Nilgiris Mountain Rails

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.


That’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 ‘go’.

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 nature’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 snail’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!

What’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 now….

Author: P U Krishnan

First things first. I am one of those retired chaps who are young at heart. I watch cricket matches and jump for joy when Tendulkar scores yet another century. I read newspapers and books too, though I am not crazy about them. I think I have a mind free from hatred and I owe it to the wonders of nature and music. I scribble something now and then and call myself a writer! Though I have settled in Ooty, a lovely hill station in Tamil Nadu—I must emphasize the fact that I was born and brought up in Tellicherry in North Kerala and studied in the good old Government Brennen College. Of and on, my mind goes back to my ancestral house at Tiruvangad in Tellicherry in front of an ancient Sri Ram temple. I am indebted to this wonderful place which inculcated in me a love for cricket and literature. But all said and done, I am an Indian first.

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