge us (I am so happy that they did not).  In the beginning, we were only a handful of students. But with each additional year, students from our region increased and so did our travel group. It was so much fun. And most importantly we learned so many things mainly being independent. From booking tickets together using our student quota to getting home without our parents or elders, it was a liberating experience. Getting a taxi, carrying bags, traveling without confirmed tickets, loudly gossiping late into the night in the train, getting scolded by co-passengers, getting food at stations and train vendors, every bit of it was memorable.

Then there was my husband Az (we were dating then) seeing me off and receiving me at the station every time. My juniors (including my younger sister Namz, we have always studied in the same institutes) giving us some alone time as we said our goodbyes when we were going home. And me getting freshened up as we near the Howrah station on our way back. Namz still teases me about it. 

There are so many splendid memories associated with this particular train. And so it is one memorable place to me.

I am taking part in the Blogging From A to Z Challenge [April 2014].

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