It coincides with my evening walk
If I fail to keep pace with the long whistle
It would have crossed the bridge near the lake
And entered the first tunnel. But the noise
And puffs of smoke still linger in the sky.
On such days, I skip the sight-seeing stops
And hurry along the zig-zag road
Till the second tunnel comes into view
And I heave a sigh of relief,
For I was there just when it was crawling into the tunnel.
Thatâ€™s about the Ooty-Coonoor train
Just a short distance, and no one cares
Not even the kids. But to me it is a craze.
The joy and excitement are manifold
When you are in it
More so, if you occupy a window seat
In the Mettupalayam-bound express
The show starts from the word â€˜goâ€™.
As soon as you pass the Ooty lake
You feel as if there was a power failure
Nothing to worry. The train is passing through
The first of the fourteen tunnels
But get ready for natureâ€™s live telecast
Rows of trees welcome you
With a nod of their heads, but
The band masters capture your attention.
Sitting on the shoulders of the trees
They play the tunes you like!
Hills, Valleys, Hills, Valleys
Tells the train which moves at snailâ€™s pace
As it leaves the Coonoor station
You may spot wicked monkeys jumping from tree to tree.
And down there the cattle leisurely grazing.
Wow, you see a wayside station down there
It is not the next station but the next to the next.
Suddenly the train gathers speed
And you realize it is bye, bye to the hills!
Whatâ€™s special about this railway?
You may ask
The answer is it runs on narrow tracks
We have just a couple of them in India
You are in the plains nowâ€¦.